Here we list here some of our most commonly asked questions and their answers.
If you have any questions that are not listed in our FAQs or you would like to discuss a case or a point of order, please feel free to call our experienced advisors us on either 0191 543 6334 or 0203 603 1323, or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have also provided a Glossary of common terms that you may see in paternity testing reports. You can view this online or download it as a .pdf.
The dadcheck®gold paternity test is conclusive (a Probability of Paternity greater than 99.999%) if we can test all three of the child, mother and alleged father.
A test without a sample from the mother will not provide the same degree of certainty as a test with samples from both parents.
Similarly, for immigration purposes, a maternity test will be less conclusive if we are unable to test the father.
However, for various reasons, it is not always possible to gain access to both parents. For example, we have had court ordered tests where the mother has agreed to the test but then cannot be contacted by the local authority for an appointment. In such cases, and upon instruction from the ordering party, we are obliged to proceed with the child and the alleged father only. In any event, the alleged father may be excluded from parentage with 100% certainty whether the mother participates or not.
Using the latest DNA testing technology, we provide genetic tests to decipher close human biological relationships.
Most often, we work out whether or not an individual male is the biological father of a particular child. This is also called a paternity test.
Each and every one of us is unique. This uniqueness comes from our genetic code, which we have inherited equally from our biological mother and biological father. The dadcheck®gold paternity test detects the presence of regions of this unique genetic code (shown as discrete bands), which can then be used to determine if individuals are related or not. We analyse the genetic code and display the results from tested people such that we can see if every band in the child is also present in the parents. If so, there is a good chance that the child and parents are biologically related.
We can also offer tests to examine relatedness between siblings (full or half), uncles and aunts (to nieces and nephews) and grand-parentage tests (to grandchildren). These are often requested for example, in inheritance cases or when the alleged father is unavailable. We also conduct tests to support immigration applications, which tend to require both paternity and maternity tests.
The LAA have provided Guidance on the Remuneration of Expert Witnesses. The new rates apply to work undertaken with a case start date or representation order date on or after sent 2014. Our charges and service reflect this guidance and are within the guidelines set by the Remuneration Regulations, hence for most of the cases you have with us, prior authority for higher charges from the LAA should not be required.
You (as Lead Body and contracting party) must discuss with us beforehand if you or any other party to the case are likely to be applying for a Legal Aid Agency certificate. This is because the LAA will apportion costs across a number of certificates (with a letter of authority for each) and we may be able to assist the Lead Body by directly issuing correctly apportioned invoices to the parties.
Responsibility for the entire payment with respect to the case still however resides with the Lead Body as part of the Contract between Complement Genomics Ltd (dadcheck®gold) and the Lead Body (the test ordering party).
The Remuneration Regulations makes special mention of DNA testing rates. This is on a per test basis, with a separate fee for report drafting. The LAA specifically will not pay above the rates set in the Remuneration Regulations unless there is a prior authority in place. However, for the most part this should not be necessary.
Exceptions may arise, for example, if we need to hire the services of an interpreter to explain consent and its implications of if we have a situation where a close male relative could be the father. In the latter case the situation can become complex, and we may have to test more markers and carry out additional experimentation. We may in other cases and after experimentation, observe genetic changes which must be explained. In such cases, we will provide information and justification for the Lead Body to seek prior authority from the LAA for higher or further fees.
The Regulations define a DNA test as “[alleged] father and child (plus mother if required)”. This rate is given at £252.00 plus VAT. Under the Regulations, the amount increases by £133.00 for each additional child tested. On occasion, there is more than one alleged father to be tested. Under the Regulations, each separate alleged father is to be considered part of a separate test. For preparation for a DNA report, the Regulations suggest a fee of £72.00 ex VAT. The hourly rate for a Geneticist (who is required to review the case), is £86.40 now ex VAT per hour.
If your test is court ordered under s20 of the Family Law Reform Act 1969, then please provide a copy of the Court Order for our records. As we appreciate that events can move quite quickly, we may on occasion accept a written deposition from the Lead Body that the Court Order is in process.
“Accuracy” is often confused with “certainty”. All our tests are accurate. You and your clients need to know the level of certainty, which in the case of an inclusion, we give as a probability of paternity (see Glossary). A dadcheck®gold paternity test proves that a tested man is the father of a child with greater than 99.999% certainty (if the mother is involved in the testing process). Please note that this figure can be reduced if the mother of the tested child does not participate in the test. Conversely, a dadcheck®gold paternity test proves with 100% certainty if a man is not the father of a child.
All adults giving a cell sample for a dadcheck®gold DNA test must give their consent for the test by signing the consent form which we will provide with the sampling kit. For a child (under 16) we will need the consent of a person with Parental Responsibility for the child. We have provided a FAQ below, which explains Parental Responsibility.
An individual may withdraw their consent (or their consent on behalf of a child) at any time during the testing process. Consideration should also be given to the issue of Gillick Competence when testing older children e.g. 10+ years and under the age of 16 years. That is, their views should be taken into account if they are mature enough to understand the nature and possible consequences of the test. You should be aware that it is a serious offence for any of your clients to personate another body for the purpose of providing a bodily sample or to proffer the wrong child for that purpose. This is punishable by imprisonment.
