The cost of a paternity test will depend on a number of factors and it is important to understand exactly what you are paying for and why prices may vary between different companies. The final price of the test will depend on the type of test ordered, the number of people taking part and the speed with which you receive your paternity test result amongst other things. A consultation with the DNA paternity testing company of your choice should help clarify how much is the price you will be paying for the test and what exactly you are paying for.
What is the cost of a Legal paternity Test ?
A legal paternity test is carried out following a different sampling procedure which pushes up the overall cost of the test. The price of a legal paternity test runs into hundreds of dollars. In this type of test, people taking part in the test cannot collect their own samples. They will need to have a neutral third party collect the samples instead of them. Usually this neutral third party can be any person exercising a profession who is not a blood relative of anyone taking part in the test. Test participants will need to provide identification and photocopies of their chosen identification. They will also need to provide passport sized photographs. The neutral third party (known formally as the Sampler) will have to certify in writing that the people from whom samples have been taken are actually the people who are required to take part in the test. There is usually also an added cost for the sampler. The paternity test results could then be court admissible; though accepting the results of the test is ultimately up to the judge.
The cost of a Home Paternity Test
It is possible to find cheap paternity tests. The cost of a home test is somewhere in the region of the 100-150$ region. For a DNA test at home you will be provided with a paternity testing kit. In the kit you find everything you need to collect the DNA samples. Nowadays, a simple buccal swab enables one to collect enough DNA for a paternity test. This is thanks to huge advances in the field of DNA testing. Scientists use an extraction, replication and amplification procedure known as polymerase chain reaction (or PCR) that allows them to work successfully with very quantities of DNA. Polymerase reaction uses DNA copying enzymes (DNA polymerase) to make copies of the DNA.
Whilst initially one may be daunted by the idea of collecting their own sample, in actual fact oral swabs are extremely easy to use. You just rub them inside the mouth and against the sides of your inner cheek. The friction of the swabs against the lining of the mouth (known as the epithelium or epithelial membrane) will make the cells making up this surface detach and stick to the surface of the swab. Given that clients collect their own DNA samples means saving costs on the test making a home paternity far cheaper than a paternity test for legal purposes. So opt for home paternity test if you just need to confirm your curiosity and are on a budget.
What about prenatal testing?
Prenatal testing is expensive. The reasons for this are several. First and foremost, if you are doing a standard prenatal test for paternity using a sample of amniotic fluid or chorionic villus, you will need to pay for the extraction of these samples by the qualified OBGYN. The cost for having these procedures if rather high. Moreover, the DNA testing company will also charge an extra cost for testing with these samples. There is one further complication which could arise – amniotic fluid needs to be tested within the shortest time frame possible. Fetal DNA in this sample is quite unstable and degrades quickly.
Another option you have is non invasive prenatal testing for paternity. Not many companies as yet offer this test but it is much more simple and straightforward and also cheaper. The test is done by analysing samples of maternal blood. The fetal DNA is extracted from the maternal blood samples. You can thus see that there is not need for any OBGYN but just a qualified person to collect the sample. For prenatal DNA testing in New Zealand, the USA and other countries, you will need to find a company specialising in just this type of test.
The type of DNA Samples used
DNA extraction from buccal swabs is simple; in fact, scientists have a very high chance of extracting a complete DNA profile from this sample. The first thing they need to do is remove and isolate the DNA from the cell nucleus. The DNA is recovered from the cells collected on the swab by a combination of extraction operations using micropipettes, micro centrifuges and a vortex mixer. The laboratory analysts encounter few issues, if ever, with oral swabs. Hence the error rate for paternity testing samples is very low.
However, laboratory analysis for samples other than saliva samples, such as blood or hair, is different. The steps involved are still the same but a more in depth analysis is required and depending on the sample, scientists might not even be successful in extracting the necessary DNA profile. Some samples are actually far better than others; in fact, semen, blood samples (medical blood draws to be specific rather than stains) and a used Kleenex offer the highest chances of completing the test. The cost of paternity testing using these samples is more expensive.
How many people take part in the Paternity Test and the type of DNA Test chosen
The most straightforward test is usually the paternity testing which involves the testing of samples of alleged father and child. The sample of the mother is normally recommended but not totally necessary to complete the test. Additional costs may be incurred to include the mother’s sample although some companies may include this for free. In addition, if more than one father or child is testing an additional cost per person is normally charged.
There are also several types of DNA tests available to determine other biological relationships such as aunt/uncle, grandparentage and siblings analysis. These tests can be used to find out if two individuals are directly related, or else may be used in lieu of a paternity test where the alleged father is not available for testing. Once again the price of the DNA test will depend on the type of test and the number of people involved in the testing.
How will the Home Kit be sent and how fast you receive the DNA Test Results
Additional costs may be incurred in the sending of the kit to the client. If you have requested to receive the kit in the fastest way possible (usually by courier), then the additional cost will be greater then requesting to receive the kit by normal post. Different companies offer different options and you can select which option you prefer depending on your requirements.
If you want your results as soon as possible, most DNA testing companies can offer express testing options which can generate results in as little as 24 hours. Of course there is a premium to pay since the laboratory will have to place your samples ahead of others and might be required to invest additional resources to complete the test within the required timeframes. For normal testing results are usually available between 3 to 7 working days depending on the company you select to do your testing.
If you decide to purchase a DNA test, then we recommend that you make sure you fully understand the cost of the paternity test you are expected to pay – this is usually stated on the website at the time of order, however if you have any doubts contact the company directly.