You might be wondering if you can afford a high-quality paternity test. There are many companies offering “cheap” paternity DNA tests on the internet but they don’t let you speak to a person to help you make a decision — and there is often a direct relationship between paternity test cost and quality. At DDC, which is the only company to test every sample twice for improved accuracy, the price range depends on the type of test chosen: from an inexpensive home paternity test for peace-of-mind purposes to a chain-of-custody test whose results can be used in court. Court-admissible testing typically costs under $450 (with further discounts often available). We tailor the right test to your needs, and most importantly, give you accurate results with full customer service.

This post sheds some light on what goes into paternity testing costs.

Although a DNA test may seem as simple as a pregnancy test, many factors can affect the accuracy of a DNA test result and what you can use the results for. These are the top two considerations when looking at how much a paternity test costs.

First: accuracy. Because DNA testing is a highly sensitive test, careful and precise steps must be taken to ensure the correct result is reported. In our laboratory, two independent teams of DNA analysts run every legal DNA test twice, using state-of-the-art equipment, and the end results are verified by a trained scientist with a PhD degree. We do this above and beyond the AABB requirement, to assure our clients of  100% accurate results.

The second thing to consider is what you eventually will use the test results for. Many people need a paternity test to provide legal documentation of paternity—for child support, child custody, and inheritance, and others.

A legal paternity test provides documentation of the entire testing process, and a trained professional collects the DNA samples from the participants. This type of paternity test costs more, but you can be assured of legally admissible test results should you need them now, or in the future.

On the other hand, if you just want the paternity test results for personal knowledge, a home paternity test allows you to collect the samples conveniently and in private. This type of test costs less, but the results may not be accepted in a court of law. Since this test may not be challenged in court, some companies cut costs on these tests.

If you feel that a company’s DNA paternity test cost sounds too low to be reliable, it’s probably true. You never know what shortcuts a company is taking to drive their costs down. Be smart—the most important test you’ll ever purchase deserves the most trusted laboratory in the world.