The demand for DNA tests of all types has soared over the past decade. The latest ones to gain popularity are home DNA tests; these are cheaper and considerably more convenient than those DNA tests offered by private clinics or hospitals. Nowadays, you can easily find the DNA testing services you need online, at your local pharmacy or even via mobile vans which can be found in many USA states. Of course, getting hold of your kit from your local pharmacy or from a mobile van kind of defeats the idea of an “at home” test.
Should I opt for an Online DNA test?
As stated, you can purchase your test online or from a pharmacy. If you intend buying your test from a pharmacy it is important to note that all you purchase in this case is a sample collection kit. The kit will set you back only around $40 but once you collect the samples using the oral swabs you find inside the kit, you will need to pay the additional fee for laboratory testing. This will set you back something around another $100.
Online DNA testing companies enable you to do everything from the comfort of your own home. You can place your order and receive the kit at your chosen address. Once you collect your samples, you can then just return them for laboratory analysis. Typically, companies operating online offer an all inclusive cost for the postage of the kit, the DNA analysis and the result.
How do I select a paternity testing provider?
The main criteria for selecting a DNA test provider should be laboratory accreditation. The most widely recognized accreditations in the USA are ISO17025 and AABB (American Association of Blood Banks). Any company offers DNA tests and having these accreditations will clearly state so on their website. What these accreditations do is ensure consistently high level of technical competence for genetic testing facilities. ISO 17025 is a globally recognized accreditation whilst AABB is an important accreditation recognized mainly in the USA. Other countries might have their own specific laboratory accreditation bodies.
What are the best samples to use?
DNA testing technology is so advanced nowadays that minute samples of genetic material can be tested. This is why the sample most widely used is a saliva samples collected by rubbing a swab inside the mouth. The term “saliva sample” is widely used although misleading- it is not your saliva which is analyzed but the cheek cells which get attach to the cotton ended part of the swab when it is rubbed inside the mouth.
Other samples can be used but might not offer such a high probability of success of a saliva sample. The success, in terms of extraction of genetic markers, very much depends on how old the sample is and how it has been stored. It is always best to speak to someone before sending in any samples that are not the standard oral swab samples.
It should be affordable
DNA testing does not need to run into hundreds of dollars to be reliable or accurate. You can have your mind at rest that cheap DNA testing can be very accurate. So as long as you have chosen an accredited laboratory you do not need to worry so much about the price. If you do however, come across a complete DNA test for just $50 or so dollars by a company that also claims to have accredited laboratories, you might want to ask them to provide you with a copy of their accreditation certificate.
Results should be accurate
The results of your DNA test should be accurate (although this very much depends on the type of test you do). It is always worth speaking to somebody about your DNA test so that they can explain the type of results you can expect and how accurate these will be.