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DNA testing is a sensitive matter so please rest assured that we'll manage your case confidentially. Our information security protocols are accredited to ISO27001 standards.


When a mother, child and possible father are tested Cellmark's results will either show he is not the father or provide proof of paternity with a confidence level usually greater than 99.9999%.


Now you can experience the quality of Cellmark's DNA analyis and customer service support with the added convenience of being able to take your samples in the comfort of your own home.

What is DNA paternity testing?

DNA paternity testing is a complex scientific process, carried out on a simple mouth swab, which can positively identify relationships between people. Most commonly it is used to establish if a man is the true biological father of a child.

DNA paternity testing is also often referred to simply as a DNA test, a paternity test or DNA testing. The original techniques were developed by Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys at the University of Leicester in 1985. Using this technology Cellmark became the UK’s first private DNA paternity testing laboratory in 1987. Today the technology has evolved allowing us to provide quicker, cheaper relationship testing but still with the same high levels of certainty that only DNA testing can provide.

DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) is the body's genetic 'blueprint'. It is a long thread-like molecule which carries the "genetic code" that determines our individual characteristics. DNA is found in almost all of the billions of cells that make up our body. Every child inherits a unique mixture of DNA from its parents so, with the exception of geneticly identical twins, no two people in the world have exactly the same genetic code.

How does DNA testing work?

Using samples taken, simply and painlessly, with mouthswabs, it works by detecting certain parts, or 'markers' in the DNA molecule that are known to vary greatly between unrelated people. Our tests compare the DNA at a number (a minimum of 22) of these markers to determine if the samples you have provided come from related individuals.

DNA is extracted from each sample in our laboratory. The process is called Short Tandem Repeat (STR) profiling. STR profiling is a highly sensitive process that was originally developed for forensic analysis. DNA is extracted from the sample in our labs and a special enzyme is used to copy the genetic code at the relevant regions in the DNA. Your DNA profile will be shown in the test report as a string of numbers.

Your DNA profile will be shown in the test report as a series of numbers, which represent the size of the individual markers that have been tested.

A child inherits half of its DNA from each parent. Our scientists will compare the STR markers in the child’s profile with the alleged parent(s) to determine if they are related. When testing for paternity, a sample from the mother (as well as the child and alleged father) will always provide a more conclusive result, but even without a sample from the mother we expect to be able to provide a probability of paternity in excess of 99.99%.

How are my samples taken?

We will send you a sampling kit which contains everything you need to take samples from each individual who is going to be tested. The folder has a step by step guide on taking your sample, please familiarise yourself with this first.

For each person we need a Sample Declaration Form to be completed which ensures that we have permission (as required by the Human Tissue Act) to undertake the DNA analysis. Next write the name of the person to be sampled on the collection card.

Then simply take the mouthswab for the individual and rub it fairly firmly around the inside of the person's cheeks and gums - we've created a video to show you. You then transfer the sample to the collection card by pressing it onto the pink paper in the centre of the card for 5 seconds, then turn the swab over and press it again - in the same spot - for a further 5 seconds.

A small amount of the paper will turn white when you have done this which tells you it has been taken successfully. Then simply replace the collection card in the plastic bag. You can throw away the swab as it isn't required anymore.

How long does the test take?

If we receive your samples in our lab before 10am you will receive your test report, by email, the following day. [Very occasionally additional testing is required which will take a little longer].

That's not our rapid service - that's our standard service! We've introduced new technology and processed to provide you with the fastest standard (no premiums charged) service in the market today.

Is the test conclusive?

Yes it is.  Cellmark’s paternity results will either clearly show that the man tested is not the father, or, when a mother, child and alleged father are tested, will provide a probability of paternity greater than 99.9999%.

When testing for paternity, a sample from the mother (as well as the child and alleged father) will always provide a more conclusive result, but even without a sample from the mother we expect to be able to provide a probability of paternity in excess of 99.99%

We also undertake other forms of DNA relationship testing, for example, sibling, grandparentage and testing for immigration purposes - for further details on these please contact our customer service team on 0800 043 1987.

Is the service confidential?

Yes it is, under the requirements of UK Data Protection laws and our ISO27001 information security certification your customer information and the results will be kept confidential.

Everyone who gives a sample or has parental responsibility for the child being tested is entitled to request a copy of the results. We will not pass on results to any other third parties unless you specifically request us to do so. In order to further protect confidentiality we do not discuss results of tests over the telephone.

From what age can a child be tested?

The use of mouth swabs means that testing can be performed on a child of any age after birth. Some companies may offer pre-natal DNA testing but Cellmark agrees with the Human Genetics Commission's view that knowing the identity of the genetic father of the foetus could significantly influence the decision whether or not to proceed with a pregnancy and therefore Cellmark does not offer pre-natal DNA testing.

How can I pay for the test?

You can register your test - and pay by credit or debit card - using our online service, click this link to go there now - or, if you prefer, you can telephone our customer services team on 0800 043 1987, they will register your case and take your payment over the phone.

What about quality control?

Our quality management system has met ISO standards since 1990 and our laboratory procedures are accredited to ISO9001, ISO14001, ISO17025 and ISO27001 and are subject to external monitoring. In addition we also adhere to the Human Genetics Commission's "Common Framework of Principles on DNA testing".

Will my DNA sample be safe?

The samples are sent to our laboratories in specially designed tamper-evident packaging. Once testing is complete and you have received the results, your DNA sample is stored securely for 3 months after which time it is destroyed.

In paternity cases all relevant paperwork is held by Cellmark for a period of 1 year after testing is complete after which time it is destroyed in compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998.

As directed by Data Protection laws your information will not be passed onto anyone unless you have given us authorisation to do so. For further information please refer to our privacy policy, you can learn more about the Act by clicking on this link.

Online Payment

Cellmark uses Paypal to handle the payment and to ensure we receive your orders details securely. When you pay with Paypal, your financial information is never shared with us and every transaction is heavily guarded and encrypted to ensure that your financial information is protected.

When you click the Paypal "Buy Now" button to order a test please select the type of test you wish to order and then you'll be transferred to Paypal to complete the transaction. Once Paypal has confirmed that payment has been made we will send you the sampling kits.

As part of that confirmation Paypal sends us an order confirmation email, similar to the one you receive, which contains your contact details. If you are not happy to allow this then please call our customer services team on 0800 043 1987 and we can take your details and payment over the phone.

Sibling Tests

DNA@Home uses the latest DNA technology and we are able to analyse more complex tests such as sibling tests - for only £149.99.

Grandparentage Tests

Yes, our DNA testing kits use the latest technology and allow you to order a (up to 3 person) grandparentage test - for only £149.99.

Aunts and Uncles

Sometimes called Avuncular testing this, like grandparentage testing, is more complex - but still only costs £149.99 (up to 3 person).

The sampling kit

In the sampling kit you'll find a mouthswab, a sample collection card, a consent form and return packaging. Click on the button below to see an example kit

Taking your sample

Complete the consent form, write the donor's name on the collection card and use the mouthswab to take a sample. Click the button to see a short video.

Send to the lab

Place the sample collection cards and consent forms in the return envelope, you can dispose of the swab itself. Then post/courier the samples back to our lab.