Home DNA Test FAQs

Should I get a Home DNA test or a Legal DNA test?

We always recommend that you obtain a Legal DNA test if there is any chance that the results will be required in a court of law.

Home DNA tests are intended for those who are ‘curious’ about their biological relationships and do not intend on using the results for legal purposes. DNA samples for Home DNA tests are collected in the privacy of your own home and samples are sent to The DNA Lab without verifying the identity of the person providing the sample.

Legal DNA testing is recommended when it is likely that the results will be used in Family Court or other legal proceedings. When a decision is made to proceed with Legal DNA testing, contact information is collected for each person being tested so that appointments can be scheduled at one of our 250+ authorized DNA collection locations or via mobile collection units – often within 24 to 48 hours. For a Legal DNA test, one of our authorized collectors will verify the donor’s identity and collect the mouth cheek swab.

Can I upgrade my Home DNA test to a Legal DNA test?

No, Home DNA tests cannot be turned into Legal DNA Tests. This is because DNA samples for Home DNA tests are collected in the privacy of your own home and samples are sent to The DNA Lab without verifying the identity of the person providing the sample. Legal DNA testing requires verification of the donor’s identity, sample collection at one of our authorized DNA collection locations. Legal DNA testing follows a chain of custody that outlines where the sample has been and who has handled it (starting from the moment the sample is collected and ending with the disposition of the sample).

Is testing the child’s biological mother needed in a paternity test? Or other relationship tests?

The mother is not required to get tested in a paternity test; however, it is highly recommended and testing the mother is provided at no extra cost.

The reason this is recommended is that half a person’s DNA comes from their biological mother and the remaining half comes from their biological father. By comparing the mother’s DNA with the child’s DNA it will help to determine which half came from the mother and therefore which half must have come from the biological father. Including the mother will typically produce a more conclusive result. In rare circumstances, not testing the mother can produce an inconclusive result.

Testing the child’s biological mother is recommended in most relationship testing scenarios (the exception is sibship DNA testing).

Can DNA paternity testing be conducted without the alleged father (father is missing or deceased)?

Yes, DNA testing to confirm paternity may be conducted in the absence of a biological sample from the father. When an individual is deceased or unavailable for testing, it may be possible to use other biological family members – for example, the biological mother and both paternal grandparents. Non-standard samples can also be used. Personal items may be submitted as non-standard samples for Home DNA tests only. Please call The DNA Lab for more information.

There are two possible fathers and they are related. Can testing be performed accurately?

Yes; however, it is imperative that we be advised of this possibility prior to testing. For example, if the two possible fathers are brothers or father and son, they will share a high percentage of the same DNA and could both be “practically proven” to be the biological father of the tested child within the range of a 99.95% probability result. Best scientific practice in this scenario is to have both possible fathers tested along with the child and the child’s mother.

How long will the results take?

The DNA Lab takes pride in a 5 business day (or less) turnaround time starting once all samples are received and full payment provided.

What is included in each DNA collection kit?

Each Home DNA test kit comes with step-by-step instructions to collect your own DNA sample. While wearing the provided gloves, you (the donor) collects the DNA sample by rubbing a soft foam swab along the inside of your mouth cheek. The swab is then pressed onto the provided DNA sample card (called an FTA® card). An FTA® card is simply a treated paper that preserves your DNA sample. The pink area on the FTA® card turns white where sample has been applied, making it easy for the donor to tell if their sample has been transferred.

Do I need a lot of saliva on the foam swab?

A common misconception is that a lot of saliva is required. While it does matter if some saliva is present in the sample, the actual DNA required for testing is present in your mouth cheek cells that are easily collected by the foam swab

Is it okay to collect a mouth cheek swab from my newborn baby?

Yes – the process is non-invasive, quick and gentle enough for newborns.

How do I store my Home DNA test kit at my home if I do not plan on using it right away? Do the Home DNA test kits expire?

No special storage conditions are required for your Home DNA test kit if you do not plan on using it right away. It can simply be left at room temperature. Home DNA Test kits do not expire

I’ve ordered a Paternity DNA Test and received a kit for the mother. Can I use this kit for paternity testing with a second child instead?

The standard paternity kit includes a sample for the mother regardless if she ends up being tested. Any additional children may be added for an additional fee. Please call The DNA Lab to add DNA testing of another child.

What is your refund policy?

If you change your mind about your order, and samples have not yet been received at the laboratory, a refund can be provided. For home collection kits, a full refund minus a $75 (CAD) administration fee will apply. No refund will be provided after 12 months regardless of the status of the case.

Home DNA Testing in 4 Easy Steps

Step 1: Order Online
Start by ordering a home DNA Test online. At checkout, you can select the type of at-home test and the number of sample kits you require. You can add supplemental DNA donors to your online order.
Step 2: Receive Kit & Collect Sample
Sample collection kits can be shipped with discreet packaging anywhere in Canada, or you can arrange to pick up your kit at any one of our 300 partner locations nationwide. Follow the kit instructions to collect the cheek swab sample.
Step 3: Lab Analysis
Ship your DNA sample collections back to our laboratory by following the instructions in your kit. Your samples will be processed in our accredited laboratory, but you will remain anonymous.
Step 4: Reports
Receive your confidential results in just 3 to 5 business days. Results are delivered via a report that can be sent to you by email, mail, or fax. The report will identify the probability of paternity, maternity, or family relation by percentage, e.g. 99.95% or higher.

Order an At-Home Test online and receive results in just 3 to 5 business days.