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Are you looking for an accurate, confidential and relatively inexpensive way to determine the paternity of your child? You’re no longer required to take an expensive blood test at a clinic to get results — there are a ton of paternity tests you can self-administer in the privacy of your own home to reveal this unnerving mystery.
Read our best at-home paternity test reviews to see what testing options are available and to find out our recommendations for highly accurate tests.
We mainly focus on standard at-home paternity tests in our reviews, but we wanted to include other tests in case that’s a better solution for you. There are three main types of paternity tests you can order online. The paternity test cost differs widely, depending on the type you need.
For New York state residents: New York State Department of Health regulations prohibit the use of at-home paternity tests. In some cases, you can order an “at-home” legal paternity test, but this differs by company.
A standard at-home paternity test is best for people who want peace of mind but don’t need paternity results for legal purposes. This test typically involves ordering a DNA testing kit online or by phone, and you’ll receive it at home within a few days (learn more about the at-home DNA testing process).
A basic kit is for one alleged father and one child, and some companies give you options to test additional children and alleged fathers. All you have to do is collect the cheek swab samples and send them to the company’s laboratory. Results are quick and extremely accurate with the best DNA paternity test kits — just as accurate as legal paternity tests.
An at-home legal paternity test will give you court-admissible results that you can present in a court of law to prove the relationship between the alleged father and child. How does this test differ from a standard at-home paternity test? A legal paternity test requires a registered “sampler” to administer the cheek swab to ensure an accurate collection process and a legal chain of custody of the DNA samples.
A registered “sampler” is typically a doctor, nurse or another medical professional, who is responsible for receiving the kit, collecting the samples and shipping them to the lab. You’re required to provide your sampler a legal identification such as a driver’s license, passport, National ID card or military ID. And you must provide a valid and certified birth certificate copy for any children getting tested.
Did you know you can order and take a paternity test during pregnancy? Science has come a long way in the past few years, yielding a non-invasive paternity test while pregnant. A prenatal paternity test involves a medical professional extracting the mother’s blood, which contains the presence of fetal DNA markers.
Typically, you can take this test starting in your 11th week in pregnancy, and your 99.9% accurate results (along with the alleged father’s testing) will be available within roughly 7 business days.
There are several factors to consider before purchasing an at-home paternity test, including:
- Laboratory Accreditation: You want to order a test kit from a company that uses a laboratory which holds accreditation by leading organizations that ensure top-notch lab procedures and practices. This recognition means that you can expect superior testing that meets strict standards of excellence.
- Number of Genetic Markers Tested: The industry standard is to test for 16 genetic markers that can identify a father-child relationship. There are companies that test for fewer markers, primarily to save time and money with testing. Avoid these tests as they may not give you accurate results. Our reviews only include 16-marker or more marker tests. In some cases, the more markers tested above 16, the better, so we’ve included several 20+ marker tests for consideration.
Whether you’re looking for peace of mind or legal paternity results, at-home paternity tests are often much more affordable than the alternative of going to an independent lab or clinic. Also, with the case of standard at-home paternity tests, you don’t even have to leave your own home if privacy is a major concern.
We’ve chosen our winners based on the criteria above, as well as turnaround time for results, pricing, customer service reputation and more.
EasyDNA wins our top spot as the best DNA test for paternity. For a reasonable price, you get highly accurate results back from a gold-standard accredited testing laboratory within three to five business days. And customers report a quick delivery time once they’ve ordered the test. EasyDNA tests for 21 genetic markers, as well as the amelogenin gene to make sure their clients don’t mix up samples.
They claim their probability of paternity is 99.99% if the alleged father is the biological father and 100% accuracy if he is not the biological father. EasyDNA also offers a Legal Paternity Test, a Prenatal Paternity Test, a host of relationship tests (sibling, grandparent, maternity, etc.), and many other types of DNA tests.
- $119 for At-Home One Father/One Child Test (cheek swab)
- $299 Legal Paternity Test (cheek swab)
- $1,295 Prenatal Paternity Test
The Bio-Gene Home Paternity Test comes in a close second as the best paternity test kit. Bio-Gene tests for the largest number of markers (25) of all the tests we’ve reviewed, and they claim 100% accuracy (it’s more like 99.9999%, but you get the idea). Bio-Gene also offers legal paternity, prenatal paternity, and family relationship tests.
Why isn’t Bio-Gene our number one pick? Although their lab holds accreditation from the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB), they don’t hold ISO 17025 certification (the gold standard). Still, the AABB is widely recognized as an excellent certification.
At-Home Paternity Test
- $119 (includes one father/one child kit and lab processing fee)
- $50 per additional child
- $75 per additional father
Legal Paternity Test
- $179 (one father/one child)
- $100 per additional child
The Rapid DNA Paternity Test comes in third place in our best DNA paternity test kit reviews. This test kit is the best value you’ll find for a 99.999% accurate test conducted in an accredited laboratory. And a vast majority of Amazon reviewers agree. This company takes your privacy seriously and only communicates with you on an encrypted portal.
We like that this company gives you control over what they do with your sample once they complete their analysis. Amazon doesn’t offer any other Rapid DNA paternity test kits other than this one, so you don’t have as many options as our top two choices. But if you’re looking for speed and accuracy, consider Rapid DNA.
- Price: $98.97 for one father/one child testing kit
Identigene and Endeavor by LiveWellTesting are both popular at-home DNA paternity tests, so we wanted to make sure we included them in our reviews even though they didn’t make it into our top three.
Identigene might seem like a huge bargain at first glance, but don’t let their seemingly low listing price on Amazon fool you. The $13.64 list price doesn’t include their $129 laboratory processing fee. Even factoring that in, Identigene is among the lowest priced tests on the market.
The DNA Diagnostics Center (DDC) bought out Identigene’s laboratory in late 2016, so your DNA will be processed at DDC’s AABB-accredited laboratory. The lab is reputable, but we can’t tell if Identigene’s business side got sold as well. Identigene gets pretty bad reviews for poor customer service, while DDC (which offers their own test) gets glowing customer service reviews. Note that this test is also available rebranded from HomeDNA.
- $13.64 for one father/one child test kit
- $129 laboratory processing fee
The Endeavor Paternity Test by LiveWellTesting is the most expensive test in our reviews, but their laboratory is one of the most highly accredited paternity testing labs. You get what you pay for, and LiveWellTesting delivers 99.999% accuracy from looking at 23 markers, fully confidential correspondence and results, and a quick turnaround. Unfortunately, this company doesn’t sell a prenatal paternity test before birth, but they do offer an at-home legal paternity test and a host of other relationship tests.
To help you identify which paternity test is right for you and how the process works, we created this infographic that visually shows you the three tests side by side in comparison.
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There are many reasons people order a paternity test. Check out Identigene’s video for some reasons that may surprise you.
There’s a lot to learn from at-home DNA tests besides paternity. Have you ever wondered where your ancestors lived, or do you want to find living relatives? If so, be sure to read our DNA ancestry test reviews to find out what family mysteries you can unravel and what kind of information you can learn.
If health-related information is what you’re seeking, be sure to check out our DNA test reviews for health reasons, where you can learn what hereditary conditions you may develop and how you can live a healthier life based on your DNA results.
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