Because DDC is a highly-accredited and trusted paternity-testing lab, we handle large numbers of customer questions every week via phone call, email, and social media. We sometimes get inquiries about the possibility of paternity fraud, especially when a news story on the subject pops up. Here are the top three questions we get asked, along with their answers.
1. Paternity Fraud: What if the mother submits her own DNA and says it’s the father’s? Does that affect results?
In order to manipulate results in the hope of getting a “positive” conclusion on a paternity test, a mother may try to submit her own DNA and pass it off as the alleged father’s. If this type of paternity fraud is attempted, it is caught immediately at the lab level and results will not be issued. For all paternity tests, our lab includes the amelogenin gene in order to verify the gender of all participants, including the alleged father, child, and the mother (if she also opts to participate). Additionally, if the mother participates as herself in the test, but also submits her own samples as the alleged father’s, the two profiles would be identical. The DNA profiles for two separate people can never be the same unless they are identical twins, so the lab would immediately suspend testing and request new samples.
2. Paternity Fraud: What if the alleged father switches his samples with someone else’s? Does that affect results?
When doing an at-home test, a possible father may commit paternity fraud by swabbing someone else’s cheeks and submitting that man’s DNA as if it were his own. This can definitely affect results, since the integrity of the samples has been compromised. If the possible father actually is the biological father of the child being tested, the report would nevertheless show a 0% probability of paternity since it was not his DNA that was tested. Keep in mind that a mother could also swab someone else and try to pass off the sample as her child’s, and that’s also fraud.
This is why DDC does not put names of participants on at-home tests and also why results of at-home testing are not court-admissible—the participants’ identities (and therefore the identity of their DNA) cannot be absolutely verified.
What you can do to prevent this type of fraud: We always give two recommendations.
- If you cannot trust a participant to be honest, insist on being in the same room when doing DNA collection and watch each other swab cheeks and seal those swabs in the kit envelopes. Then, go together to the post office to mail them. Being each other’s witnesses can definitely mitigate the possibility of fraud while giving everyone greater peace of mind.
- If you live in different towns or states and witnessing each other is not possible, it’s best to err on the safe side and pay a little extra for a legal paternity test collection. With this type of test, all participants go to an approved facility to have their DNA collected—wherever they live. The approved DNA collector verified IDs, takes photos of all participants, witnesses DNA collection, and ensures samples are sent to the lab without having been tampered with.
Paternity Fraud: Can someone alter their DNA by eating or drinking before swabbing their cheeks?
A person attempting to commit paternity fraud may eat or drink something prior to swabbing, with the hope of affecting results. Kit instructions advise to not eat, drink, or smoke for one hour prior to swabbing cheeks for testing. It’s not because the DNA could “change” by putting something in the mouth, but rather, because the quality of the sample could be affected. DNA cannot be changed by eating or drinking, but a swab contaminated with baby formula or food residue may be too difficult to extract DNA from. If this happens, testing is suspended and no report is issued until the customer can submit new samples. It’s an inconvenience for the customer since it requires extra testing time, but it doesn’t affect results at all.
Final Thoughts about Paternity Fraud
Since 1993, DDC has been providing trusted and accurate paternity testing services—for both peace-of-mind customers and those who need answers for court. We run every test twice, and you can be sure results are accurate for the samples we’ve been provided. We do everything we can on our end to stop paternity fraud dead in its tracks, and encourage customers to do their due diligence as well. It’s the wise and cautious thing to do!
Don’t hesitate to call us at 800-929-0847: We’re here to help.
Do you have questions or comments about this topic? Share in the comments and we’ll answer.