Frequently Asked Questions

If you are interested in information on any other topic, please get in touch with us.

Paternity Testing Questions

General Genetic Questions:

COSTS AND PAYMENT

How much will everything cost me?

The total cost of the test is R795 per person (R1590 to test an alleged father and child). There are no hidden costs. This INCLUDES VAT and the courier costs of sending buccal swabs to your home or office and collecting them from you again once your samples are ready.

When is payment due?

As soon as we receive the samples and start with the analysis we send you an invoice with the amount due. Once your results are ready, they will be made available to you upon receipt of payment.

SAMPLING

What is a buccal swab?

A buccal swab (cheek swab) is a cotton-tipped swab used to collect DNA from the inside of the mouth, quick and painless.

How do I arrange for buccal swabs to be couriered to me?

All you need to do is phone or send us an e-mail indicating that you want to start the paternity testing process. You need to include a delivery address where the buccal swabs should be sent to you during working hours, with the name and telephone number of a contact person.

How do I get the swabs back to you once I’ve used them?

As soon as you have the samples ready, you let us know and we arrange for a courier to come and collect them from you and bring them back to the lab to start the analysis.

How do I know how to use the buccal swabs?

We send very clear and easy to follow instructions to you with the buccal swabs. It tells you exactly how and when to use them, what to do and what not to do, as well as how to package them once they’ve been used.

Will the swab from a newborn baby contain sufficient DNA?

If the swabs are used correctly and the instructions are followed carefully, then yes.

Can I use blood, hair or saliva to do the test?

We use blood (purple-top EDTA tubes), saliva (collected with saliva kits) or buccal swab samples. No other biological material is accepted for testing.

Does blood provide a better sample than a buccal swab?

The use of buccal swabs is an easier and non-invasive way of obtaining DNA for testing and gives the same results as a blood sample.

For how long do samples remain stable

Samples are stable for up to one week provided the swab was dried properly at room temperature and exposure was kept between 20°C and 37°C.

TESTING

What is the process for having a paternity test done?

The process is simple: Once we have your address, we send you buccal swabs with a courier to your home. We will need a sample collected from the inside of the mouth from the alleged father and the child in question. Once the samples are ready, you let us know and we will arrange for it to be collected form your home for DNA testing to be done.

How does the test actually work?

DNA of the alleged father and child is compared to see if it matches. At DNA-level, the paternity test makes use of 16 marker systems. In general, exclusion by two or more systems is accepted as exclusion of paternity. Inclusion by all systems confirms paternity with great certainty.

How accurate is the test?

The test involves 16 loci and results of the paternity test are calculated to be at least 99.99% accurate.

What documentation do I need for a personal test?

The only paperwork needed for doing a home test is a consent form (included in the sampling package sent to you) and copy of father’s, mother’s ID (only required if the father and child DO NOT share the same surname) and child’s birth certificate. The consent form must be completed and signed by the person requesting the test, as well as the legal guardian of the child (if the child is younger than 16 and if the couple is not married, the mother is assumed to be the legal guardian).

RESULTS

What happens to my genetic test results, are they private?

Genetic test results are strictly confidential. GENEdiagnostics only releases test results to the individual or doctor who ordered the test.

How long does it take to get the results?

Results are normally available within 7 – 10 working days from the day the samples arrive at our laboratory.

CONSENT AND PERSONS INVOLVED

Does the mother of the child need to know that the test is being done?

We need consent from the legal guardian of the child if the child is younger than 16. If the alleged father is the legal guardian, the mother does not need to give consent. If the alleged father and mother are not married or if the mother is the legal guardian, she will need to give consent for legal and ethical reasons. That means that we will need both the mother and alleged father’s signatures on the paternity request form that accompanies the samples.

TESTING FOR LEGAL PURPOSES

What is the difference between a personal test and a legal test?

The difference is that there is no chain of custody followed during the sample collection in the personal test. The personal test is for the clients’ own peace of mind and not for legal use. In other words, along with the swabs and consent form, a copy of the father’s, mother’s and child’s birth certificate or ID needs to be taken to a health practitioner (doctor/nurse) for sampling. The swabs, consent form and additional documentation will remain at their offices for collection (please inform us of the collection time and address). These results can then be used in court as the correct chain of custody was maintained. Please note that the doctor/nurse need to label the samples with names and ID numbers and sign the consent from which needs to be returned to us.

