How Accurate Are Home DNA Paternity Tests? | DDC (2024)

How Accurate Are Home DNA Paternity Tests? | DDC (1)

One of the biggest concerns customers may have when considering whether or not to purchase a home paternity test is if results will be accurate. It’s an understandable worry, since results often result in long-term consequences and can even help decide the very future of a family. Here is a brief overview, along with common questions we get about accuracy.

Call us for a FREE confidential consultation at 800.929.0847. We’re here to help.

Are Home Paternity Tests Accurate?

If you use an accredited lab, you can be confident your home paternity test results are accurate for the samples provided to the laboratory. For at-home testing, the lab relies on test participants to make sure samples being analyzed by the lab belong to the correct people.

Is an At-Home Test Just as Accurate as a Legal One?

Once samples are at the laboratory, the process, technology, analysis, and safeguards in place to ensure accuracy are exactly the same for home paternity tests as they are for legal paternity tests with legal court-admissible results.

How Can Home Paternity Tests be Accurate if the Highest Probability of Paternity is only 99.99%?

Accuracy of DNA testing refers to the quality of the testing procedures used by the laboratory only (free from mistakes). It does not mean a guarantee of any given response on paternity results.

Because we all share so much of the same DNA with each other just by virtue of being human beings with similar genomes, paternity results must be given as a statistical probability of paternity. Since it’s not possible to test every man in the world with the same ethnic background as the tested man, the probability of paternity percentage can never be 100%. A 99% or higher percentage of probability is considered conclusive.

In summary:

Inpaternity testing, according to the genetic systems analyzed, the calculation of the probability of paternity results is generally 99.99% or higher for an inclusion. This is based on the accuracy of our genetic testing, sample handling, and reporting procedures, which involve utilizing complex computer systems and accurate data to generate the Combined Relationship Index and Probability of Paternity. If a man is determined not to be the biological father, then a 0% probability of paternity would be 100% accurate for a chain-of-custody test.

Call us for a FREE confidential consultation at 800.929.0847. We’re here to help.

Mathematical Details

Why a Home Paternity TestCan Never Result in a 100% Probability of Paternity

The probability of paternity is a result of using Bayes’ Theorem. This theorem is based on the prior probability. In a paternity test, we assume in most cases, that the prior probability that the alleged father is the biological father of the child is 50%. That means the calculations are not based on accusations (‘He said’ vs. ‘She said’). This is a standard prior probability to use in the paternity DNA testing industry because we, as a laboratory, have no prior information regarding the case. Therefore both paternity and non-paternity must have equal weight.

The probability statement in a paternity test is calculated based on the Combined Parentage Index (CPI), which is a likelihood ratio that measures the likelihood that the shared alleles (or markers) between the child and the tested man occur because he is the biological father, vs. if a random untested man were the biological father. It is a measure of the strength of the genetic evidence presented on the report.

This CPI in a paternity test is then used to calculate the probability that this man is the actual father of the child by using Bayes’ Theorem, which, as stated above, assumes a prior probability of 50%.

The equation shortens to CPI / (CPI + 1).

Because the denominator is always larger than the numerator, the Probability of Paternity on a paternity test can never reach 100%.

LEARN MORE ABOUT UNDERSTANDING TEST RESULTS >

Phew—Deep Breath!

When you start getting into the weeds of how paternity-testing results are calculated, the science and math get a little complicated. Since most of us aren’t geneticists, it can seem daunting. But here’s the bottom line: “Are home paternity tests accurate?” Yes! You can expect to see the exact same results for a home paternity test as you would for a legal, court-admissible test if all DNA samples submitted are from the exact same people.

Call us at 800-929-0847: We’re here to help.

Do you have questions about this topic? Ask in the comments and we’ll answer.
31 Comments
  1. How Accurate Are Home DNA Paternity Tests? | DDC (2)

    Kaylaon January 29, 2019 at 5:46 pm

    Is the DNA kits you get are they 100% accurate????

    Reply

    • How Accurate Are Home DNA Paternity Tests? | DDC (3)

      DDCon January 30, 2019 at 11:20 am

      Hi, Kayla. Whether you do an at-home test or a legal test with results that are accepted by courts, the testing process once DNA samples arrive at the lab is exactly the same. I can’t speak for other labs or companies, but you can be sure that reports issued through highly-accredited DDC are 100% accurate for the samples we are provided.

