Why Isn’t There a Paternity Test That Provides Instant Results?

While it is possible to detect pregnancies almost immediately using in store pregnancy tests that detect specific proteins associated with pregnancy, DNA paternity testing is more complicated. Scientists are learning more about the relatively new science of DNA every day, but as of now, there is no “instant result” paternity test. Here are some of the reasons:

DNA Testing Takes Longer

DNA testing is accomplished by the isolation of DNA from a sample. Next the DNA is amplified using a process known as PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) and the amplified DNA is put through a genetic analyzer. The data is then reviewed and the decision made regarding paternity. The minimum amount of time for this process is about 8 hours. Most laboratories that perform paternity testing batch samples to maximize efficiency resulting in a turn around time of about 2 days. Years ago using different DNA technology, the average turn around time was about 7 to 10 day. Great progress has been made in DNA testing. There are even instruments that can reduce the turn around time to about 2 hours, but are currently much more expensive than the standard PCR test.

Comparing the DNA of Two or More People

Tests that provide immediate answers, like a pregnancy test, are those that test for one biological characteristic of one individual. The very nature of a paternity test is the comparison of the DNA between two or more individuals, and that comparison is very technical and requires trained human oversight. The PhD scientists that oversee each set of paternity results, as prescribed by the AABB (the organization that oversees human relationship testing), must be trained and approved to review DNA test results.

DNA Testing Controls

Occasionally there is an insufficient amount of DNA collected on a buccal swab for analysis. When this occurs, there is no data obtained from testing and a new sample is required to complete the testing. There are a number of controls build into the DNA test that ensure accurate, reliable results. First, a control sample is tested with each batch of samples. The results are known for the control sample. The control sample needs to generate the appropriate result in order for the test to proceed. There are also DNA markers included in each test to ensure accurate allele (alternate form of a gene) determination. A gender marker is also included in all testing as a control. The use of these controls ensures accurate and reliable results and a legally admissible test if chain of custody collection procedures are followed.

Legal Reasons

Did you know that DDC’s paternity tests can be legally admissible in court to prove biological fatherhood? When this this is the case, a trained third-party technician who can accurately follow chain of custody procedures must procure the DNA. This is a necessary process when it comes to obtaining custody, social security, and child support and needs to be left to the professionals. These results of your test must be reviewed before the answer is determined to ensure accuracy, which can take days.

What’s In Store

Current methodologies for DNA paternity testing is not instant, and likely won’t be in near the future. However, as of now, DDC can turn around 100% accurate results within two business days, and has expediting options as well, should you want your results sooner. Logging in to your account on MyDNATest.com and finding out your results can also make the process go more quickly. Getting the right answer is more important than getting the instant answer.

While we learn more about DNA and discover new, faster ways of determining paternity, you can count on the most accurate results from DDC. If you still have questions about DNA paternity testing, visit the MyDNATest FAQ page or Store Locator page to find a store near you to purchase a DNA test kit. The process is simple and fast, with results available online.