What happens to the DNA test samples after a home paternity test?
After a home paternity test, our normal procedure is to retain the samples for six months in case additional testing approved by the customer is necessary. There can be many reasons additional testing might be requested, in which case we can continue testing with the swab we received for the initial test. If two swabs are used to collect DNA from the child, only one of the swabs might be used for the testing. One swab from the cheek, when the collection procedure in the instructions is followed, contains more than enough to produce a DNA profile.
If the test is an exclusion, thereby eliminating the possibility that the tested person is in fact the father, the mother may want a second test to confirm a different man. This question of paternity can be further explored, until a biological father is in fact identified. Accrediting bodies collect data from certified labs, and it has been reported as recently as 2010 that roughly one-quarter of all paternity tests result in an exclusion. In many of these exclusions, follow up testing is requested. With the swabs remaining in the laboratory, more testing can take place.
For the majority of paternity test participants, the first test will produce definitive results, and the case is closed. Many people are concerned that their DNA can then be used by the laboratory, or passed to other agencies, even government agencies. At DDC, the testing lab of HomePaternity, one does not have worry about their DNA or the data of the test being shared. The profile generated to complete the test is safe and secure.
The standard protocol for sample storage is to keep the sample for 6 months. Unless the client asks for the sample to be kept longer, DDC will then destroy the samples. If you wish, however, you may request that all samples containing the tested persons' DNA be destroyed immediately after completing the test.
Conversely, we do also have people ask that DNA be stored for longer than the 6 months. There are times in legal battles over a deceased’s estate that may require people to be tested to prove a biological relationship years down the road, and the DNA can be stored as long as the client wishes. In special circumstances the lab could choose to charge a storage fee.
One case that made headlines was the Prince legal battle over his estate, following his death in April 2016. DDC was chosen to perform the testing, and the judge set an end date for anyone with a claim to come forward. At the end of that time, the arbitrator was to decide to keep the testing open, or close testing and destroy the DNA remaining. Just like in high profile cases, the tested parties can make their wishes know to the laboratory. If you have any question about the storage or use of your DNA, ask before the DNA is tested. It’s your right to know how and when your DNA is tested, used, and stored.