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Getting a paternity test in Australia

Child on swing with parents

Are you questioning whether your child is yours but you're not sure where to start or what the process of paternity DNA testing involves? In this article we'll outline the options available to you when undertaking this testing at Identilab, and the steps involved.

If you contact us to find out about the process, the first question we'll usually ask is what you're wanting to use the results for. Do you just have some doubts in your head and want to find out so you can put them to rest? If so, our peace-of-mind test is probably the best option for you. Alternatively, do you need the results for any kind of paternity legal purpose, such as changing a birth certificate or using in Family Court proceedings? You'll need our legally admissible test for this. 

The next questions we're likely to ask are: how many children will be tested, and will the mother be participating? Identilab strongly recommends including both parents in the paternity test, but the usual response to this question is "I know I'm the mum" or "I know who the mum is". You can still do the test without them, but there are a few reasons why collecting a DNA sample from BOTH mum and dad is always a good idea, which you can read about here.

Depending on which option you think works best for your situation, we'll then outline the steps for you as follows.

Peace-of-mind Paternity Test

This test is sometimes called an at-home paternity DNA test because you will collect the samples yourself. We'll send you everything you need to do this, including detailed instructions, swabs and collection cards for each person being tested, and a reply-paid envelope to send the samples back to us. The collection is very easy to perform and involves swabbing the inside of each participant's mouth. 

The cost of the peace-of-mind paternity test for one child is $265. Testing additional children or additional fathers costs a further $165 each. 

 

Legally Admissible Paternity Test

This test is performed according to the Family Law Regulations 1984 (Cth) which outlines the way in which samples must be collected, packaged, and tested. We'll send you everything you need to ensure you comply with these regulations, including detailed instructions, a consent form that needs to be completed by you and witnessed by a Justice of the Peace, and a sample pack that contains everything your chosen medical professional needs to collect your sample from you. You don't have to attend the same collection appointment as the other participants in the test, and we can send collection kits to multiple addresses across Australia if needed. 

Depending on where you are located, Identilab can provide you with a request form for your nearest Pathology Collection Centre (note that any fees charged by the sample collector are not included in the fee that you have paid Identilab for the DNA testing). After they have collected your samples, the sampler will seal them in a tamper-proof bag so they can be sent to us in the provided reply-paid envelope.

If you live in the Brisbane area, we can schedule a free appointment for you in our office where we can witness your consent form and collect the sample at the same time. 

It's very important that you read the instructions carefully for this paternity test, as failure to comply with the regulations could mean the samples need to be recollected at additional expense to you.  

The cost of the legally admissible paternity test for one child is $495. Testing additional children or additional fathers costs a further $195 each. 

 

Laboratory Analysis and Release of Results

For both the peace-of-mind and legally admissible paternity tests, we will let you know via email once your samples have been received in the laboratory. Identilab performs the analysis of samples from the two test options in exactly the same way. The only difference between the tests is the collection process. 

All of our testing is performed in our own laboratory in Brisbane. We will never send your samples or data to another provider, like some other companies do. We think this is really important to ensure that your personal information is protected and that you receive the most accurate and reliable results possible. 

Your paternity test results will be sent to you via email within 5 business days of Identilab receiving all samples for your case, providing the samples are of good quality and additional testing is not required. On occasion, some extra processing is needed to get a sample to work properly. This could be due to a sample being of poor quality, or it could be due to an analysis issue that needs to be confirmed. If this is the case, there will be a slight delay to the release of your results and you may not receive them within the 5 business day timeframe. Rarely, a sample may not work at all or may not give us enough information to perform our comparisons. If this happens, we will let you know that the sample needs to be recollected and advise you of the cost to perform this retesting. 

The results of the paternity testing will be sent to all participants who are aged 18 years and over, and to the guardian of a minor child/incapacitated adult who has signed the consent on their behalf. Along with the report, you'll receive an information sheet to help you interpret what the results mean. 

Identilab will destroy your samples one month after providing you with the results.

Please call us on 1300 114 294 or email us at hello@identilab.com.au if you need help deciding which test is best for your situation. We would be happy to answer any questions you have.

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