Paternity For Life
Servicing World Wide - 1300 172 837 Australia



We understand that for many clients this will be the first time they have undertaken DNA testing. Below are some of our most Frequently Asked Questions. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding testing, or wish to know more.

  • Q How do I perform the test? +


    For the majority of our DNA tests, all that is required for testing is a sample collected using a mouth swab. The collection process is simple and painless, and our kits will contain everything you need to collect your sample. The swab is rubbed on the inside of the cheek, to collect cheek cells that contain DNA. The swab is then pressed onto a special preservation card, known as an FTA card, that stores the sample for transport. The FTA card is then sent back to our laboratory for testing.

  • Q 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.

  • Q What is maternity testing? +


    Yes, maternity DNA testing can also be carried out between a mother and child. Couples who have undergone IVF may wish to undergo testing for peace of mind.

  • Q What is the difference between a Non-Legal (Peace of Mind) test and a Legal test? +


    DNAQ processes all samples in our laboratory using the most stringent DNA kit available on the commercial market which provides results in excess of 99.99% for father and child testing and 99.9999% when the mother’s DNA is also tested.  The difference between the two tests is how the samples are collected.

    During the sample collection process for a Legal Paternity Test, a Chain of Custody is established to verify the identity of the person the sample was collected from and ensure that the samples have not been tampered with at any stage. The samples must also be collected by an independent third party. By establishing this Chain of Custody, the DNA sample is documented and accounted for during the entire DNA testing process. The results from the legal paternity test will be legally admissible and can be used for a range of legal purposes.


    Non-Legal Paternity Tests (also known as a Home Paternity Test) are used for peace of mind or reassurance purposes. If you choose to take a non-legal paternity DNA test, while these results are still as accurate as a legal paternity test, the results from the non-legal test cannot be used for legal purposes or in a court of law. They have no legal validity as we cannot verify whom the sample was collected from. Participants do not need to provide any proof of identity or have the collection overseen and can collect the sample themselves at home. Although the sample will have their name on it, we cannot legally verify that the sample has been obtained from that person.

  • Q If I purchase a Non-Legal test, can it be upgraded to a Legal test once the samples are collected? +


    A non-legal paternity DNA test cannot be upgraded to a legal DNA test, because the samples collected for a non-legal paternity test are not collected using the Chain of Custody procedures required for the results to be legally valid. If you require a Legal DNA Test, all samples will need to be recollected using our Legal Chain of Custody sample procedures.

    If you think the results may be needed for a legal purpose in the future, such as child support or custody disputes, changes to a birth certificate or a will or estate dispute, we strongly recommend you proceed with a Legal Paternity Test.

  • Q 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 Relationship DNA testing, we require a sample from all parties wishing to be tested.For peace of mind testing, the mother’s DNA is not usually required.

  • Q Why do you include a sample from the mother if it is a Paternity DNA test? +


    A DNA test determines whether or not a tested man could have passed on his DNA to the child. When the mother is included it is possible to identify which of the child’s DNA comes from her, leaving the paternal DNA to compare against the alleged father. DNA test reports usually include two values; the Combined Paternity Index (CPI) which provides an odds ratio of how much more likely it is that the tested man is the father rather than an untested man and the Probability of Paternity which reflects the probability that the tested hypothesis is correct. These values can be calculated with or without the inclusion of the mother’s sample but provides much greater certainty when the mother is tested.

  • Q Can testing be arranged throughout Australia? +


    For peace of mind (non-legal cases), DNAQ will post a collection kit to your home address. We can send kits Australia wide.

    For Legal testing, DNAQ can help arrange sample collection from Australia wide and overseas. Brisbane based clients can use our collection services in our Brisbane office. Australia wide collection can be facilitated at your local doctor or pathology centre. Immigration case collections are facilitated through the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

  • Q How soon after my baby is born can we do a DNA Test? +


    As we use a mouth swab to collect the DNA samples, a DNA test can be performed at any age and as soon as a baby is born.

  • Q Why is DNAQ cheaper? +


    We are a locally owned and operated laboratory in Brisbane, Australia. From the receipt of your order to the analysis of your samples and issuing of your results, the whole process is completed in-house by DNAQ. As we have control of all logistics and testing is performed onsite by our team of Scientists, we are able to offer our clients reasonable pricing for reliable results.

  • Q How long before the results are available? +


    Once ALL the samples have been received at the laboratory, the results will be available in 3 to 5 working days*. DNAQ 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 turnaround-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 your results.

  • Q Can I get a refund if I change my mind? +


    Please select carefully when choosing your test, as we do not offer refunds simply for change of mind. DNAQ reserves the right to withhold up to 50% percent of the purchase cost for any cancelled test, cancelled within three months of the purchase date. Refunds will not be processed for testing kits that have been sent out. Please see our Terms & Conditions for more information.

  • Q 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.

  • Q How do I get my results? +


    At the time of collection, there will be a consent form for each person being tested (or their legal guardian) to complete, which will allow us to release the results via email or post, depending on your preference.

