Paternity DNA testing has never been easier than it is today. Laboratory testing procedures are highly accurate and quick. Moreover, taking DNA samples can easily be done using what are commonly called at-home kits which contain all the necessary for sample collection to be done in one’s own home following some basic steps.

DNA testing: what is inside the at-home kit?

The home DNA testing kit is simple to use. Each person involved in the test will be assigned an envelope; this envelope may be colour coded or number-coded. In the envelopes there are the buccal swabs (sometimes also called oral swabs or oral swabs). The kit will provide you with instructions, which are normally pretty easy to follow. Moreover, you will be given some forms to fill in which you are to provide some basic details.

How do I collect samples for my paternity DNA test using a home kit?

Most companies offering DNA testingservices have developed a special ‘home kit’ and this kit is usually sent out to you once you have settled your payment. Collecting DNA is nowadays so simple, as advances in the field of DNA testing mean that an oral mouth swabs can provide more than enough DNA to conclude your test. Rubbing a mouth swab in the mouth, under the tongue and on the cheeks inside collects saliva but more importantly cheek cells or what would medically be called epithelial cells. Once you have collected your samples, you must leave them to dry for a set time before placing them back into the envelope they came in.

Blood vs. saliva DNA samples

A blood DNA sample is an obsolete DNA sample to use unless it is an infidelity test and you wish to use a discreet sample. Criminal investigations of course, still rely on blood samples found at the crime scene. However, the standard for DNA tests is saliva because it is easy to sample and more importantly painless.  A saliva sample will give results which are just as accurate as a sample taken using blood. It is very unlikely that any DNA testing company will ask for a blood sample when it is possible to use a saliva sample.

In cases of people who have had blood transfusions or bone marrow transplants, using a blood sample would be useless anyway as there may be traces of the donor’s DNA.

Some advice which is commonly given for sample collection

As mentioned, the paternity test requires that swabs are left to dry before placing them back into the envelope. This is done to avoid any fungal spores germinating and degrading the DNA sample.

You will also need to make sure not to smoke, drink or eat for at least one hour prior to being tested. Any babies that need to be tested cannot be fed for around one hour before testing and their mouth should be cleaned with warm water.

It is very important to avoid touching the cotton-ended part of the mouth swabs and to avoid swabs from different people coming into contact to each other.

With saliva samples, there very rarely are complications and the success rate is extremely high. Following these simple steps with your ‘at-home DNA kit’ will ensure your paternity DNA test is concluded and that laboratories encounter no difficulties such as contaminated samples or heavily degraded samples.