GENERAL GENETIC QUESTIONS

What are chromosomes?

Chromosomes are long strands of DNA on which genes are found. Each human cell has 23 pairs of chromosomes making a total of 46. One member of each pair is inherited from the father, the other from the mother.

What is the difference between genetics and genomics?

Genetics is the study of DNA and their genes and the influence thereof on health and sickness and explains the way characteristics are passed down from one generation to another. Genes carry the instructions for making proteins, which in turn,direct the activities of cells and functions of the body that influence traits such as hair and eye colour.

Genomics a recent term that describes the study of all the genes in an individual, as well as interactions of those genes with each other and their environment (e.g. diet).

Advances in genomics enables screening for genetic mutations to identify a potential disease before symptoms appear.

How does genomics influence my health?

Genomics plays a part in most of the leading causes of death. The study of genomics helps us find out why some people get sick from certain infections, environmental factors, and behaviours, while others do not. By understanding the interactions between gene, behaviour and the environment, we can find better ways to improve health and prevent diseases.

What is genetic testing?

Genetic testing is a type of medical test that identifies changes in chromosomes, genes, or proteins and is used to find changes that are associated with inherited disorders. The results of a genetic test can confirm or rule out a suspected genetic condition or help determine a person’s chance of developing or passing on a genetic disorder. Several hundred genetic tests are currently in use, and more are being developed.

Genetic testing is voluntary and has many benefits but there are limitations as well. Our genetic counsellor can help you do a detailed analysis of your family history and needs to choose the most relevant tests. She will also help you understand the social and emotional aspects of testing.

What if I already know I have a family history of a disease like cancer?

Genetic testing for hereditary diseases helps you and your doctor understand your true risk so you can make the best choices for preventive medical care. Knowing your family history is a very important first step, but genetic testing provides a more accurate assessment of your inherited risk.

If genetic testing is so valuable, why haven’t I heard of it?>

There is no question that genetic testing is the most accurate way of determining a patient’s risk of developing an inherited disease. However, many doctors, especially those who see patients for a wide range of conditions, may not yet have information on the very latest genetic testing options for their patients. You or your doctor can contact us for more information.

Are the genetic tests offered by GENEdiagnostics covered by medical aid?

Some tests are covered by medical aid and the list is expanding. Please contact us for information on any specific test.

Does GENEdiagnostics provide any assistance in dealing with medical aid coverage or payment?

Clients are required to pay upfront but will be assisted in claiming from their medical fund.

What are the chances that my children and/or family members have the condition?

If someone in a family has a disease the other members have a higher chance of carrying that gene relative to the normal population risk. Diseases are generally not just a result of one factor but rather the result of interactions of genes with your lifestyle (diet, exercise, smoking and drinking) that can be changed.

Some diseases result because a single gene is altered or missing (including haemophilia, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, and Huntington ‘s disease) and are called “single gene disorders.” In these cases, family inheritance plays a much greater role in determining whether or not the condition is passed on. In cases like these, behavioural and environmental factors don’t have a big effect on the disease but may improve someone’s quality of life.

Speaking with your doctor or our genetic counsellor is the best way to learn about your condition and it’s effect on your relatives.

Are tests convenient?

Every effort has been made to ensure that the whole testing process is as convenient and fast as possible. Simply contact us via phone or email to determine your needs or request a test. Test results will be made available online, emailed or even posted, depending on your preference.

Are tests accurate?

We have over 12 years experience in the industry and use advanced equipment and techniques. Results are checked and rechecked to ensure that you can have absolute faith in the end product.

What happens to my genetic test results, are they private?

Genetic test results are strictly confidential. GENEdiagnostics only releases test results to the individual or doctor who ordered the test. Even when insurance plans pay for testing, the medical aid does not receive the results. Under no circumstances will GENEdiagnostics give patient results to any other party without the written consent of the patient.

Are tests affordable?

Cutting edge technology and efficient processes help us keep costs down and that’s reflected in our prices. We’re the price leaders in the industry and our transparent pricing means you know know upfront what every test will cost you.

Will I ever need to retake the test?

Unlike blood tests, genetic tests are taken only once.