      Reply

      • How Accurate Are Home DNA Paternity Tests? | DDC (4)

        Kaylaon September 18, 2020 at 10:11 pm

        Ok

        Reply

  2. How Accurate Are Home DNA Paternity Tests? | DDC (5)

    Ashleyon February 4, 2019 at 12:13 am

    What if a father secretly takes the child and gets a DNA test from Walgreens does it with the child and possibly the step mother since the child says both daddy and the step mom had one in their mouths along with stabbing the child’s and sends it in, with out getting the biological mothers DNA .instead possibly using the step moms DNA will it still come back to the father or will the step moms DNA mess up the test to show the child belongs to the father.

    Reply

    • How Accurate Are Home DNA Paternity Tests? | DDC (6)

      DDCon February 4, 2019 at 10:17 am

      Hi, Ashley. The lab would detect if there were two separate DNA profiles on the same swab or any other type of issue (step-mother trying to pass herself off as the other, for example). Testing in this case is suspended until new samples are obtained.

      Reply

    • How Accurate Are Home DNA Paternity Tests? | DDC (8)

      DDCon June 1, 2020 at 10:01 am

      Hi, Lashay. If you used the postage-paid envelope included in the kit, it can take the postal service up to 10 business days to deliver the envelope to our lab. Once samples arrive and testing begins, you’ll start getting update emails.

      Reply

  3. How Accurate Are Home DNA Paternity Tests? | DDC (9)

    susanon June 24, 2020 at 7:55 pm

    My brother passed away 15 years ago my mother and father are also both deceased there is question about a young lady who is 25 that could possibly be my brother’s daughter is there a way we could do a DNA test to determine if I could be her Aunt.

    Reply

    • How Accurate Are Home DNA Paternity Tests? | DDC (10)

      DDCon June 25, 2020 at 9:36 am

      Hi, Susan. Yes, you can, but it would be even better if she could test with a known child of your brother’s, if such a child exists. You’re welcome to contact our experts for a consultation to see which options might be best for your situation: 800-681-7162 (M-F, 8 am to 8 pm Eastern).

      Reply

  4. How Accurate Are Home DNA Paternity Tests? | DDC (11)

    Micahon June 24, 2020 at 9:10 pm

    I had sex with my partner on the fifth multiple times For two weeks for two weeks before him I had sex with someone one time on the third Who is more likely to be the father do I need to do a DNA test

    Reply

    • How Accurate Are Home DNA Paternity Tests? | DDC (12)

      DDCon June 25, 2020 at 8:30 am

      Hi, Micah. When there multiple partners are involved within a close time period, trying to guess who is more likely to be the father is just that: a guess. It would be a good idea to do a DNA test either before or after the baby is born. Call us for help at 800-681-7162 (M-F, 8 am to 8 pm Eastern).

      Reply

  5. How Accurate Are Home DNA Paternity Tests? | DDC (13)

    Tristianon October 16, 2020 at 11:38 am

    Hi, there is a chance that either me or my brother is the father. In a case like this do you need a sample from each potential dad?

    Also how accurate will the test be if the father isn’t me but my brother? Is there a chance that my test will say I’m likely the father even though he is because we share the same genes, the same mom and dad?

    Reply

    • How Accurate Are Home DNA Paternity Tests? | DDC (14)

      DDCon October 19, 2020 at 10:36 am

      Hi, Tristian. Yes, it’s ideal if both brothers can test. Whether one of you tests or both of you, it’s absolutely essential to let the lab know that both possible fathers are brothers. It’s also best if the mother of the child also contributes her DNA.

      Reply

  6. How Accurate Are Home DNA Paternity Tests? | DDC (15)

    Maryon December 9, 2020 at 1:31 am

    What if the brothers are twins, then what.

    Reply

    • How Accurate Are Home DNA Paternity Tests? | DDC (16)

      DDCon December 9, 2020 at 8:29 am

      Hi, Mary. If the brothers are identical twins, then paternity testing is not an option. If they are fraternal twins, then they share the same amount of DNA as regular brothers (about 50%). Ideally, both brothers would test along with the mother of the child. If only one can test, then the mother should still participate and the lab needs to be told ahead of time that the other possible father is the brother of the man being tested. This way, the lab can take that information into account when performing their analysis.

      Reply

  7. How Accurate Are Home DNA Paternity Tests? | DDC (17)

    Luon January 9, 2021 at 5:34 pm

    My husband wants to know if someone is his sister. There aren’t any other living relatives to test. Would this kit show if they are siblings or not?

