Our Most Frequently Asked Questions
Explain more about how the DNA tests work.
- How does a DNA parentage test work?
- Where are the DNA tests performed?
- What standards are used to ensure tests are performed correctly and DNA or paternity test results are accurate?
- What is the difference between an AABB accredited DNA test and an unaccredited DNA test?
- Is the legal DNA test different from the informational test?
- What is a buccal swab and is it as accurate as blood?
- Can a paternity test be performed without the mother?
- Why is it better to include a sample from the mother when performing a paternity test?
- What if I want to DNA test more than one child or alleged parent?
- How old does a child need to be to perform a DNA paternity test?
- What happens to my DNA samples once the test is complete?
Explain more about DNA test results.
- How accurate are the DNA paternity test results?
- What is your accuracy guarantee for DNA and paternity test results?
- How long does it take to get the paternity test results?
- How will I receive my paternity test results?
- How do I interpret the Paternity Test report?
- What is the Combined Paternity Index?
- Can my results be used in court?
- Are the results confidential?
Explain more about the Home DNA Test Kit.
- What about Blood Testing?
- Can you send a DNA or Paternity Test kit to me discreetly?
- Are results from the Home DNA or Paternity Test Kit admissible in court?
- How does the Home DNA or Paternity Test Kit work?
How does a DNA parentage test work?
A child inherits DNA from the mother’s egg (23 chromosomes) and the father’s sperm (also 23 chromosomes). Each parent contributes half of the child’s DNA. The child (and every person) has 23 pairs of chromosomes. For each location ("locus," plural "loci") in a chromosome pair there is a specific DNA sequence in each chromosome. A DNA parentage test works by identifying the specific DNA sequences for multiple loci in the mother, child, and father. If the mother and father are the parents of the child, the two DNA sequences at each locus in the child’s chromosomes must have been inherited from each parent. Determining paternity and maternity is possible from these DNA sequences. For more information, see How To Interpret A Parentage Test Report.
Where are the DNA tests performed?
You can order Home DNA or Paternity Test Kits or call to make an appointment for us to take samples in many cities across the United States.
What standards are used to ensure DNA tests are performed correctly and DNA or paternity test results are accurate?
We follow the standards set forth by the AABB for performing DNA parentage tests. Because we use 16 genetic markers, results usually are completely definitive. In the case of any ambiguities (perhaps caused by a poor sample), tests are repeated. We offer an Accuracy Guarantee. We employ specific procedures to protect against switching of samples and to maintain the confidentiality of our customers.
What is the difference between an AABB accredited DNA test and an unaccredited DNA test?
Actually, we have devoted a whole page to address this issue. Please see About Accredited Tests for an explanation of accredited vs. unaccredited DNA tests.
Is the legal DNA test different from the informational DNA test?
No. The DNA tests are exactly the same. The difference is that legally-binding tests require a witness, proof of identity, and special chain of custody procedures. The basic Home DNA or Paternity Test Kit therefore is not legally binding. It is intended as a discrete and private way whereby families can resolve questions without involving outside parties. The GTL Australia also offers a Legally Binding or Legal Home DNA Test Kit that requires a disinterested witness to oversee sample collection and verify identities and chain of custody.
What is a buccal swab and is it as accurate as blood?
A buccal swab is soft and resembles a large Q-Tip. It is used to collect a sample of cheek cells by simply rubbing the inside of the cheeks. It is as accurate as blood, as the DNA is the same. A person should, however, abstain from drinking coffee for a few hours before taking a sample, and smokers should rinse and brush their cheeks with a toothbrush before swabbing.
Can a paternity test be performed without the mother?
Yes, although results cannot be as conclusive. This is why we offer an Accuracy Guarantee for a paternity test with the mother.
Why is it better to include a DNA sample from the mother when performing a paternity test?
In a matter as important as paternity, especially Legally binding cases, it is never good to leave room for doubt. Ideally, the mother, child, and alleged father should be tested. A child receives half of their DNA from their mother, and the other half from their father. Because the DNA half that the child receives from the mother will match the mother's DNA exactly, the remaining unmatched DNA will match that of the biological father. Without the ability to remove the mother's DNA from the equation, the possibility increases greatly that results will not be conclusive, which may require testing of additional genetic markers, thus extending the time and cost needed to achieve conclusive results. In general, if the mother is available for testing she should be included. In any event, the testing can still be performed and accurate results achieved without a sample from the mother.
