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Possible Errors with Paternity Tests You Can't Always Bank on Free DNA Testing

You Can't Always Bank on Free DNA Testing

When conducting a paternity test, there are many factors that contribute to getting the correct results. Many labs will offer free DNA testing but charge to get the results. These testing sites are most often not admissible in court, but they can be used to allay personal fears and concerns about a child's father.

When comparing free DNA testing services, it is important to find the most accurate one to lower the likelihood that an error could occur. By examining a variety of factors used by the testing company, the mother of the child can narrow down her choices to find the most accurate lab.

Many free DNA testing services are used as marketing gimmicks to draw consumers into visiting their web site. When looking for a testing service, at least a 99% accuracy is desired.  Most free DNA testing sites require that cheek cells collected on a swab be sent through the mail to the lab. With collection of the samples by the consumer, these home DNA test kits are convenient, but they are subject to doubt and possible error. Cheek swabs might not be done properly or they could be contaminated during the packing and shipping.

Other forms of testing require a blood sample to be used instead of cheek cells. These tests require that the consumer have blood drawn by a qualified medical professional. The additional labor for this type of testing increases the cost, and these are rarely available as free DNA testing services. Collection errors by the consumer can be overcome by having a blood sample drawn from a physician or a lab technician at the testing location.

Other possible errors in paternity tests can occur when there is a human mistake made at the lab. Test results will never be 100% accurate, but by finding a testing service that uses an accredited lab is one way to reduce error. Testing labs are not subject to oversight unless they are accredited by the  American Association of Blood Banks (AABB).  An accredited lab will be subject to oversight in their collection and testing which can lend credence to the results.

When looking for free DNA testing, the consumer should keep in mind that the results are not likely to be admissible in court. An outline of the requirements for court admissible DNA paternity testing can be found at the U.S. Department of State. Finding tests that adhere to these guidelines are the best way to ensure that the fewest possible errors in a paternity test are made.