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Q. 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. By determining these DNA sequences, paternity or other familial relationships can be established.
Q. How accurate is the DNA paternity test?
- 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 16 chromosomal locations for the same price (or more) that we test 21 (20 identity markers plus one to confirm the sex of the person). The statistics generated with only 8 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.
Q. What happens to the test samples after the test?
- Our normal procedure is to retain the samples for six months in case additional testing approved by the customer is necessary, and then destroy the samples. If you wish, however, you may request that we destroy all samples containing the tested persons' DNA immediately after completing the test.
Q. Does the mother have to be tested as well?
- No, although results cannot be as conclusive. 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.
Q. How will I receive my results?
- Test results are accessed online by clicking the RESULTS LOGIN button. You will login with the username (email) and password chosen during case setup. Please note, that we do not give results over the phone. If you'd like to receive your results by mail, you may select that option for an additional fee.
Q. Can I buy a test if I am from New York State?
- New York State has specific requirements for paternity testing including: collection by a third party under chain of custody; the specimen must be accompanied by a test order from your physician or lawyer; and specimens must be submitted to and analyzed by a laboratory holding a NYS permit. For more information on the NYS policy, call 1-800-682-6056.