Wednesday, April 30, 2008

An Overview of a Paternity Test Kit

A paternity test kit, often referred to as an in-home paternity test kit, brings the complex world of DNA testing right to your home without the need for any specialized knowledge on your part. As of only recently has it become possible to purchase a paternity test kit without the need for spending a fortune going through a private laboratory. In fact, a home paternity test kit can now be bought right over-the-counter at drug stores in many locations throughout the U.S. for as low as $19.99, although the lab's processing fees will be an extra charge.

Here is an overview of a basic paternity test kit and the different steps involved with the process:

After ordering your paternity test it should arrive in a discreetly marked package for your privacy, including an equally plain return envelope or package for mailing the completed test kit back. While the specifics may vary from one company to the next, basically, the first step is accurately labeling the collection envelopes and filling out all of the required information, then collecting the samples as directed, and simply mailing them back to the laboratory.

1. Step One: Each person being tested will have a separate envelope to hold their individual samples for mailing. The envelopes, or mailers, are also where necessary information is to be listed, including the person's race which is needed to calculate statistical data related to DNA.

2. Step Two: Most kits provide a total of four specially treated cotton swabs, two for the inside of the left cheek, and the other two for the right, for each person. When removing the swabs from their plastic wrapping, open at the opposite end of the cotton tip taking extra care not to touch the tip to the outside of the package or any other surface.

Each swab should be rubbed against the inside of the cheek, rotating and swirling the tip briskly without rubbing it on the same area over and over again. Combining a back and forth and up and down motion tends to work best. After using one swab, immediately put it into the collection envelope, sealing after both swabs are used. The swabs should NOT be placed back into the plastic sleeves as this will promote the growth of mold, which could actually destroy the DNA.

3. Step Three: After all three people have been tested using all four swabs that are now in sealed envelopes, complete and sign the form or forms included that indicate how you will be paying for the testing, and how you wish to receive your results. Some laboratories also offer the convenience of retrieving DNA paternity results online via a web site or email in addition to receiving them by regular mail.

The completed kit, including the individual, fully labeled envelopes and any consent forms are then placed inside one larger mailer, usually postage-paid, and sent back to the laboratory for processing. Generally, results are available for delivery within five working days after the test samples are received at the lab via first-class mail, telephone, or email, and expedited service may also be available for an additional fee.

DNA paternity test results will be able to tell with 100% certainty if a man is not the father, and offer a probability of at least 99.9999% if he is the biological father of the child tested.
Photos courtesy of  JenaGen

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