Here’s a quick summary of everything you need to know about the home DNA test.
In the early days of DNA testing, labs needed a sample of your blood. Drawing blood requires a trained nurse. So a visit to the lab was a standard part of the process.
Today most labs can extract DNA from
cheek cells or saliva. All you need is a cheek swab, a saliva collection tube, or a special mouthwash. The type of collection kit you receive varies with the laboratory you use.
These tests let you collect your sample in the privacy of your own home. Plus, you can avoid the trip to a test lab and save the cost of gas or public transportation.
You can order kits for all types of DNA testing online. Review other pages on this site to make sure you order the correct test for your situation. When you order online, the price usually covers the kit and the lab testing.
Paternity test kits are also available in some retail stores. If you buy your kit in a store, the price you pay is usually just for the kit. You pay an additional laboratory processing fee when returning your sample for testing. So they are not usually a bargain.
To keep from contaminating your DNA sample, read and follow the test kit instructions exactly. If your sample contains food particles, for example, your DNA can degrade by the time the lab begins testing. Re-testing will delay your results and may add additional costs.
It is important to remember that any DNA test done at home is for personal information only. Courts do not accept them as evidence, because there is no way to verify who provided the sample.
If your situation involves any legal issue such as child custody, parental support payments, or immigration status, do NOT use this type of test. All participants must go to a certified lab for testing and prove their identity.
Sometimes a potential father might prefer to avoid responsibility for a child. If you are using a home test kit for the purpose of confirming paternity, I suggest you witness the collection of the man's DNA to be absolutely certain that another man did not provide the sample.