Taking a DNA Test is a life-changing event and you want to be sure that the results you get back are absolutely accurate. With a growing number of websites offering DNA Testing, who do you trust? For this reason here at DNA Worldwide we’ve decided to put together everything that could go wrong with a home DNA Test. With the hope that by the time you’ve read the article you will know how best to avoid any problems when you do your test. It is all too often we get called up by distressed customers looking for a company they can trust to re-do DNA testing when it has gone wrong the first time.
- Who’s samples were submitted – One of the biggest problems with a home test is ensuring that no-one tampers with the samples. In both parties are in agreement with a test this is not normally a problem, but in many cases one party is hoping for a certain result. Therefore our suggestion on how to avoid this issue is to all collect the samples together. This could be at a mutually convenient location and then post the samples together at the post office. That way you can be sure no tampering has been done.
- Inconclusive Results – a common and normally hidden problem in the DNA testing industry is that some DNA Tests come back inconclusive. This means despite DNA testing because the DNA is very common DNA the lab can’t provide an absolute accurate result, for example the report may come back as 99.1% or 95% and we’ve even seen them at 75% when only the father and child could be tested, this means that the result will be wrong in 1 in 1,000, 1 in 20 or 1 in 4 cases. To avoid this issue DNA Worldwide test at least 21 DNA Markers compared to other labs that look at 16 markers. We offer a 100% accurate results of paternity or you money back.
- Turn Around Times – The time quoted on every website is the number of days it will take for the lab to email you the results from the day the samples are received. For example we offer a 3-5 day service and normally issues results in 72 hours. However this time does not include how long it takes for the kit to arrive with you or the time it takes to send the kit back. Many companies offering cheap DNA testing operate out of the USA or Canada, for this reason whilst they advise 3-5 days on their site it can take 7-9 days for the kit to arrive with you, a further 7-9 days for the kit to be received back at the lab and in total many customers find they are waiting over 1 month for the results. The lab turns the samples around quickly but the postal service and distance lets the overall process down.
- Hidden Costs – In our separate entry we cover the real cost of a £99 paternity test however the important thing to check is hidden costs, such as being charged extra to have email copies of results, posted copies, kits sent to multiple addresses or kits if mistakes are made. This leads customers to have to reach for their credit card time and time again. Our recommendation choose a company that provides a fully inclusive cost with no add on fees – in the long run it will cost you less.
- Laboratory Location & Data Security – A simple question to consider is the location of the laboratory. Are they in Europe or located in the USA or Canada? Most cheap testing is conducted in the USA because the costs of the raw material used to conduct DNA testing is much lower. The problem however is once samples go outside Europe they are not covered by the Data protection and privacy laws that govern the UK and Europe. If this is a cause for concern you may want to choose a European Lab.
- Clarity of the DNA Test Result Certificate – Have you seen an example of the test result certificate you will receive? Most labs provide the DNA profiles of each person tested along with a simple conclusion however this is not always the case. Make sure the certificate has the DNA profile for each person along with the simple conclusion. Some provide just the conclusion with no scientific evidence that any testing has been conducted.
- Incorrect Sample Collection – Taking a DNA test is very simple, it involves two cotton swabs for each person. These are gently rubbed in the mouth. It is important to wait 1-2 hours after eating, drinking or smoking. A little water 30min before is not an issue. This ensures a clean DNA sample. However even when you follow these sometimes the lab can’t get a full DNA profile, if experienced the lab will have multiple attempts to get a result and if not a re-collection will be needed. A few companies charge for this service so it is worth checking out before you choose the company, and if they do charge make really sure you don’t make a mistake. At DNA Worldwide and other leading labs we don’t charge for re-collections – after all we feel you’ve already paid to have a test done and not everyone is a trained DNA collector!
In summary provided you have conducted your research, chosen a company that can deliver a kit quickly, are happy with their location and data protection laws, made sure there are no hidden costs, can test the mother as well to avoid inconclusive results and you can watch the samples from the time they are taken to the time they are posted then a Home DNA Test could very well be for you.
The only other thing you need to consider is if the results are needed for the CSA, birth certificate changes or any court reason. If this is the case then a Legal DNA Test carried out by the 3rd party trained Nurse or Doctor is the way forward.