Legal vs. Home DNA Paternity test

Rapid advances in modern DNA testing technology have transformed the DNA paternity testing procedure from being an expensive and time consuming procedure into a simple and cost-effective test that can be ordered online. Nowadays, paternity DNA tests do not require the collection of a blood sample, but can be carried out using samples of saliva that are collected using oral swabs.

Online PR News – 22-March-2010 – – Home paternity DNA test
There are essentially two types of paternity DNA tests that one can choose from, and the choice of test will depend upon mainly the use for which the test results are required. In the majority of cases, one will carry out a paternity test in order to satisfy one’s curiosity, need to know, or to find out if there is a basis for taking further action in paternity legal issues, for example initiating court procedures for legal recognition of a child. In these cases the best kind of test to carry out is the home paternity DNA test. This is the simpler and more cost-effective paternity test, on ordering this kind of test the testing company will generally mail the client a ‘home DNA testing kit’.
This kit will contain oral swabs for collection of the samples, detailed instructions on how to collect the saliva samples, consent forms and a pre-addressed envelope to be used to send the collected samples back to the laboratory. Therefore the client is able to collect the saliva samples in the comfort and privacy of their own home. The test results are frequently available within 5-7 days following the arrival of the samples at the laboratory.
Legal DNA paternity test
The second type of paternity test, the legal DNA paternity test, is required in cases where the results of the paternity test need to be officially recognised as being valid, in order to be used for example in court cases or else to apply for immigrant status. In these cases, the standard home DNA paternity test is not recognised as being valid, because the testing company will have no way of guaranteeing that the samples were taken from the right person.
For this purpose, for a legal test to be valid it needs to follow what is described as the ‘chain of custody’ sample collection procedure that is a set of procedures that are aimed at maintaining the integrity and validity of the test results. For this purpose, ‘chain of custody’ procedures require that the samples be collected by an independent person, who will need to verify the identity of the persons taking part in the test, and who essentially assumes responsibility of ensuring that no part of the sample collection procedure is tampered with.
Therefore the legal DNA paternity test is essentially the same as the home DNA paternity test, the difference being that in the former test a third party needs to be present in order to guarantee the validity and reliability of the results. For this reason, carrying out a legal DNA paternity test tends to be more time-consuming and expensive, as it will involve visiting a clinic or laboratory, and paying additional clinic fees, notaries’ fees etc. However, one needs to note that only test results that have been collected using ‘chain of custody’ procedures will be recognised as being valid for official purposes, for this reason, results obtained from a standard home DNA paternity test will not be recognised by a court of law.