Frequently Asked Questions about DNA Paternity and Relationship testing

How do I perform the test?

  • What is paternity testing? +

    A paternity test is conducted to prove paternity, that is, whether a man is the biological father of a child.This may be relevant in view of rights and duties of the father.DNA testing is accepted worldwide as the most accurate method of determining paternity. In Australia it is believed that at least 1 in 5 men who are uncertain about the paternity of their children will have their uncertainty confirmed by paternity DNA testing.
  • Can maternity testing be done? +

    Maternity testing can also be carried out.This is less common, because at least during childbirth, except in the case of a pregnancy involving embryo transfer or egg donation, the mother’s identity is clearly evident. Some women who have used IVF wish to check that their own eggs or their partner’s sperm are contained in their child’s DNA and there has not been a laboratory mix up of gametes.
  • For testing, who provides a sample? +

    For paternity or maternity testing, a sample is required from the alleged father, mother and child or children. For peace of mind testing, the mother’s DNA is not usually required.
  • Can testing be arranged throughout Australia? +

    For peace of mind (non-legal cases), DNAQ can send a collection kit to your home for the DNA collection. DNA is collected by swabbing the inside of the mouth and is not painful or difficult to do. DNA swab collection kits are sent individually to the alleged father and child. For Legal testing, DNAQ can arrange sample collection from all areas within Australia and overseas. Brisbane based clients can use our collection services in our Brisbane CBD office. Australia wide collection can be collected at a pathology centre or your local GP. Overseas collections can be facilitated upon request. Immigration case collections are facilitated through the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.
  • What is tested? +

    DNA testing is done on specific areas on the DNA chain where there are repeated sequences that are individual to each person; these are called ‘short tandem repeats’. A child inherits half its DNA from each parent. Every repeat that is found in the child’s DNA must be found in the alleged mother’s and father’s sample – if not, then it can be determined which parent’s DNA matches or does not match. This is proof of parentage to a minimum certainty of 99.9999%, and proof of non-parentage as 100%. Short tandem repeat testing is highly accurate with the chance of mis-identification being one in several billion.
  • Why is testing done? +

    There are many reasons why a paternity test is requested. Divorce, child custody,and child financial support are the most common reasons for testing. One of the primary benefits of DNA testing outside of the criminal justice field is to for women who are seeking financial support for their children. In cases where a man denies that he is the biological father, DNA paternity testing can confirm or exclude a biological relationship and the Family Court determines whether or not a man is legally responsible for child support payments . Men who are seeking custody or visitation rights may avail themselves of the benefits of DNA testing. Again, a DNA paternity test provides crucial confirmation of the existence of a biological relationship between father and child. This confirmation is necessary before awarding custody or visitation rights. Some men merely need to gain peace of mind regarding their relationship to a child. One of the benefits of DNA testing is being able to conclusively establish or exclude a relationship. Adopted children may someday wish to find their biological parents. DNA testing will allow them to confirm the biological relationship between themselves and their possible biological heritage.
  • What type of sample is needed for the testing? +

    DNA is extracted from cells collected from the inside of the mouth. The mouth swab collection is simple and painless. DNA QLD will mail a collection  kit which contains sterile swab, FTA DNA preservation card, collection information, and an prepaid postage return envelope.

    The sample for legal testing is collected in the same way. However, with legal testing the collection is required to be undertaken by a person authorized by DNA QLD. This could be a doctor or an authorized pathology collector. At the time of collection the identity of the individuals to be tested will need to be verified. Official identity documentation (such a driver’s license or passport) and 2 passport size photos of all the individuals will be required for the verification. Under the Family Law act a FORM 2 (Affidavit) must be completed on the day of collection and taken to the collection appointment with proof of ID. The authorised collector collects the mouth swabs and the swabs are security coded in tamper proof containers and submitted to the laboratory.

    Paternity can also be tested on prenatal samples. Choroinic Villus (CVS) samples can be collected between 11 and 13 weeks of pregnancy. Amniocentesis samples can be collected between 16 and 18 weeks of pregnancy and later at some Maternal Fetal Ultrasound units. As with any invasive testing, there is always a risk of miscarrying a pregnancy. Please discuss this with your doctor or DNA QLD. DNA QLD can provide details of Maternal Fetal Ultrasound clinics able to collect paternity samples.

    DNA QLD does not process hair samples, toothbrushes or nail clippings as these samples can be contaminated with another person’s DNA and give an incorrect result. There is no point in testing if the result is inaccurate or inconclusive.

  • How long before the results are available? +

    Once ALL the samples have been received at the laboratory, the results will be available in 5 to 10 working days*. DNA QLD aims to have your results back to you as soon as possible. For 95% of our clients, this is less than 5 days. Express options are available for an additional cost. Please call DNAQ to arrange. * In some cases the turn-around-time may be delayed due to incorrect paperwork completed by the client, or the sample being collected incorrectly. If not enough DNA is collected, the sample will need to be re-processed and this can delay the results up to 10 working days. Power failure, equipment failure, or natural disaster may also delay testing. In such instances DNAQ will aim to notify you of the delay to you results.
  • How do I get my results? +

    All test results will be sent by Australia Post to the mother and alleged father. Your results are confidential and no results or information will be given to anyone other than yourself. Results may be sent to your lawyer upon request and to the Department of Immigration if your test is for Immigration purposes.

