Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last ten years, you’re probably aware of the growing role of DNA testing in everyday life. From forensics to relationships to ancestry, DNA testing is changing the way we validate truth. One of the fastest growing areas of DNA testing is in the realm of DNA paternity testing. There now exist online an abundance of companies willing to provide state-of-the-art DNA paternity testing services. Most of these companies send an at-home DNA paternity test kit directly to you, so that you can collect the necessary DNA samples in the privacy of your own home.
Because there are so many DNA laboratories vying for your business, you really need to do some personal investigation to determine which company is right for you and your situation. Since there is not yet any overall regulation of online DNA paternity test providers, it’s the buyer’s (that’s you) responsibility to weed out the real labs from the fly-by-night operations. Here are some things to consider:
The testing service should be accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks and should be ISO 17025 certified. The American Association of Blood Banks is an international formed “to advance the practice and standards of transfusion medicine and cellular and related biological therapies.” ISO stands for International Standards Organization. The ISO has set quality standards for DNA testing laboratories. These organizations perform audits and inspections of accredited companies to ensure that they maintain high standards. Laboratories holding both accreditations are demonstrating a commitment to quality and accuracy.
Beware of hidden costs. Make sure the fee you pay is all-inclusive. It should include the sample collection kit for a home DNA test, analysis by the lab, and results. There have been instances where labs have received DNA samples from clients and analyzed them, only to demand additional payment before providing the results.
Make sure you’re getting what you need. Choose the right test for your situation. And find out the company’s response time. Can they meet your deadlines if you have any? Most labs can provide results in three to nine days, depending on the test. Expedited service is often available for an extra fee.
Find out about their privacy policies. Do they guarantee complete confidentiality? Also read about their staff. Companies that provide DNA paternity testing or other DNA tests should employ staff with doctoral level degrees in appropriate disciplines like molecular biology and medical genetics.
Do they own their own laboratory or are they outsourcing the analysis to another company? If there are other resellers and brokers in the chain, it may cost you more. Brokers receive your samples and then turn around and forward them to another lab for testing. If the price isn’t marked up in this process, then you can probably expect the quality to be lowered.
If you’re ordering a DNA paternity test, or some other type of DNA test, it’s obviously important to you. The results and your actions based on those results will likely have far-reaching and long-lasting consequences, especially in the case of a DNA paternity test. So it’s really very important to practice due diligence–that is, do your homework. Investigate the companies you’re considering. If their websites don’t adequately answer your questions, then call them on the telephone and speak to a representative. Don’t even consider companies you can’t contact directly.