    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.

  • Q How do I arrange testing? +


    You can order the test online or download the application form here. You can also call us on 1300 172 837 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. Please note there is no need to use false details as all client information is kept strictly confidential.

  • Q Are your testing kits discreet? +


    Yes, our DNA testing kits are sent out in unmarked mail satchels and do not contain any of our company logos or details.

  • Q 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.

    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.

  • Q 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 a prepaid postage return envelope. Read more about our non-legal collection process here.

    The sample for legal testing is collected in the same way. However, with legal testing the collection is required to be undertaken by a doctor or an 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. Read more about our legal collection process here.

    DNAQ always strongly recommends that when submitting a sample for testing, it is collected using our specialised mouth swab collection kit. However, we also understand that for all cases it may not be possible to collect samples via this method. Therefore, we are also able to provide our clients with the alternate option of submitting discreet or non-standard samples for testing, such as fingernail clippings or strands of plucked hair. Read more about non-standard sample testing and the types of sample we can accept here.

    Paternity can also be tested on prenatal samples. Chorionic 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.

  • Q Why is paternity testing cheaper at some laboratories? +


    DNAQ uses the latest DNA technology to provide results with >99.9999% accuracy and that are fully admissible under the Family Law Courts of Australia. Companies offering less expensive testing on internet sites may not have the same level of accreditation that DNAQ holds, they may be located overseas, or their testing may not be as accurate. For example, 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’s results.

    DNA technology is expensive and it is a case of ‘buyer beware’ with cheap overseas companies. 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.

  • Q How can I be sure that the DNA testing company I’m using is legitimate? +


    To ensure you are using a legitimate and reliable DNA testing provider, DNAQ recommends you ask the following questions to companies advertising paternity testing before proceeding.

    • Does the company act as a broker or do they have their own laboratory? DNAQ is a Queensland owned and based testing laboratory. All samples are processed in our laboratory in Herston. We do not outsource our testing to overseas laboratories.
    • Are they NATA accredited? DNAQ is accredited by NATA which is the highest standard of accreditation for DNA testing laboratories offered in Australia. Click here to see our accreditation on the Official NATA Website.
    • Do they analyse their samples with a sequencer or do they run a gel? DNAQ analyses samples using a capillary sequencer, not the cheaper and unreliable gel systems. DNAQ 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? DNAQ 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, our laboratory scientists are available during office hours to discuss the details of your case.
  • Q Can I get a rebate or discount on the cost of testing? +


    Unfortunately this is not possible as there is no Medicare rebate applicable to paternity testing. As DNAQ is a privately operated clinic, concessions are not available for Health Cards or Gold Card holders, 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 Useful Links section.

  • Q Can I get a refund if I change my mind? +


    DNAQ reserves the right to reserve up to 50% 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. Please refer to our Terms and Conditions for our full Refund Policy.

  • Q 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.

  • Q Does the laboratory have quality controls? +


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

  • Q What do you mean when you say you are an accredited laboratory? +


    NATA ISO 17025 accreditation is a certification of the technical competence of a laboratory. It involves the application of specific procedures and criteria by trained specialist assessors to evaluate the performance and ability of the laboratory to provide accurate data from precise testing procedures using properly calibrated instrumentation.

  • Q A possible mutation was observed in my child, do I need to be concerned? +


    Short tandem repeats (STRs), are short tandemly repeated DNA sequences that involve a repetitive unit of 1-6 base pairs. STRs are found throughout the human genome, accounting for about 3% of the entire genome [1]. Most STRs are found in the noncoding regions, while only about 8% locate in the coding regions [2]. 

    The short tandem repeats (STRs) used in our genetic analysis to determine parentage are in noncoding regions of the DNA. Noncoding DNA does not provide instructions for making proteins. 

    STRs are used for paternity testing as they are highly polymorphic (variable) amongst people and can be used to discriminate between unrelated individuals, however, have a higher mutation rate than other regions of DNA, such as the coding regions. In STRs, as with any genetic region, a change (or mutation) can occur in the DNA causing genetic variation. Changes (or mutations) in STRs in noncoding regions are not expected to cause disease. 

    When conducting parentage testing the child’s DNA is matched to the alleged parent as the child will inherit one allele from each biological parent. A direct match between the biological parent and child should be found at each locus tested. Where a direct match is not observed, the locus is assessed for a possible mutation. Inherited changes (mutations) from a true biological parent usually show an increase or decrease of one repeat unit. In this case an assumption of a probable mutation between the alleged father and child is made and used in the calculation of the probability of paternity. In such cases a comment will be made on the report regarding the assumption made of a probable mutation.  


    1. Fan, H. and J. Y. Chu (2007). “A brief review of short tandem repeat mutation.” Genomics Proteomics Bioinformatics 5(1): 7-14. 
    2. Ellegren, H. (2000). “Heterogeneous mutation processes in human microsatellite DNA sequences.” Nat Genet 24(4): 400-402. 


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