    Results are printed on official DNAQ report forms. Our reporting scientists are accredited by the Family Law Court of Australia to sign these reports. Only original copies are accepted as official reports. Results will not be given over the phone. Fax results can only be sent if a written request via Fax has been sent by your legal representative. Email copies may be sent if authorized at the time of sample collection.

  • How do I arrange testing? +

    You can order the test online or download the application form here. You can also call us on 07 3340 0238 to do your application over the phone. You will need the details of all persons involved in testing and your preferred method of payment ready to complete your application.    
  • Why is paternity testing cheaper at some laboratories? +

    DNAQ uses the latest DNA technology to provide results with 99.9999% accuracy that is fully admissible under the Family Law Courts of Australia. Companies offering less expensive testing on internet sites have no accreditation for that test and may be located overseas. DNA technology is expensive and basically it is a case of ‘buyer beware’ with cheap overseas companies. DNAQ proof of parentage is accurate to 99.9999%. If testing was advertised with 99.99% proof of parentage, this would be 100 times less accurate than DNAQ testing. Many of these companies are not based or do not have their laboratories in Australia, and therefore the testing is not being done under the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) regulations for the Australian Family Law Courts.
  • Questions to ask companies advertising paternity testing +

    • Does the company act as a broker or do they have their own laboratory? DNA QLD is a Queensland owned and based testing laboratory and samples are processed in Brisbane and not overseas
    •  Are they NATA accredited? DNA QLD is accredited by NATA which is the highest standard of accreditation offered in Australia
    • Do they analyse their samples with a sequencer or do they run a gel? DNA analyses samples using a capillary sequencer, not the cheaper and unreliable gel systems. DNA QLD processes the legal and non-legal samples through the same technology.
    • Do they use internationally reproducible and recognised paternity kits or do they make‘in house’ kits which have no reproducibility? DNA QLD uses commercially validated kits used by the top forensic facilities in the world for all our samples
    • Are you able to speak to the scientist handling your case or just a call centre operator? yes, we have a scientist to discuss your case in office hours and an on call scientist for after hour inquiries.
    •  Is the company able to offer a referral to a counsellor? DNA QLD has an in- house counsellor and can offer a referral to a Clinical Psychologist
  • Can I get a rebate/discount/refund on the testing cost? +

    Unfortunately this is not possible as there is no Medicare rebate applicable to paternity testing. No concessions are available for Health cards, Gold cards or Pensioners as DNA QLD is a privately operated clinic. Legal Aid offices in each State may be able to assist some clients with the payment. A link to Queensland Legal Aid is in the Links section. DNAQ  reserves the right to refund up to 25% percent of the purchase cost for any cancelled parentage test cancelled within three months of the purchase date. If the test is cancelled for ANY reason after 3 months no refunds will be processed.
  • Can test results be added to Wills? +

    Some clients have nominated a DNA test to record their genotype as part of their Will and Testament. This measure can prevent individuals not related to a deceased person making claims on an estate.
  • Why would I consider testing if I am traveling overseas or if I am in a hazardous occupation? +

    Why would I consider testing if I am traveling overseas or if I am in a hazardous occupation? Clearly, travel to some areas of the world today is hazardous. In particular young travelers to remote areas and those employed in politically may wish to consider DNA profiling before travelling. In the event of an accident determination if an individual was or was not involved in an incident is easier when the DNA profile has been recorded in Australia. We profile to the International Standard ISO 17025 which is the same standard used by Forensic Laboratories worldwide. In the event of an emergency your profile can be sent to any laboratory for verification. DNA profiling in real life is not like the American CSI like shows. In fact, finding an old toothbrush or strands of hair in a hairbrush are unreliable methods of matching DNA, as the samples may be degraded or contaminated. Dental records are often hard to obtain and not as reliable as a DNA profile. Having a record of your unique profile can lessen the stress on relatives if identification is required. This testing is for an identification profile and does not test for predisposition to any genetic diseases. DNA samples are destroyed after testing.

    DNA QLD provides DNA genotyping for individuals in hazardous occupations. These include : military service overseas, security services in Afghanistan and Iraq; NGO workers, oil rig employees and travellers to remote areas. Clearly, genotyping can help to identify a body as seen after the tsunamis and other natural disasters. However, knowing a profile can identify that a family member was not at a disaster location or involved in an accident.

    DNA QLD is also able to offer genotyping for parents who are concerned about their child’s safety and identification if there is a possibility of abduction or the child becoming missing. DNA QLD used the same identification kit as Forensic facilities in Australia and overseas.

  • Does the laboratory have quality controls? +

    DNA QLD laboratory is accredited to the highest standard by NATA and ILAC. DNA QLD’s ISO 17025 rating is an internationally recognized standard of quality. DNA QLD also participates in proficiency testing through the College of American Pathologists. This ensures that DNA QLD complies with testing standards standard with the top testing laboratories worldwide.
  • Who recommends DNA QLD? +

    DNA QLD is the nominated testing facility for Australian Clinical Laboratories throughout Australia and Asia. DNA QLD is also a provider for QML and numerous Legal firms and Child Support Agencies Australia wide. DNA QLD also assists Legal Aid agencies in Victoria and clients referred from Legal Aid Queensland.
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