‘Discreet Paternity Tests’ prove whether or not a man is the biological father of a child. The difference between ‘Discreet Paternity Testing’ and ‘Paternity Testing’ is that the ‘alleged’ father does not provide a cheek swab sample. Instead, the provider will test an item such an article of clothing which is believed to contain the ‘alleged’ father’s DNA sample. If the ‘alleged’ father’s DNA can be extracted, this is then compared to a cheek swab sample from the child to see if there’s a genetic match.
Are the tests accurate?
It depends. The success rate of DNA extraction from in or on an item is 25-99%, depending on the type of item that’s being analysed. For assessing items of clothing the success rate of DNA extraction is around 50%.
Are the tests legal?
It depends. The Human Tissue Act 2004 states that you cannot possess an adult’s DNA sample with the intent to test it without that adult’s consent. Therefore, if you wanted to test the ‘alleged’ father’s DNA they would have to sign a consent form which could well defeat the purpose.
Be warned, providers that offer this test may imply that you can test the ‘alleged’ father’s item in secret, but this would be illegal as you’re intending to test DNA that’s not your own, without the suspected owners’ consent.
If the ‘alleged’ father’s sample is being tested outside the UK, do I still need their consent?
Yes, the Human Tissue Act makes it clear that simply possessing an item with the intent to test DNA that’s not your own is breaking the law if you do not have the suspected owners’ consent.
What’s the penalty for testing an adult’s DNA without their consent?
If a person is convicted of having had the intention to test an adult’s DNA without their consent, they could face a prison term of up to 3 years, a fine, or both!