At Paternity For Life, we understand that for many clients this will be the first time they have undertaken DNA testing. Below are some of our most Frequently Asked Questions. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding testing, or wish to know more.
A paternity DNA test is conducted to prove paternity, that is, whether a man is the biological father of a child. This may be relevant in view of rights and duties of the father. DNA testing is accepted worldwide as the most accurate method of determining paternity.
Yes, maternity DNA testing can also be carried out. This is less common, because at least during childbirth the mother’s identity is clearly evident, except in the case of a pregnancy involving embryo transfer or egg donation. Some women who have used IVF may wish to check that their own eggs or their partner’s sperm are contained in their child’s DNA and there has not been a laboratory mix up of embryos.
For paternity or maternity DNA testing, a sample is required from the alleged father, mother and child/children. For peace of mind testing, the mother’s DNA is not usually required. For relationship DNA testing, we require a sample from all parties wishing to be tested.
DNA testing is done on specific areas on the DNA chain where there are repeated sequences that are individual to each person; these are called ‘short tandem repeats’. A child inherits half its DNA from each parent. Every repeat that is found in the child’s DNA must be found in the alleged mother’s and father’s sample – if not, then it can be determined which parent’s DNA matches or does not match. This is proof of parentage to a minimum certainty of 99.9999%, and proof of non-parentage as 100%. Short tandem repeat DNA testing is highly accurate with the chance of mis-identification being one in several billion.
DNA is extracted from cells collected from the inside of the mouth. The mouth swab collection is simple and painless. For Peace of Mind testing, Paternity For Life will mail a collection kit which contains sterile swab, FTA DNA preservation card, collection information, and an prepaid postage return envelope.
For Non-Invasive Prenatal Paternity DNA Testing, we require a blood sample from the mother and a mouth swab from the alleged father.
Paternity For Life will only accept buccal (mouth) swabs and discreet, where consent has been obtained from the donor. If you wish to submit a discreet DNA sample please see our list of recommended discreet samples.
This can vary depending on the type of testing being done.
For standard paternity DNA testing, once ALL the samples have been received at the laboratory, the results are typically available in 3 to 5 working days*. Paternity For Life aims to have your results back to you as soon as possible. For 95% of our clients, this is less than 5 days.
For other testing, such as Non-Invasive Prenatal Paternity Testing and Clinical testing, turnaround times vary. Please refer to the information page for these tests for further information, or contact us.
*In some cases the turnaround-time may be delayed due to incorrect paperwork completed by the client, or the sample being collected incorrectly. If not enough DNA is collected, the sample will need to be re-processed and this can delay the results up to 10 working days. Power failure, equipment failure, or natural disaster may also delay testing. In such instances Paternity For Life will aim to notify you of the delay to your results.
Yes, our DNA testing kits are sent out in unmarked mail satchels and do not contain any of our company logos or details.
All test results will be emailed to the mother and alleged father, to the email address provided at time of application. Your results are confidential and no results or information will be given to anyone other than yourself. Results may be sent to your lawyer upon request and to the Department of Immigration if your DNA test is for Immigration purposes.
Results will not be given over the phone. Fax results can only be sent if a written request via Fax has been sent by your legal representative. Email copies may be sent if authorized at the time of sample collection.
You can order the DNA test online directly through us. You can also call us on 0800 246 1760 to complete your application over the phone. You will need the details of all individuals to be tested and your preferred method of payment ready to complete your application. If you have been invited to undertake DNA testing by UK Visas and Immigration we also require a copy of your letter of offer.
DNA samples are held for 6 months after the issue of results before being destroyed.
Paternity For Life and our partner laboratory in Australia are accredited to the highest standard by NATA and ILAC. We are an ISO 17025 rated lab, which is an internationally recognized standard of quality. Paternity For Life also participates in proficiency DNA testing through the College of American Pathologists, which ensure we comply with testing standards standard with the top DNA testing laboratories worldwide.
Short tandem repeats (STRs), are short tandemly repeated DNA sequences that involve a repetitive unit of 1-6 base pairs. STRs are found throughout the human genome, accounting for about 3% of the entire genome . Most STRs are found in the noncoding regions, while only about 8% locate in the coding regions .
The short tandem repeats (STRs) used in our genetic analysis to determine parentage are in noncoding regions of the DNA. Noncoding DNA does not provide instructions for making proteins.
STRs are used for paternity testing as they are highly polymorphic (variable) amongst people and can be used to discriminate between unrelated individuals, however, have a higher mutation rate than other regions of DNA, such as the coding regions. In STRs, as with any genetic region, a change (or mutation) can occur in the DNA causing genetic variation. Changes (or mutations) in STRs in noncoding regions are not expected to cause disease.
When conducting parentage testing the child’s DNA is matched to the alleged parent as the child will inherit one allele from each biological parent. A direct match between the biological parent and child should be found at each locus tested. Where a direct match is not observed, the locus is assessed for a possible mutation. Inherited changes (mutations) from a true biological parent usually show an increase or decrease of one repeat unit. In this case an assumption of a probable mutation between the alleged father and child is made and used in the calculation of the probability of paternity. In such cases a comment will be made on the report regarding the assumption made of a probable mutation.
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