From the time we receive all the case samples into the laboratory, the test will take approximately 4 working days (unless you have opted for either of our Express Testing Services). To check on the progress of a test, please call us on 0191 543 6334 and quote your unique case reference number e.g. DCX#### (where #### is a four digit number), which you will be allocated on confirmation of your order (you will find this in all associated case paperwork or emails). If enquiring by telephone, you will be asked a number of security questions for ID purposes before any information relating to the case is shared.
Parental Responsibility (PR) means that the person concerned has all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority that a parent of a child has by law (as defined in the Children Act 1989). Where a child’s parents were married to each other at the time of the child’s birth, each parent will have PR for the child. However, if a child’s parents are not married to each other, the mother shall automatically have PR over the child. Where the parents are not married to each other, the father will acquire PR if he acts with the mother to have his name recorded on the child’s birth registration after 1st December 2003.
An unmarried father will not be able to claim PR unless he acquires it by: Obtaining a court order. Registering a legally written agreement subject to the mother’s consent. Marriage to the child’s mother. Being granted a residence order. Having his name on the child’s birth certificate (only applicable to births registered after December 2003).
Persons other than parents may acquire PR by appointment as a guardian or by an order of the court. The latter means either a Care Order or an Interim Care Order granted to the Local Authority. Hence a designated representative of the Local Authority may have PR and may authorise the collection of a DNA samples without reference to the mother or alleged father. If the Local Authority will be consenting on behalf of a child, then we would expect to see a copy of any Care Order or Interim Care Order (plus any renewals).
Helpful information regarding who may have Parental Responsibility can be found here.
The sample will be taken by one of our registered sample collectors by gently rubbing a soft swab around the inside of the mouth. The procedure is simple and painless and can be used on very young children and babies.
The donor must provide two passport-size photographs and the person taking the sample, ‘the sampler’, must sign them on the back, certifying that the sample has been taken from the person in the photograph. If one of our own registered samplers is taking the sample, then they can, with the donors permission take a digital photograph of the donor instead.
If at a later date, there is any debate over the identity of the person who donated a sample for testing, then one of the photographs and a copy of the donor’s consent form may be provided to the disputing party/organisation concerned for clarification e.g. for legal/court cases or immigration. We also require your client to bring such documentation as is available to prove their identity, preferably a photo ID. This could be for example, a passport, driving licence, Armed Forces Identity Card, bank card/statement, utility bill (with home address), birth certificate or UK Borders Agency documentation. We will generally re-photograph individual donors at the time of sampling. Please note that is NOT necessary for all individuals who are giving a sample to all be present together at the same sampling venue at the same time or indeed to be in the same place for sampling. However, at the time of sampling, a child who is under 16 MUST be accompanied by the person with Parental Responsibility, as indicated on the consent form. In some cases, sample donors do not have any identification at all. We must then rely on the relationship with case workers from say Social Services or the solicitor. We will provide documentation for signature to that effect.
All adult parties taking part in the test are entitled to receive their own copy of the test report. All original reports are sent to the contracting party for distribution. The reports are in a standardised format, which complies with relevant legislation* and either excludes the alleged father or provides evidence that he is indeed the tested child’s biological parent.
If the dadcheck®gold paternity test is negative (that is, the tested man is not the child’s biological father), the report will say: ‘Based on the analysis of 23 independent autosomal DNA markers, Mr John Smith has been excluded as the biological father of Teresa Green because greater than two of Mr John Smith’s DNA components are absent from the DNA profile of Teresa Green. In summary, Mr John Smith is not the biological father of the child, Teresa Green’.
If the dadcheck®gold paternity test is positive (that is, the tested man is likely to be the father), the report will say: The probability of paternity is 99.999% (assuming equal prior odds) based on the analysis of 23 independent DNA markers. Hence the alleged father, Mr John Smith, cannot be excluded as the biological father of Teresa Green. The DNA results are ‘X’** thousand times more likely if Mr John Smith rather than an unrelated male is the biological father of Teresa Green. In summary it is more than 99% likely that the alleged father Mr John Smith, is the biological father of Teresa Green’.
* The Family Law Reform Act 1969 as amended by The Family Law Reform Act 1987 and The Family Law Reform Act 1987 (commencement No.3) order 2001 and The Children Act 1989.
**The value of ‘X’ will vary between cases but will usually exceed 50,000. In the case of two children being tested in the same case, the DNA test results can be different between the two children. This is not cause for concern, since unless they are identical twins, they will not inherit the same DNA markers from either parent.
It serves well to remember that no indirect relationship test will give a conclusive result akin to a paternity test. So sibling, avuncular, and grand-parentage tests can give an indication of a biological relationship, but must be taken together with other evidence if a relationship is to be surmised.
