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How to Select a Paternity Test Lab Making Sure the Lab Fits All Your Needs

Making Sure the Lab Fits All Your Needs 

When selecting a paternity test lab for a paternity court case, there are many factors to take into consideration. These reflect not only the needs of the court (in order to allow the results as evidence), but those of the participants involved. Every situation is unique. A good quality lab understands and attempts to meet the needs of those involved with respect and the least amount of hassle possible. The chosen lab should provide exceptional customer service during a stressful and uncertain time in the lives of the participants.

The most important difference between a legally admissible test for a paternity court case and one performed at home, privately, is that a chain of custody is upheld. That means documentation is created which assures the court that each sample has been tracked, proof of identification was presented and verified when the sample was collected, and a neutral third party collected each sample. The third party is usually a trained collector or medical technician, a representative of the testing facility. In some cases, test results may be notarized as well.

When considering a lab, check to see if they are an accredited facility. Accreditation means a lab has been independently inspected and found to adhere to certain standards. It is one way for individuals and the paternity court personnel to judge the quality of the lab used. Accreditation gives the consumer and the court greater assurance that results can be trusted because the samples have been handled according to a specific set of rules and protocol.  

Some of the best known accreditations include those from the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB), Laboratory Accreditation Bureau (LAB), and College of American Pathologists (CAP). The AABB and LAB inspect facilities to ensure consistent standards, suitable facilities, valid testing methods, qualified staff, and accurate recording procedures. The CAP both tests for proficiency and offers accreditation. They examine labs to assure they meet or exceed regulatory requirements. Many labs carry multiple accreditations. A paternity court may require a specific accreditation.

To judge the accuracy and professionalism of a lab, consider their history of legal acceptance in paternity court cases. Testimonials can give you a picture of the process in action from the point of view of a customer, but be aware that companies may only present positive feedback and that these glowing recommendations may not portray the whole picture. A more fitting gauge of service would be the lab's Better Business Bureau rating, where negative experiences will be weighed alongside positive experiences.  

For the individuals involved, the choice of a lab often comes down to the services offered. To the lab, participants in testing are their customers. Most facilities offer a variety of collection and testing packages to fit the diverse needs of their clients. The more involved the services, the greater the fee.

Beyond the basic services usually offered, some labs are willing to provide their clients additional options for special circumstances. They may have personnel available to collect samples at home or at an attorney's office, if preferred. Appointments may be scheduled at a time of your choosing, even if this falls outside regular business hours. Some also offer expert testimony for paternity court proceedings.