Once someone has made the very difficult decision to take a DNA paternity test, the first question many people ask is how to go about it. There are three main types of paternity tests with different procedures, so it depends on your circumstances. The one thing that anybody doing a test should ensure is that the lab they use is appropriately accredited.

1. Procedure for a Home Paternity Test

The first and simplest option is a home paternity test. This is the perfect choice for families trying to establish the paternity of a child strictly for personal reasons. A test may be ordered online from a lab that is accredited to ISO17025. This means that an accrediting body has inspected the laboratory to ensure that their testing procedures are of a high standard.

  • The lab posts a kit to you, or some accredited labs like DDC offer a walk-in service, if you prefer
  • The kit contains specialized cheek swabs, which resemble cotton wool buds
  • All you have to do is to rub the swabs gently on the inside of the cheek to collect the loose cheek cells
  • The kit contains instructions on how to swab, a consent form, and a prepaid return envelope
  • When you have collected the samples and completed the paperwork, all you have to do is send everything back to the lab
  • Results are generally available in a few days once samples arrive at the lab

IS THIS TEST FOR YOU? The report cannot be used for legal reasons because an independent third party hasn’t collected the samples and checked the identities of the individuals. This report is ideal for peace-of-mind purposes, but if you need legal results, then a legal paternity test is the better choice.

2. Procedure for a Legal Paternity Test

If you need paternity results for a more formal reason like court proceedings, a birth certificate alteration, inheritance hearing, child support issues, or for immigration, you need to have a court-approved test. The Ministry of Justice accredits labs like DDC to do court-approved testing, so it is essential that you check that the lab you wish to use has the MOJ accreditation.  You need to call the lab or complete their online application form. It is worth shopping around because excellent labs like DDC offer a price-match guarantee.

You cannot use a home kit for this type of test; it must be arranged through an accredited lab and testing materials must be sent directly to the DNA-collection location.

  • Once you have provided the details of the individuals to be tested, arrangements are made to have your samples collected by a doctor or nurse
  • You need to provide IDs and passport photos at the time of the sample collection
  • DDC has an extensive sample-collector network and we also offer a mobile sample-collector service for your convenience
  • Arrangements are made for a mutually-convenient time to take the samples, and the collector will provide the kit at the appointment
  • Samples are still cheek swabs, and so collecting DNA is completely painless
  • The samples are packaged with your proof of identification and sent back to the lab in a tamper-protected package
  • Results are ready in a few days and you should ensure you get a hard copy of your report for your records
  • Because a chain-of-custody process was followed, these results can be used for any legal reason and are court-admissible

IS THIS TEST FOR YOU? If you need your results for any type of legal reason, then yes. If you don’t need results for legal reasons at the moment, but anticipate you may someday, err on the safe side and get a legal test instead of a home test.

3. Procedure for a Non-Invasive Prenatal Paternity Test

For some women, waiting until a child is born to do a DNA test is not an option, so DDC offers a safe, non-invasive prenatal paternity test. This can offer either legal or peace-of-mind results, but it does require a third-party collection procedure either way.

  • All that is needed is a blood sample from the mother and a cheek-swab sample from the possible father
  • The test can be carried out from 8 weeks of pregnancy
  • The lab extracts the fetal DNA from mum’s blood: Just contact the testing lab and they make the arrangements to book sample collections for you
  • The lab sends you a collection kit, which you give to the collector at the appointment
  • Remember to provide photo IDs if you want to use the test results for a legal reason
  • The collector packages up the samples and posts them to the lab for you, for legal results. For peace-of-mind results, you will need to post the kit back to the lab by Royal Mail next-day special delivery
  • Results are available in eight (8) days, but do ask if the lab can provide an express service. If you need the results more quickly, this can usually be arranged for a small additional fee

IS THIS TEST FOR YOU? If it’s important to you to get paternity results while still pregnant, this is the safest and easiest way to do so.


Although the procedure for each of these three tests is different from the others, the goal is the same: to get the paternity answers you need quickly, accurately, and at an affordable price.

Don’t hesitate to call us at 020-3301-7346: We’re here to assist you.