The Home Paternity DNA test kit allows you to easily collect and submit cheek cells for paternity DNA testing in Canada.
Curiosity Testing with a Home DNA Paternity Test Kit
When the results will not be used in any legal proceedings, Home DNA test kits offered by Maxxam allow individuals to collect their DNA samples from the privacy of their own home and send the samples to Maxxam for DNA testing. Samples are processed in the laboratory the same way as DNA samples in legal testing, but clients are able to remain anonymous with curiosity testing. No legal photo identification is required and a sample collection site witness is not present to verify the identities of each sample source. This convenient form of DNA testing is perfect for those who are simply curious about their family relationships.
The Science Behind DNA Testing
DNA, or ‘deoxyribonucleic acid’, is the building block of life found in nearly every cell that makes up a human being. It can be thought of as a sort of blueprint or genetic code that your body uses to make you. DNA testing relies on two key facts:
- The DNA that makes up a single individual is unique when compared to the DNA sequence of any other human being. Identical twins are the only exception.
- A person inherits half of their DNA or genetic code from their biological father and the other half from their biological mother.
Humans are complex beings whose DNA sequences are very long. For this reason, it is more efficient and cost effective for DNA testing to compare a number of specific regions of DNA that have been found to vary between individuals. If the alleged biological parent in a Paternity/Maternity test possesses the DNA that must be given to the child by his/her true biological parent, then it is considered an inclusion and the probability of paternity (or maternity, if applicable) is calculated. If the alleged biological parent does NOT possess the DNA that must be given to the child by his/her true biological parent, then it is considered an exclusion (the probability of paternity/maternity is 0% - see Common Curiosity Test Scenario). Different statistical calculations are performed for the other types of tests (eg. sibling, grandparent, and avuncular tests) but they all involve comparisons between the same specific regions of DNA.
Top Reasons to Complete a Curiosity Paternity Test
According to Maxxam’s friendly customer service representatives, some of the most common reasons individuals request a curiosity test include:
- Individual(s) want to remain anonymous
- A parent wants to complete a paternity test without the knowledge of the other parent
- Less expensive than legal paternity testing
- An individual was adopted as a child and wants to verify whether or not they found their true biological parents (or other family members)
- Grandparents have questioned their grandchild’s paternity and want to determine if they are actually grandparents.
The Importance of DNA Testing
When considering the use of a DNA paternity test kit, people generally think about its traditional use in investigations to link perpetrators to crime scenes. Introduced in the mid-1980s, DNA testing is indeed used in investigations and provides admissible, defensible results for use in courts. DNA testing results have also led to the exoneration of wrongly convicted individuals. As the sole external Forensic Biology and DNA testing contractor to the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) since 2001, Maxxam has processed more than 7,667 cases (from varied, forensic biology-related, criminal classifications), representing more than 19,000 casework items examined. However, DNA testing has other uses including its use in demonstrating the likelihood of various familial relationships. Maxxam specifically offers paternity and maternity testing, as well as sibling, grandparent, and avuncular (aunt/uncle/niece/nephew) testing.
Many high profile examples of the importance of familial testing have been reported by the media. In 2016, a former Ottawa fertility doctor was accused of inseminating at least two women with his own sperm (1). In another case, a multi-billionaire businessman from Nigeria passed away, leaving his 16 children in a legal battle over their paternity and the resulting shares of the estate (2). A more common example of the use of paternity testing is in custody disputes. Clearly, there is a need for this kind of DNA testing in our legal system, but Maxxam also offers a unique option for individuals to anonymously submit DNA samples for non-legal familial testing. This is accomplished with the help of a Home DNA test kit.
Common Questions and Answers About Home DNA Paternity Testing
The following list includes frequently asked questions about curiosity testing and Home DNA test kits. For additional questions please contact one of our helpful customer service representatives.
1. What kind of sample will I be submitting for DNA testing?
Easily collect and submit cheek cells for paternity DNA testing in Canada. 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 cheek cells.
If you have a specific item that you wish to submit for DNA testing (e.g. a toothbrush), this can also be done as a non-standard sample (cost will vary). Please explain your specific situation and needs with one of our customer service representatives to discuss your options.
2. How do I store my Home DNA test kit at my home if I do not plan on using it right away?
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.
3. What is the procedure for collecting the Paternity DNA samples using a Home DNA test kit?
Each Home DNA test kit comes with step-by-step instructions to collect your DNA samples. In short, you will gently rub a foam swab on the inside of your cheeks to collect cheek cells, blot the swab on a labelled FTA® card and let the sample FULLY air dry. 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 clients to tell if their sample has been transferred.
4. How do I send my Paternity DNA samples to Maxxam?
Once you have completed all of the steps listed in the Home DNA test kit (sample collection and labelling) the samples can be mailed to Maxxam. There is no need to freeze the samples.
5. Do the Home Paternity DNA test kits expire?
No, the Home DNA test kits do not expire.
6. How long until I receive the results?
Maxxam takes pride in a 3 to 5 business day turnaround time, beginning the day we receive all samples that are to be tested and full payment for the testing. The only exception being non-standard samples with a turnaround time of 15 business days.
7. How do I get my results?
Clients have the option to receive their results via email, mail, or by fax.
Common Curiosity Test Scenario (Paternity)
Here at Maxxam Analytics, we often work with clients who are using our Home DNA test kits to submit DNA samples for a paternity test without the knowledge of their significant other. A common example would be a father questioning the paternity of the child he has with his partner. Clients in this position often opt for a curiosity test to remain anonymous and to refrain from offending and involving their partner while they either put their mind at ease or confirm their suspicions. If the results indicate that they are not the biological father, these clients can then proceed with a legal DNA paternity test should they wish to. With this in mind, it is important to note that a curiosity test cannot be “upgraded” to a legal DNA test, they are separate tests.
A client in this situation wanting a curiosity test would simply need to use a Home Paternity DNA test kit to collect samples from himself and his child and submit the samples to Maxxam for DNA testing. Typically, within 3 to 5 business days from the time all samples are received, the client would receive a report indicating the results of the DNA testing. Examples of results seen on a Maxxam paternity report can be seen below.
Sample Paternity Report Results:
For inclusions (i.e. the alleged father possesses the DNA that must be given to the child by the child’s true biological father) -
|Probability of Paternity||Conclusion|
|99.9998 %||Practically proven to be the biological father|
For exclusions (i.e. the alleged father does NOT possess the DNA that must be given to the child by the child’s true biological father) -
|Probability of Paternity||Conclusion|
|0 %||Excluded as the biological father|