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DNA Testing Frequently Asked Questions - FAQ

In the results of a DNA paternity test, when a father is "excluded" (not the father), we are often asked: “What are the chances of the DNA test being wrong? What are the chances of a laboratory mistake?”

First of all, the laboratory we use has stated that every test submitted is split into two independent teams, i.e., we do the test twice. If the results give two different readings for an allele, then the sample is considered contaminated and invalid, i.e., is rejected, and the laboratory requests another sample be submitted. (This is very rare, and has happened with us only with some of the customers who took their own samples.)

Most laboratories test only once, and double check only exclusions which state that the man is not the father (as required by the AABB), but we chose a laboratory which tests everything twice (i.e., better than the AABB requirements) including results which state that the man is the father. The main reason for testing everything twice is to eliminate human error, such as if the laboratory accidentally mixes up your set of samples with somebody else's set of samples. That is why your samples, when received, are immediately split into two independent teams.

Do you protect peoples privacy?

Our laboratory states publicly: "We take our patients' privacy very seriously, and we have the strict confidentiality policy to prove it. ... We will not release any information about your case to anyone without your authorization." We do our best to keep your information confidential.

Besides, we do not require that you give us your real name, and you do not need to show us any ID, for the personal DNA test. You can give us any names you want. You can pay cash, not give a credit card or other official payment. This is common and routine with us. Other laboratories may vary in the above issues and options.

We just do what we can to encourage people to resolve paternity issues and either take responsibility for a child or avoid paternity fraud or keep searching for the real biological father to take responsibility. Where there is doubt, there are problems.

How old does the baby need to be for a DNA paternity test?

Any age. We can do a DNA test anytime after a baby is born. Your DNA is the same from shortly after sperm meets egg, until death. The DNA is the same in practically all cells in our body (those which have a nucleus).

Can you do a DNA paternity test before the baby is born?

Checking the baby's DNA inside the mother's womb is called "prenatal DNA paternity testing". There are ways to test a baby before it is born. However, we do not perform any method of prenatal DNA testing.

A common method between the 14th and 24th week of pregnancy is to carefully insert a needle into the mother to withdraw amniotic fluid from the womb. This is a little bit risky to the baby and painful to the mother.

Between the 10th and 13th week, the sample may be taken from the placenta.

Another, much more recent method, is to take a blood sample from the mother, based on the fact that there are small amounts of the baby's fetal DNA present in the mother's blood. However, this is a very expensive and difficult method. A very special preservative must be put into the blood sample, and even then the fetal DNA degrades quickly.

Some laboratories started to advertise this method, so some competitors had to do likewise. There are stories on the internet of "not father" conclusions from some other laboratories, when another test after the baby was born revealed that the man actually was the father.

Despite the high costs (and profits) of this method, we do not offer prenatal DNA testing, for a variety of reasons. We test only after the baby is born.

Can you help with DNA testing for immigration at my embassy?

It depends upon which embassy. Before we would provide this service, we contact your embassy to find out their requirements. Embassy requirements vary from country to country, and have been changing.

For example, our Director is an American and is most familiar with American government regulations. Before 2005, third party agencies were involved in DNA collection for U.S. consular purposes. The Foreign Affairs Manual regulations on DNA collection were changed in 2005 preventing the involvement of third party agencies. Further changes since then have made the process even less flexible. The kits must be sent directly from the chosen AABB accredited laboratory to the relevant consular section and the samples must be taken by a panel physician or a technician under the panel physician’s supervision on site at the consulate. The relevant regulations appear in 7 FAM 1100 Appendix A.

There are a lot of countries in this world, and many have their own regulations. Others have minimal regulations. These regulations can change. Therefore, we simply ask that you contact your embassy first, if your intention is for immigration purposes instead of your own knowledge.

We have performed "Chain of Custody" DNA sample collections for legal purposes, a process which is much more complicated than the "personal" test, and more expensive.

Many people come to us first for a simple "personal" test to make sure the child is theirs, before they start the complicated and more expensive process of an immigration application and all the paperwork involved, plus the DNA test.

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