Lab-Based Paternity Testing vs. an Over-the-Counter Paternity Test Kit

As paternity testing providers in the Kansas City area, we receive a lot of calls inquiring about the differences between lab-based paternity testing and over-the-counter paternity test kit you see at the drugstore or online.

We’re all about DIY, except when it comes to matters that can have huge legal and personal repercussions. That’s why we think it’s key that you know what separates lab-based paternity testing from the at-home kits, particularly if you are pondering which one to buy!

Lab-Based Paternity Testing vs Over-the-Counter Paternity Test Kits


While an at-home paternity test kit may seem more convenient for you (no traveling to a lab!), keep in mind that since there is no chain of custody in over-the-counter testing, the results won’t be legally admissible.

With lab-based paternity testing, all specimens are collected by trained professionals familiar with chain-of-custody procedures, so the DNA is documented throughout the process. This assures the courts that samples haven’t been tampered with and results are legally-admissible.

Even if you don’t think you need to pursue legal action with your paternity test results, keep in mind that depending on what you find out, you may need to take someone to court — so you might end up wishing you had opted for court-admissible testing in the first place!


Before you buy into the idea that the over-the-counter paternity test kit only costs $79 (or whatever it’s advertised for), keep in mind that there are fine print and hidden costs.

Sure, you may pay that fee to take home the kit and collect your DNA specimens — but when it comes time to actually get the paternity testing done, there are additional fees for mailing off your samples and receiving results.

Plus, there’s the aforementioned fact that the at-home paternity test kit isn’t court-admissible since it lacks chain of custody collection; this means that if you find something unexpected about the paternity of your child and need to pursue legal action — disputing custody or pursuing child support payments, for example — you’ll have to start all over again and invest in a court-admissible lab-based paternity test.

To learn more about our paternity or maternity testing services, contact Test Smartly Labs today at (816) 800-9699. We have five lab locations in the greater Kansas City area!

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