Here are some common questions we get. If you have other questions or just want more info please feel free to give us a call.
- What is DNA paternity testing and how does it work?
- What do I need to do to get a test?
- What if those tested are in different cities?
- Is there an age limit to taking a DNA test?
- Can I use your results to obtain child support?
- How fast can I receive the results?
- What do I need to bring to the appointment?
- Can a paternity test be performed without the mother?
- What if the father is missing or deceased?
- Do I need a doctor’s order or attorney’s note to have the paternity test done?
- How accurate is DNA paternity testing?
- Does the buccal swab produce results that are as accurate as those produced using blood samples?
- What do the results look like, and how do I interpret the results?
1. What is DNA paternity testing?
DNA paternity testing (sometimes called parentage testing) uses DNA, the biological basis of inheritance, to prove or disprove the relationship between a child and an alleged father. It is based on the fact that we inherit half of our DNA from our father and half from our mother.
In a DNA paternity test, DNA samples are taken from the child, mother, and alleged father and sent to our lab. We purify the DNA and prepare it for testing with a battery of at least 16 DNA markers, producing a genetic profile for each tested individual. The child’s profile is compared with the profiles of the mother and alleged father to confirm that he/she has inherited DNA from the alleged father. We perform statistical analysis to calculate the probability of paternity.
2. What do I need to do to get a test?
Simply call 1-888-712-9639 to speak with one of our caring case managers. They will evaluate your unique situation and recommend the best DNA testing service to answer your paternity questions. They will also arrange for a sample collection appointment that is convenient for you.
When you arrive at your appointment, you need to present proper identification required by the chain of custody procedure. The sample collector will collect DNA samples using a simple buccal swab—a cotton-like swab that he/she will rub against the inside of your cheek to gather loose cheek cells. They will also take a photograph. The collector will send all samples to our laboratory; we begin testing when all samples have been received in the lab. Typically, once all samples have been received in the lab, we have results in about 48 business hours. We will call you immediately with results and send you the originals by mail.
3. What if those tested are in different cities?
We can schedule separate appointments for the participants in the paternity test. We have thousands of collection sites all over the United States, and we usually can make a convenient appointment close to your work or home.
4. Is there an age limit to taking a DNA test?
No. Because DNA is set at conception and generally does not change, paternity tests can be performed even on a sample from an unborn child (called pre-natal). At birth, a buccal swab may be collected from the newborn.
5. Can I use your results to obtain child support?
Typically, Yes. As long as you elect to do the Legal DNA Test. While we can not speak for your State, County or individual case worker. Health-Link employs a strict chain of custody procedure to ensure that courts and other government agencies accept our results as evidence in a paternity cases. Many of our clients use our results to obtain child support and to claim Social Security benefits, inheritance and even for Immigration purposes. Our testing is AABB Accredited and thus meets the legally admissible standards in all 50 states.
6. How fast can I get my results?
Once all samples have been received in the lab, we typically have results in as little as 48-72 hours. We also provide results immediately by telephone so that you don’t have to wait on the mail. Original, notarized results will also be mailed to you by U.S. Mail within just a few days.
7. What do I need to bring to the appointment?
All test participants must bring a valid, government-issued ID such as a driver’s license, state ID, or passport. For minors, a birth certificate, social security card, or crib sheet is sufficient. The child’s legal guardian must sign the consent form allowing the minor to be tested.
8. Can a paternity test be performed without the mother?
Yes. In fact, the vast majority of Paternity tests are done without the mother. In order to establish Paternity, we typically obtain samples from only the child(ren) as well as the alleged father. However, some courts may require the mother to participate in the paternity testing process. The mother’s participation may aid the lab’s analysis in some unusual circumstances. Her participation is especially helpful in the few cases where mutation (a random change in the DNA) has affected the results or in the event that the tested man is actually a close relative to the biological father, ie., brother (uncle to the child).
9. What if the father is missing or deceased?
Several testing options are available in situations where the alleged father is missing or deceased:
The first option that should be considered is to actually try and obtain a sample of the alleged father’s DNA. If the Alleged father (AF) is deceased then blood or tissue samples may have been collected from the deceased (usually from a coroner’s or medical examiner’s office). If usable DNA is found in these samples, we can conduct a paternity test using this DNA. If no biological (DNA) samples are available from the alleged father then grandparentage testing is the next option to be considered.
Both biological parents of the alleged father (paternal grandparents) are required to participate in a grandparentage test. This is typically a very good option when no sample is available from the alleged father for Paternity Testing. Results of this test prove only the relationship of the child to the grandparents, but most government organizations treat these results as indirect evidence of paternity. If the paternal grandparents are not both available to be tested, other family relationships may be tested to indirectly determine paternity through genetic reconstructions, siblingship tests, and others. Please call 1-888-712-9639 to discuss your situation with one of our caring and knowledgeable case managers.
10. Do I need a doctor’s order or attorney’s note to have the paternity test done?
No. (Except in New York) Private individuals can take a DNA test without a doctor’s or attorney’s request. However, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) only allows a clinical laboratory to examine specimens at the request of a licensed physician or other persons authorized by law to use the test results in their practice or in the performance of their official duties.
11. How accurate is DNA paternity testing?
DNA paternity testing is 100% accurate when done properly. Our Dual Process™ helps to ensure a strict chain of custody and error-free results by proper handling, testing, and analysis of samples.
Many laboratories may mistake the term accuracy for likelihood (or probability). The probability of paternity is a statistical measure of the likelihood of the biological relationship. In the case of an inclusion result (the alleged father is found to be the biological father), the probability of paternity could be as high as 99.99999% and above.
All paternity tests will show a result below 100%—to produce a 100% probability, a laboratory would have to test every other man in the world. Instead, the paternity test uses a population database to calculate the probability of paternity. An exclusion result is always 0% because if the genetic profiles of the child and alleged father do not match, there is statistically no chance for the two to be biological related.
12. Does the buccal swab produce results that are as accurate as those produced using blood samples?
Yes. Buccal swab samples contain the same DNA as blood samples and will thus produce the same paternity test result. Buccal swabs are especially preferable over blood samples for persons who have had recent blood transfusions or a bone marrow transplant—their blood samples might contain DNA from the donor.
13. What do the results look like, and how do I interpret the results?
A paternity test result includes a table listing the different DNA markers tested (the DNA profile), the Probability of Paternity, and a Combined Paternity Index (CPI) value. The DNA profile is the raw data on which the statistical calculations are based. You will want to focus on the Probability of Paternity. A result of 0% means that the alleged father is not the biological father; a result of 99.99% and above means that the alleged father is the biological father. The CPI value represents the odds against another random, untested male in the population having the same results as the tested father.