What if I want to test more than one child or alleged parent?
Additional family members can be included in the tests (see DNA Testing Catalog).
What happens to my DNA samples once the test is complete?
For Informational DNA Testing cases, we destroy the samples you submit to us immediately following the release of your results. Should you decide that you want us to archive your samples, we will archive them for up to six months for an additional fee. Please contact us if you need us to archive your DNA Test samples. For Court Admissible DNA Testing cases, we automatically archive your samples for six months at no additional cost.
How accurate are the DNA paternity test results?
DNA testing is the most accurate method available for determining paternity. Its power lies in the ability to trace the pattern of inheritance for separate regions of the genetic material (chromosomes). From this information a probability of paternity can be calculated. This number can reach 99.99999% in some cases. The percentage of random men of the same race that can be excluded as the biological father is also computed for every case.
Some companies test as few as 5 chromosomal locations for the same price (or more) that we charge for 16 (15 identity markers plus one to confirm the sex of the person). The statistics generated with only 5 locations, however, are not nearly as conclusive, and in some cases can result in wrong conclusions, such as the father being excluded when, in fact, he is the true father.
What is your accuracy guarantee for DNA and Paternity Test results?
Click here to see our accuracy guarantee. We guarantee such results because of the accuracy of the test (see previous question) and the standards we adhere to in the performance of the tests. First, we are accredited by the AABB as a DNA parentage testing laboratory. Second, we participate in proficiency testing conducted by the College of American Pathologists three times per year. Third, our Ph.D. director and director designee oversee the operation and personally review and sign all test reports. You can be assured that our methods and practices adhere to the strictest standards in the nation.
How will I receive my paternity test results?
With legally binding tests, The test results will always be mailed to you or a designee, per your instructions. As a rule we do not give results over the phone, unless we have made prior arrangements with you to do so.
By default, we send result reports to the billing address given to us when your order was placed. If you need it sent elsewhere, arrangements can be made by contacting us.
How do I interpret the Paternity Test report?
In the vast majority of cases the results produce an unequivocal result. The alleged father is either "excluded" or is "not excluded" as the biological father. Each of the 15 identity loci are analyzed separately to calculate a paternity index, and all the individual indexes are combined to calculate a "combined paternity index". For more information see How to Interpret a Parentage Test Report.
What is the Combined Paternity Index?
The Paternity Index is a number that represents the likelihood of Paternity. The number is calculated based on how common the genetic information found in your test result is within your race population. The Paternity Indices for each genetic locus tested are used to calculate a Combined Paternity Index which can result in a 99.999% Probability of Paternity, or even higher in the case of a true match. As an example, if the CPI is 9,999,987 it means the odds of the tested father being the unique biological father are 9,999,987 to one.
Can my results be used in court?
Yes, if you purchase a Legally Binding Test. This kind of test has additional proof of identity and chain of custody requirements. A Legally Binding Test is available either by having GTL Australia collect the DNA samples or by ordering a Legally Binding Home Test Kit. We maintain careful records on every sample processed. Results from the Genetic Testing Laboratory Australia are admissible in a court of law.
What about blood testing?
IMPORTANT! Contact your physician for the collection of blood samples for children under 8 years of age. GTL Australia offers this option because it is much faster and easier for you to collect. The procedure involves a small lancet that is used to lightly pierce a finger (most don’t even feel it). A small drop of blood is then transferred to a collection card – that’s it. There is no additional cost if you choose buccal (cheek) swab testing.
Are results from the Home DNA or Paternity Test Kit admissible in court?
The basic Home DNA or Paternity Test Kit is intended as a discrete and private way whereby families can resolve questions without involving outside parties and is not legally binding. We do offer, however, a Legally Binding Home Test Kit for a small additional charge.
How does the DNA or Paternity Home Test Kit work?
The Home Test Kit contains illustrated instructions and a consent form to be filled out with information about each family member providing a sample. Except for infants and very young children, each person collects his or her own samples; the collection process is simple. Buccal sampling takes about 45 minutes for 3 people, with an additional 60-90 minutes for the swabs to dry. Blood sampling takes about 5 minutes for 3 people. The samples are then returned to labeled tubes and containers. The samples, plus the paper forms, are placed in the included prepaid mailing envelope and sent by mail back to our laboratory.