How to Get a DNA Test

There are many reasons why you might want to get a DNA test. Although we often see DNA testing used in TV forensics shows, one of the top reasons for getting a DNA test is to determine paternity. DNA paternity testing conclusively determines if a man is the father of a particular child. DNA maternity tests and sibling tests are also available. For those who are interested in genealogy or ethnic origins, many DNA labs now offer DNA ancestry testing.

If you’re wondering how to get a DNA test, you can find quite a few DNA labs online. There are certainly walk-in DNA labs scattered around the country, but using an online DNA testing provider is one of the most convenient ways to get a DNA test. For DNA paternity testing, online labs will normally send you a free DNA sample collection kit. Once you’ve collected your DNA samples, you return them along with payment to the DNA lab.

DNA sample collection is quick and painless. Early DNA paternity testing relied on blood samples, but almost all DNA labs now use buccal swabs to collect samples. Buccal swabs are long swabs similar in design to the standard Q-tip. DNA samples are collected by rubbing the swabs against the inside of the patient’s cheek. This process collects buccal cells, which are cells from the inner lining of the mouth. Buccal cells are routinely shed and replaced by new cells. Buccal cells don’t need refrigeration or preservatives and remain useful even after years of storage. Buccal cell DNA specimens are not affected by toothpaste, tobacco products or other substances. Fasting is not required before specimen collection.

Most testing for relationships, like paternity, maternity and siblingship, is also divided into DNA testing for peace of mind and DNA testing for legal proceedings. You can get a DNA test for peace of mind quite easily. The cost is usually lower and you can collect your own DNA samples yourself at home. But if the DNA test results are to be used in legal situations, then it’s important to purchase legally admissible DNA testing from the lab. For DNA test results to be accepted by a court, DNA samples must be collected by a neutral third party. The third party is there to confirm the identity of the DNA donors and to ensure that chain of custody rules are observed.

Once the DNA samples are collected, they are returned to the lab for analysis. DNA test results can normally be received in as few as five working days. For an extra fee, some DNA labs offer a three day turnaround of test results. Test results are usually mailed to the recipient. Some online DNA labs offer online results.

How your results will look depend on the DNA test ordered. For example, in a DNA paternity test, the alleged father is either excluded or not excluded. Paternity and maternity test provide conclusive results. DNA siblingship tests are more complex and the results will be in the form of a percentage chance of relationship. DNA ancestry testing results vary by provider. In all cases, you should do some online research ahead time so you’ll know that the test you’ve ordered provides the kind of results you need.