    Reply

    • How Accurate Are Home DNA Paternity Tests? | DDC (18)

      DDCon January 11, 2021 at 9:25 am

      Hi, Lu. Your husband and the other party would need to do a sibling test. You can learn more about it here: https://dnacenter.com/relationship-testing/sibling/
      I also suggest that he contact our experts for a free confidential consultation to determine which type of sibling test he might need: 800-929-0847

      Reply

  8. How Accurate Are Home DNA Paternity Tests? | DDC (19)

    Deniseon January 21, 2021 at 8:04 pm

    My friend is struggling with custody over his daughter who is 2 now. He was at the birth and the birth mother told a relative she’d not allow him to sign the birth certificate for some who knows what reason as they were together; the baby looks exactly like him!

    Would an at home test be submissible in court?

    Time is of the essence also as she’s trying to leave the state with the babygirl as she’s warrants.

    Reply

    • How Accurate Are Home DNA Paternity Tests? | DDC (20)

      DDCon January 22, 2021 at 10:19 am

      Hi, Denise. No, your friend needs a legal paternity test with chain-of-custody process and witnessed DNA collection. That is the only type accepted by courts. He may have waited too long at this point since the child is already 2 and many states have two-year deadlines for paternity petition. I suggest he contact a family-law attorney in his area right away.

      Reply

  9. How Accurate Are Home DNA Paternity Tests? | DDC (21)

    Ashleyon January 22, 2021 at 2:54 am

    Does ddc do the testing for the STK dna paternity test off Amazon? Can I trust the results are accurate?

    Reply

    • How Accurate Are Home DNA Paternity Tests? | DDC (22)

      DDCon January 22, 2021 at 10:08 am

      Hi, Ashley. Yes, we perform the testing for STK and you can trust the results are accurate.

      Reply

  10. How Accurate Are Home DNA Paternity Tests? | DDC (23)

    Nicoleon January 22, 2021 at 10:39 pm

    How many genetic markers do you guys test?

    Reply

    • How Accurate Are Home DNA Paternity Tests? | DDC (24)

      DDCon January 25, 2021 at 9:22 am

      Hi, Nicole. We test 20 + the sex gene.

      Reply

  11. How Accurate Are Home DNA Paternity Tests? | DDC (25)

    Charleson February 10, 2021 at 8:10 pm

    We sent the test off it came back 0 percent possibility, but the young man had just smoked before taking the test. can that intefere with results

    Reply

    • How Accurate Are Home DNA Paternity Tests? | DDC (26)

      DDCon February 11, 2021 at 8:59 am

      Hi, Charles. Smoking before swabbing doesn’t change the DNA data…the only thing it might do is contaminate the swab, making DNA extraction impossible. Since results were issued, the smoking wasn’t a problem.

      Reply

  12. How Accurate Are Home DNA Paternity Tests? | DDC (27)

    Shaeon February 16, 2021 at 4:33 pm

    Hi, my fiance and I have suspicions that his baby mama cheated on him while he was in jail and that the baby is not his. She is now 3 years old and we would like to do a home test, just of the father and his little girl. Do we need the mother’s dna to do the test?

    Reply

    • How Accurate Are Home DNA Paternity Tests? | DDC (28)

      DDCon February 17, 2021 at 8:55 am

      Hi, Shae. It is the responsibility of test participants to ensure legal parents have provided permission for a minor child to be tested. Although the mother’s DNA is probably not required to obtain conclusive results, she should give permission for the child to be tested if your fiance is not a legal parent.

      Reply

  13. How Accurate Are Home DNA Paternity Tests? | DDC (29)

    Queon May 6, 2021 at 1:48 am

    We took this test at home swabbed the baby mouth then the father but the baby had a lot of saliva on the q tips and had just ate would this effect the results? We received the results just wondering if this is possible

    Reply

    • How Accurate Are Home DNA Paternity Tests? | DDC (30)

      DDCon May 6, 2021 at 7:50 am

      Hi, Que. Keep in mind that eating food before swabbing won’t change the DNA…it can only make DNA more difficult to extract. If you were issued results, then swab contamination wasn’t a problem.

      Reply

  14. How Accurate Are Home DNA Paternity Tests? | DDC (31)

    Keshiaon August 13, 2021 at 11:18 pm

    I have two kids. I done a paternity test with my youngest child but not the oldest child. I need to know if they have the same father. Do the father got to be swab too

    Reply

    • How Accurate Are Home DNA Paternity Tests? | DDC (32)

      DDCon August 16, 2021 at 10:58 am

      Hi, Keshia. Yes, if a significant time period has lapsed between tests, we request fresh samples from the possible father.

      Reply

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How Accurate Are Home DNA Paternity Tests? | DDC (2024)

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