Top Things You Need to Know about a DNA Paternity Test

 A DNA paternity test is now accepted as the definitive way to establish the relationship between a child and his or her biological father. This is a scientifically-derived test that has been developed to correctly and accurately prove paternity. In the UK, a legal paternity test is used as a matter of course within the judicial system to provide proof of paternity or non-paternity. As one of the most accredited and experienced labs for paternity testing, DNA Diagnostics Centre (DDC) provides unrivaled information and advice about it. Here is a brief guide to help you make an informed decision when choosing a test.

General Information about Paternity Testing

How does a DNA paternity test work?

Every individual (with the exception of identical twins) has a unique DNA profile, which is why this test is so successful. We inherit half our DNA from each biological parent. A DNA paternity test compares an established set of genetic data for a potential father with that of a child.

Typically, DNA is collected from participants by way of painless cheek swabs.  Once samples are at the laboratory, they are processed and then analyzed by a team of genetics professionals who calculate a probability of paternity.  Conclusive results show a 99.9% or higher probability of paternity if the man is considered the biological father, or 0% if he is not considered the biological father.

Are there any limits to what the test can tell you?

This test was specifically developed to identify a paternity relationship and nothing else. It will not tell you the following:

  • Ancestry
  • Age of the tested participants
  • The race of participants
  • Any disposition to genetic diseases
  • Proof of another type of relationship such as sibling, grandparent, etc.

What is the sample-collection process?

  • Samples are collected using a cheek (buccal) swab. Although this swab looks like a regular household cotton-tipped version, its synthetic-fibre end is specifically designed to gently and efficiently collect cheek cells from inside the mouth
  • Four (4) swabs are rubbed against the inside of the cheeks for each tested party
  • The swabs are then carefully placed into specially-labeled paper envelopes. Paper containers allow the samples to “breathe” and stay viable during transport to the lab

What is the lab process?

  • The lab follows a proven set of steps to extract and then test DNA from the cheek cells of every test participant
  • As an extra layer of control to ensure accuracy, each test at DDC is performed twice by independent teams
  • At a minimum, DDC tests 20 STR genetic markers—even though the industry standard is only 16. It is during this stage that the information from the markers is revealed
  • A DNA analyst reviews the data and then makes calculations to determine the probability of paternity
  • Each test is carefully reviewed by one of our on-staff PhDs before the results report is released to the customer

 How long does testing take?

Testing time can vary from lab to lab. At DDC you can expect your results to be ready 3 business days after samples arrive at the lab.

Which DNA Paternity Test is Right for You?

What are the differences between a home DNA paternity test and a legal DNA paternity test?

A “home” test means that the DNA samples are collected by the customer, usually at home. It does not mean this is a self-test—the samples still need to be processed at the lab. This type of test is also called a “peace-of-mind” test because it can only be used for personal curiosity and not for any legal reason. Alternatively, a legal paternity test  follows a strict chain-of-custody process for testing and results can be used for immigration or passports, child support, and more.

Home-paternity test highlights

  • Test is ordered and samples taken in the privacy of your home
  • Lower costs as you do not need a third-party sample collector
  • Results available in your secure online account in 3 business days

Legal-paternity test highlights

  • Results can be used for any legal reason
  • Reassurance that samples have been collected correctly
  • Separate sampling appointments if the parents are in dispute


Top tips when looking for a lab

  • Make sure they are accredited
  • Choose one that has been in business for decades and has built a reputation of excellence

If you need additional information about a DNA paternity test, contact our experienced customer-service team at on 020 3301 7346.