Paternity tests were at one time a mysterious procedure that had the potential of costing thousands of dollars to be completed. Today, the prices have dropped dramatically just within the last decade with in-home paternity test kits even available in drug stores in certain locations for less than $30. There are many companies who even offer completely free test kits that also include postage-paid mailers for returning the samples to the laboratory for processing, which is where the fees come in, that will vary by location, company, and also be dependent upon the type of procedures that are needed.
The first place to search for a cheap paternity test is online as there are numerous DNA testing companies that are associated with reputable and accredited laboratories with informative web sites that clearly outline their services. As each particular case is different, some with unique or extenuating circumstances, it's best to contact a DNA testing company or laboratory directly about specific prices for any involved or complicated situations.
Some at-home testing companies offer limited customer service, which is rather important when dealing matters as important as paternity. Before making your purchase, always be sure to find out what type of support is available, when, and via what medium.
What is DNA?
First discovered over 50 years ago, deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, is the essential molecule that is present within the cell's of all living beings. Through a thermal heating process using special chemical agents, DNA is extracted from the cells and genetic markers are detected on the strands of molecules that form the DNA. If enough of these markers do not match the sample from the child in question, paternity is ruled out and is not a possibility.
If more than half of the markers from the father's portion of the DNA do indeed match those of the child's, paternity can be established with 99.9999% accuracy if the mother has also been tested, which is the case the majority of the time. In other cases where there isn't enough conclusive evidence after testing once, additional types of testing can be done at an added cost.
Will a Cheap Paternity Test Be Accurate?
Even tests that are advertised for as little as $99 must go through the same process used to extract DNA from the cell, detect genetic markers and the DNA profile of the cell, and then determine if the samples collected are a match, or if the man in question couldn't possibly be the father. Exclusion is always 100% accurate, and many inexpensive or cheap paternity tests routinely boast impressive rates for establishing paternity within 99.9999% accuracy. If not enough genetic markers are a match, then the two people couldn't be related as they don’t share any of the same DNA.
Information Vs. Legally Binding Paternity Tests
Information paternity tests, or those done for curiosity's sake, are far less expensive than legally binding paternity tests. It's important to note that a cheap paternity test, while useful for peace of mind and personal knowledge, will not be admissible in a court of law without following what is known as the Chain of Custody.
A Chain of Custody is a set of procedures that must be followed in order to satisfy the legal requirements set forth by the judicial system. An impartial third party must be present in order to collect samples for legally binding paternity tests, which in turn, increases the overall cost but is worth the extra fees in order to use the results for instances such as child custody. Your attorney should have additional information about the Chain of Custody and what will be required in court.