Find the Best Paternity DNA Test for Your Needs

Get the answers you need for peace of mind and better security for your future—and your children’s.
Compare the best paternity test options on the market to make your choice.

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What is a DNA Paternity Test and What are the Best Options?

A paternity test is a way to determine a child’s the biological father, by examining the DNA taken from the child and the suspected father. Typically this involves a small swab of saliva from the inside of the cheek, from which DNA can be extracted and examined.

 

DNA paternity tests are quick and accurate and the chances of a false positive are astronomically low, with the odds of two non-related people having identical DNA profiles standing at less than one in a billion. DNA is our body’s unique “fingerprint,” which no one else (except an identical twin) shares. Parents pass some of their DNA down to their children, who receive 50% of their DNA from each parent. By examining the DNA of a child, mother, and suspected father, testing can prove paternity with 99.9% accuracy.

 

Today the market offers all types of options for DNA tests which can be performed quickly and painlessly at home for a nominal cost. These tests can provide the answers parents are looking for, bring closure, or open up a whole new beginning.

How Does It Work?

DNA testing is largely known these days from the world of television police dramas, where a positive DNA match cracks a case wide open. In recent years DNA testing has become the most accurate way to define paternity for parents – and children - who are looking for answers.

 

The DNA from any two people is 99.9% identical, but it’s the remaining .1% that makes all the difference. These genetic markers can’t be faked and can prove paternity better than any method that came before.

 

When performing a paternity test, the key is to find similarities between the two DNA samples. Technicians start by separating the DNA from the cells and making copies which can then be analyzed closely to find common threads.

Who’s It For?

Sometimes life isn’t as easy as we want it to be. Questions about paternity can start even during pregnancy and can cast a dark cloud over one of the most emotionally and physically difficult times in a woman’s life. After a baby is born, uncertainty about paternity can be a serious emotional burden for mother and child, and by finding answers, both parents can finally begin the process of doing what’s right for their child.

 

A paternity test – when admissible in court – can also establish the paternity of the child in a legally-binding manner. This can make all the difference for a mother trying to secure child support and/or custody, or for a male custodian trying to get out from under the financial and emotional responsibilities of another man. It can also be crucial in immigration law, where a test can prove whether or not a child should be awarded citizenship through their parent. Typically such tests are more involved than simple home paternity tests and involve the presence of a neutral 3rd party who collects the samples and processes them.

 

Paternity can also help parents determine where the child will receive legal and social benefits from, and can also provide insight into the medical history of the child’s father. Knowing the father’s medical history can help shed light on what medical problems the child could potentially face down the road and for parents, this can help prepare for a healthier and safer future.

 

For mothers who are unmarried, some states require a paternity test so as to register the father of the child.

 

DNA testing can be carried out prenatally, and immediately after birth at the hospital. For our purposes though, we’ll look at home paternity tests and what the market offers.

How to Choose the Best Paternity test?

What to Look For:

  1. Accuracy

  2. Confidentiality

  3. Easy-to-use

  4. Easy-to-understand

  5. Speed

When shopping around for a paternity test, first focus on accuracy. Most top paternity test companies promise 99.9% accuracy, but you should also look for official certification from a body like the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB), which would confirm that the testing is carried out at a certified, professional facility. In addition, make sure that the company guarantees your confidentiality.

 

Such certification can be important if the test will be used for a legal proceeding, such as one involving custody or child support. If you need a test that is admissible in court, make sure that the test you order fits the bill.

 

In addition to being admissible in court, some paternity tests offer the option of being able to split up the kit and send the swabs to different locations, in the event the parents live in different cities. Some also offer animal DNA testing services, which can be utilized by breeders and kennel owners who need to check the progeny of their animals and by owners who want to get an idea of the medical issues that may arise in the future. These tests can also be used to determine if it’s your neighbor’s dog that’s been leaving a little present in your lawn when you’re at work.

 

You’ll also want a test that is simple to take and which doesn’t leave anything to the imagination when it comes to the results. A paternity test can be a life-changing experience and you want one that will be easy to handle on your own. In addition, once you finish taking the test, you’ll probably be eager to get the answer, so find a company that can assure delivery of the results within 5 days or less.

