DNA Testing Tips: How to Choose a DNA Laboratory for Your Paternity Test

It is critical to choose the best laboratory for any form of DNA analyses. For paternity testing, it is especially important for a myriad of reasons.

While you can buy your own home testing kit, these are solely for personal use and are not guaranteed accurate. Most importantly, home testing is not legally admissible for any matter involving child custody or child support.

The DNA lab is the entity responsible for this incredibly sensitive determination that will largely impact your life. Here are some tips to help you search for the right DNA laboratory.

Look for Credibility   

Many are surprised to learn that there are labs with less than stellar reputations. The capability to perform genetic testing is no longer an attribute of only the few and the best scientific labs. Research only laboratories that are properly accredited with both AABB and ISO17025 certificates, which among other things, means that their results meet the standards necessary to be used in matters of the court.  Also, many companies actually outsource testing, going through some form of middleman. If there are any complications or something goes awry, you want to be dealing directly with the laboratory that is conducting the test.

Dig Deeper 

If you can’t readily find everything you want to know about each lab, get in touch with them. Educate yourself as much as possible on DNA testing so that you have a better idea of what you can expect, and what the lab will actually be doing when they conduct the test. There are several questions you should consider asking before making your choice. Question them point blank on their policy if a sample is inconclusive, and whether or not they conduct at least two tests to ensure reliability. Ask for specifics, like how many STR locations on chromosomes that they regularly test. The more they test for, the better. Most labs will test for at least 15, so do not choose any lab that goes below that number. Don’t forget to also inquire about basic yet crucial things, like the expected timeframe for testing. This can be essential if there are legal proceedings and court dates in the pipeline.

Know the Laws 

On the same note, be sure that the laboratory is well-versed in both federal and state DNA testing requirements. A good laboratory should be thoroughly up-to-date on the latest local and national legalities regarding DNA testing, particularly for paternity tests. They should be able to even help educate you and answer your questions. If they seem unclear, that may be a sign that they don’t respect the gravity of DNA testing in legal matters and that they are not as reputable as they may appear. 

DNA testing has advanced in leaps and bounds. Unfortunately, that means that there are now laboratories which have access to the technology, but lack credibility. Paternity testing is too important to leave in the hands of an irresponsible lab. Do your research and don’t hesitate to ask questions.

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