On average, a paternity test is performed in the United States every two minutes. That’s about 300,000 paternity tests a year. Changes in social relationships, government regulations, and DNA paternity testing technology have combined to explode the growth of paternity testing. Just a few decades ago, paternity testing was a long, laborious, and expensive proposition, and the results were not that accurate. But advances in DNA testing methods in the last 10 years have made DNA paternity tests accessible to pretty much anyone who wants one.
One recent innovation in the DNA paternity testing market is the introduction of home paternity tests. Home paternity tests can be ordered on the Internet. Results from a home paternity test are usually available in less than a week.
A home paternity test allows individuals to collect their own samples privately at home. The home paternity test is useful for those who want to satisfy their own curiosity or who are looking for some peace of mind. But if the results are to be used in some sort of legal proceeding, like child custody or child support cases, then the home paternity test does not satisfy the legal requirements for chain of custody. Even in cases where a legal test is required, patients may want to know the answer privately first before undertaking a legal DNA paternity test.
However, there is no difference in accuracy. The laboratory testing procedures for home paternity test kits are precisely the same as other collection methods. Therefore the precision of the results obtained is unchanged. Home paternity test kits contain everything you need to collect DNA samples. Usually this includes swabs, envelopes for storing the samples, and instructions for collecting samples. The collection process itself is simple. A swab is rubbed against your inside cheek and placed in an envelope. After each person being tested has completed this, the envelopes are returned to the company that provided the home paternity test kit.
Once the samples are received by the lab, DNA is extracted and purified. The most widely used method of analysis today for DNA paternity tests is called Polymerase Chain Reaction or NCR. The NCR process creates a DNA profile for each sample. These profiles are then compared by a human analyst to find out if there is a biological relationship. Half of the child’s DNA profile should match the mother’s. If the other half matches the alleged father’s DNA profile, then he is confirmed to be the biological father. The alleged father is excluded if the child’s DNA profile does not match his profile.
When choosing an in-home paternity test provider, you may want to check into their privacy policies and find out what steps they take to preserve confidentiality.