 

Finally, reliable customer service can help you figure out how to take the test if you have any issues, and also how to troubleshoot any problems that could come with the shipment or results.

 

Main Advantages for the User

What can you expect from your DNA paternity test? Almost all DNA paternity tests promise 99.9% accuracy, a greater burden of proof than any other means of proving paternity that you could find. With a paternity test in hand you have evidence that can finally give you answers and which can often be admissible in court, allowing you to help ensure your child has a second parent providing for them.

 

Genetic testing can also predict future health problems down the road, allowing parents to plan ahead, potentially helping ensure better treatment for their children.

To help you navigate the process, here's a look at our top 4 products:

1. MyHeritage

 

Price

$79 $59/test + shipping (paternity testing may require 2 kits)

DNA Source

Cheek swab

Time to Results

3-4 weeks

Results

Online, any device, in print

 

MyHeritage has built up a database of 7 billion historical documents, 300 million photographs, 34 million family trees and 2.1 billion family names, all since its founding in 2003. The site has become a standard bearer of sorts in the genealogy research field, and has helped millions of customers not only track the history of their ancestors through their DNA, but also through public records, newspapers, censuses, boat manifestos, and more.

While MyHeritage doesn’t offer a direct paternity test like some other options listed below, it is easy for users to gain definitive paternity answers through the use of MyHeritage DNA tests. After a user has sent in a test for a DNA analysis, the company can tell them if it matches another user’s DNA test that was sent in with consent given for comparison. Paying for two tests can make this option more expensive than some of the direct paternity tests on the market, and it can take significantly longer – between 3-4 weeks. Nonetheless, it’s an effective way to get an answer about paternity, and also to get acquainted with one of the best genealogy resources on the market today.

2. Who'zTheDaddy?   

 

Price

$119 and up for paternity test

$299 for court-admissible test

$1195 for prenatal paternity tests

DNA Source

Cheek swab

Time to Results

Within 4 days

Results

Online

 

Don’t let the name fool you – Who’zTheDaddy? is serious when it comes to paternity testing. The company promises results within 4 days and over 99% accuracy on testing that checks 21 parameters. The test kits come with swabs for up to 3 people, as well as consent forms, detailed instructions, and a pre-addressed envelope.

Who’zTheDaddy? offers court admissible results which can also be ready and emailed in 4 working days, though these tests cost considerably more – starting at around $299 as opposed to around $119 dollars for the non-court admissible “peace of mind” home paternity test.

3. homeDNAdirect​  

 

Price

$119 for paternity test

$299 for court-admissible test

$499 for court-admissible immigration test

DNA Source

Cheek swab

Time to Results

Within 4-5 business days

Results

Online

 

HomeDNA Direct offers a wide variety of paternity tests including ones admissible in immigration and family court. The company’s home paternity test costs $119 and tests 21 genetic markers with the results provided within a matter of days by email.

The company offers an immigration test which is recognized by the immigration and naturalization services of the United States and costs $499, as well as a version which can be used in court for custody issues, which costs $299.

The home paternity test is simple and easy-to-use and the company provides customer support options to help users work through any possible issues.

4. International Biosciences 

 

Price

$119 for paternity test

$299 for court-admissible test

$1195 for prenatal paternity test

DNA Source

Cheek swab

Time to Results

Within 3-5 business days

Results

Online

 

International Biosciences is a UK-based DNA testing company that provides 99.99% accurate paternity tests that are ready in 3 to 5 business days and check off 21 genetic markers. The tests are carried out at laboratories that meet strict accreditation requirements of the UK Ministry of Justice, and can be used for legal and immigration purposes.

The home paternity test costs $119, while if you’re looking for a test that can be used in a family law court, it will cost you $299, and a non-invasive prenatal paternity test will cost you $1,195.

The company also ensures confidentiality and provides a customer service help line and email.

Bottom Line

Establishing paternity can be a life-changing experience for both parents and children alike. It can provide a final, clear answer which is necessary to move forward and provide children and parents with the security they need both in the way of child support payments and establishing custody and immigration rights. Luckily, with home paternity tests it’s easier than ever before to get these answers.