The UK has now seen the launch of the over the counter paternity testing. The kit is sold by the giant high street pharmacy “Boots”. Online paternity tests have been available for a while, but over the counter DNA tests are a rather recent phenomenon.

Essentially, there is hardly any difference between the over the counter test and the online paternity test. For both tests, the people involved will be required to take their DNA samples using an oral, sterile mouth swab. Mouth swabs are provided in the kit you purchase and rubbing these inside the mouth will cause cheek cells to stick to the swab. Once you have collected your DNA you can send the samples off to the laboratory for analysis.

Unlike, for example, a home blood test to tell you your blood group or a pregnancy test, the paternity testing kit will not give you your results there and then while you wait. You will need to wait 5 days after you have sent your samples to the lab for analysis – this independent of whether you have chosen an over the counter DNA tests or an online DNA test. The company marketing the OTC paternity test is Anglia DNA. The kit is marketed as AssureDNA. Unlike walking into the pharmacy and picking up a test kit, doing an online paternity test allows one to fully discuss the test prior to getting the kit. This can help clients feel more secure and less anxious about the DNA test.

In terms of costs, whether you chose to do it online to an over the counter paternity test, the cost is the same. The issue of the Human Tissue Act is still very pertinen t- something which a serious company will put emphasis on. The Act makes it illegal to take a DNA sample from anyone without that person explicit consent. Are people buying the OTC paternity test aware of this or informed of this – perhaps on a leaflet in the kit box?

The over the counter paternity test and the online paternity test always leave a lingering question of whether doing a paternity test is in the child’s best interest.