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Are Cheap Paternity Tests Accurate?

By Erin J. Hill
Updated May 17, 2024
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Cheap paternity tests are not always accurate because they are sometimes performed by untrained staff using less accurate methods than a certified lab would use. In many industrialized countries there are no formal licensing requirements for labs of paternity testing, so this does not ensure that results are accurate. Some nations have organizations which accredit certain labs based on set criteria in order to ensure accuracy and professionalism. It is recommended that consumers use an accredited laboratory for paternity testing.

There are a variety of reasons why cheap paternity tests are not recommended. The first, as mentioned above, is that they are not always accurate. There are various types of tests which can be performed and different processes which may be used. An accredited lab will use the most up-to-date processes to ensure the most accurate results. Additionally, cheaper options may employ untrained staff members in order to save money, and this can lead to mistakes being made which can alter results.

In many areas, courts do not accept results from cheap paternity tests, especially tests performed at home. This could lead to individuals paying more money overall if they first do an at home test and then need an additional test from an accredited lab for child support or custody cases. Home tests should be used for personal use only.

Those who cannot afford a traditionalpaternity test may be able to get assistance in some areas. Labs are becoming more affordable, and many are not much more expensive than the cheapest options. This is especially true if accuracy is highly important for health or legal reasons since additional testing may have to be done to confirm results.

Accredited labs charge reasonable prices when it is understood what is involved with performing an accurate test. They use high tech equipment and check for up to ten biological markers in order to determine a match and establish paternity. Cheap paternity tests do not always do this. Additionally, cheap options usually only perform saliva-based testing, while other labs use the more accurate blood-based tests.

If consumers wish to use a particular testing center, they should check for proper accreditation to ensure that results will be accurate. It may be possible to negotiate payment plans for tests with a higher cost. If this is not available, some areas may offer financial assistance to lower income individuals.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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