Questions & Answers

  1. How do I arrange for a paternity test?
  2. Do parentage tests need to be ordered by a court or a physician?
  3. How long does it take to get the results?
  4. Are paternity tests expensive?
  5. Is DNA testing for paternity accurate?
  6. What if the mother is not available or if the alleged father or other person to be tested is someplace else??
  7. The big question-Does it hurt?
  8. For what purposes are DNA identity tests used?
  9. Can DNA be used for other kinds of tests?


How do I arrange for a paternity test?

Just call us.  We will discuss your particular circumstances and arrange for appropriate collection of specimens.  We comply with all privacy regulations and will handle your case with discretion and privacy.  Each person tested must provide contact information and sign a testing authorization/consent form to request the test.  Clients must also indicate that they have the authority to request DNA testing for any minor tested.  Legal standard tests require more information, photographs, witnessed specimen collection and special handling.  See the Internet Order Form, Private Paternity Order Form.

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Do parentage tests need to be ordered by a court or a physician?

Only in New York.  It is legal in other states to request a  paternity test yourself.  Private paternity test results generally are not introduced into evidence in a court of law.  We can provide Legal-Standard paternity tests at your request, but all parties to be tested must consent to the test in writing.  Call us.

If the results are to be used in court, there is special handling of the specimens and the court usually orders the test because the court can compel those who need to be tested to comply (check with your attorney before ordering Legal-Standard tests).  Special collection and handling of the specimen is required for Legal-Standard tests.  The legal system requires that all participants in the test be positively identified and that all forms of identification be authenticated and witnessed.  Additionally, each part of the laboratory process must be documented, so all aspects of the testing process can be traced to materials used and to the person(s) conducting the tests.  

The accuracy of the private and court-ordered tests is the same.  The difference is in the handling for chain-of-custody.  Private paternity tests are just as accurate as the legal-standard tests, except there is no independent verification of the identities of the participants.

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How long does it take to get the results?

DNA paternity testing is a very complex procedure.  We do not like to rush the results so we can spend an appropriate amount of time examining the specimen and avoiding errors.  Our average turnaround time is 5-7 business days.  If time is essential, we can provide results within 1-3 days of receiving the sample.  Rush service requires separate, dedicated, special handling and will incur a additional charges (see Price List).  Occasionally, a specimen may not meet our quality standards for accurate testing and may require another collection of a specimen for testing (no additional charge).

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Are paternity tests expensive?

Paternity tests are not particularly expensive, about the cost of a pair of eyeglasses.  The costs of not having the tests performed or of incorrect results is far greater than the minimal cost of the tests.  The price depends on the number of individuals tested.  Paternity tests generally include the mother, the child and one alleged father.   In some cases, the mother is unavailable for testing.  There is an additional charge for each additional person tested.    See Price List.

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Is DNA testing for paternity accurate?

Very accurate.  The more DNA markers tested, the more accurate the tests are.  We routinely test 16 DNA markers. DNA paternity testing is generally accurate to greater than 99.99% confidence for father and child tests (also known as "mother absent" or "motherless" tests).  "Motherless tests have inherent limitations that should be understood before requesting one.  To learn more about them, click here.

Tests that include the mother, father and child we guarantee to confidence level of 99.999% or greater.  DNA testing is much more accurate than any other method available.    Exclusions are 100% and, according to American Association of Blood Bank standards, there must be 2 or more mismatches of the DNA markers tested to declare an exclusion from paternity.  It just doesn't get more accurate than the methods we use and we can offer this accurate technology at a competitive price.  This is explained more on the  Read This  page.

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What if the mother is not available or if the other person to be tested is in a different location?

We can still determine paternity without the mother.  "Motherless" tests are a bit less accurate than when the mother is included, but generally within the >99.99% range.  They are fine if the alleged father is excluded in the test, but could be questionable if the alleged father is not excluded by the test.  To learn more about "motherless" tests, click here.  When the mother is included, the accuracy jumps to 99.999% or greater.  We can also determine sibling relationships, such as distinguishing identical twins from fraternal twins, identification of cousins, grandparents, and other relationships. 

If the alleged father or other person to be tested is in a different location, we can send home collection kits to them and they can submit their samples separately.  When all samples for the case are received, we will process the case.

See the IDNA Services Page page.

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The big question-does it hurt?

We can perform paternity tests from a few drops of blood, collected either by venipuncture (drawing blood from a vein using a needle), from a finger stick or from buccal swabs (mouth swab).  Your choice, but we prefer buccal (mouth) swabs. They are painless and generally provide a clean, abundant specimen for analysis.  We can also collect DNA samples from blood stains on Band-AidTM strips (without ointment) or recently-used toothbrushes. Remember, we still need a signed consent form from any adults tested or authorization from a parent or legal guardian for any minors tested.

Buccal swabs do not hurt.  The inside of the cheeks are wiped for about 30 seconds using a foam "lollipop".  Sorry, they do not come in flavors.  Let us know if the child is less than 2 years old so we can include a smaller foam swab in the kit.

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For what purposes are DNA identity tests used?

DNA identity tests are used to identify particular individuals, such as in crime investigation.  Essentially the same test is used to determine paternity, maternity, siblings, half-siblings, cousins, aunt/uncle, niece/nephew, grandparentage, twins (twin zygosity), and other relationship studies.  

Paternity tests are also used in adoption cases to establish legitimate biological parentage, estate settlements to establish relatedness if it is in question, adoption, child custody/support and for cases of immigration (Petition for Alien Relative application).  Identity testing can be used for other purposes as well.  

Another common use for human identity tests is infidelity testing.  These tests are used to find genetic evidence of infidelity and is also called "Bio-surveillance" Semen Detection/Infidelity Testing Service.

See the IDNA Services Page page.

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Can DNA be used for other kinds of tests?

DNA is also used for medical diagnostic GENETIC TESTING.  Genetic testing is used to identify genetic mutations that result in specific disorders, such as blood clotting disorders.  We also provide access to a large number of genetic tests.  Your physician can determine whether genetic testing can provide useful information for your medical management.  Ask your physician to contact us with any questions about genetic tests.  All diagnostic genetic testing is performed by one of our affiliate companies. Your physician should be able to provide guidance to you concerning the results or refer you to a local genetic counselor. 

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