For example, full siblings have the same biological mother and father. Half siblings share only one biological parent, which can either be the mother or the father. Our sibling-ship analysis begins with the assumption that the half sibling or full sibling relationship is equally likely (50% probability). The DNA evidence we derive is used to test the two hypotheses. One will usually be shown to be more strongly in support of a particular hypothesis, rather than the other. If we show a probability in excess of 80 %, then that will support a particular hypothesis, for example, that the individuals are more likely to be related as full, rather than half, siblings.
More powerful statistics are generated when one of the biological parents is available for testing. On occasion we may gain an inconclusive result. That is, we can demonstrate a relationship but that the evidence does not strongly support one or the other hypothesis.
Sometimes a potential half sibling relationship may effectively be excluded yet still be related, because they have by chance not inherited sufficient of the shared parents DNA. Any data we derive will be reviewed by one of our senior geneticists and our final report will clarify these points for you.
Testing of cousins is not recommended, as the relationship is too distant for a conclusive result to be presented. We do not perform such testing.
The true biological father of a child will match at all the paternal markers tested. It is the case that we are often asked to test, for example, if the presumed father’s brother (the child’s uncle) is the father of the child or that the presumed father’s own father (the child’s grandfather) is the father of the child. If you suspect this may be the case with your client, you must let us know…we will take this into account in the analysis.
If we determine an inclusion (positive result), in the report we will discuss; a) the probability that the tested man is the child’s true biological father (as opposed to being unrelated) and b) the probability that the tested man is related to the child but not as the child’s biological father. This could be as a paternal uncle, grandfather or paternal half brother, for example.
On occasion you may not know or suspect this to be the case and it may be revealed by a DNA analysis. Such a possibility arises by observing at least one or two mis-matches between the tested male and the child (we need at least three mis-matches to conclude he is not the father). Our report will consider that the tested male is; a) a close male relative of the true biological father and b) is the biological father and that there are rare DNA change(s). Indeed, the latter illustrates why the mother should participate. We can immediately identify the mothers’ contribution to the child’s profile such that the remainder must come from the father; we are then working with the child’s paternal DNA component only.
We correspond with the contracting party and will only discuss work with others if we have written permission to do so from the contracting party. In cases where we have a legal instruction (solicitor, barrister, local authority), we will only deal with that party and will not deal with your client directly. However, please note that all adults (16 years and over) who have provided a sample for a paternity/DNA test are entitled to receive a written copy of the results. This also includes the person who has Parental Responsibility for the child even if they have not taken part directly in the testing themselves. Results, in the form of a dadcheck®gold report, will be generally dispatched by first class post (or other means as instructed). Extra charges will apply if other means of postage (e.g. next day delivery/courier) are used.
In the case of a s20 court order, it is sometimes specified that the costs will be shared between the parties. With respect to Complement Genomics Ltd, the entity placing the order with us (the contracting party or Lead Body) is responsible for payment of the entire fee, on 30 days terms. It is also your (e.g. the contracting solicitor) responsibility to distribute the test results to your clients and to the other parties involved in the test. However, to allow for the practicalities, especially if an application for a Legal Aid Agency certificate has been approved or is being made, then we may agree to “split invoicing”. That is, we will issue you with invoices for distribution to the other parties, so that they may pay us directly for their share. This will hopefully reduce your administrative burden but please be aware, that although a Court Order may state that the costs are to be shared, under our Terms and Conditions of Sale, the ultimate responsibility for the whole bill rests with the ordering party (or Lead body), including any part shares where one party has not paid after 60 days. Whilst this is not ideal, we hope it helps to move the process along.
Legislation requires that we must control the process of sample collections for the purpose of a DNA test.
Our preference is for dadcheck®gold (Complement Genomics Ltd) staff to undertake the sampling. This may not always be possible and hence we maintain a list of registered samplers. If there is one of these in the area of the donor(s) we will arrange for the samples to be taken.
We have also developed a free online training and registration system, which will both simplify and save costs on legal aid work. Our online training will take approximately 20-30 minutes of your time to a) read and digest a work instruction b) read and digest our FAQs and c) answer a series of multiple-choice questions.
For immigration cases, the nearest British High Commission may be amenable to taking the sample from your client and we will send them the sampling kit and instructions. We already have good relations with several of these offices and so may be able to assist.
Most Home Office and Passport Office applications will allow for the samples to be taken at a medical centre of the families choice. This gives the family much more flexibility. We have worked with many medical centre’s worldwide and we may be able to recommend a clinic to you.
In order to prove the identity of the donors, we will require the adult donor to provide ONE of the following: – Current signed passport – Travel documents issued to foreign nationals granted permission to remain in the UK – Current full UK Paper or photo card driving licence – Current EU/EAA identity card – Current CIS (Construction Industry Certificate) CIS4 or CIS6 – HMRC PAYE coding notice for the current tax year – Current Benefits Agency/DWP notification letter (less than 5 months old) – Current EU Residence permit – Current Northern Ireland voters card – Other photo IDs may be acceptable, but only after our specific written approval.
Please would you provide a copy at the sampling appointment and let us verify against the original. We may also wish to photograph the relevant parts of the documentation at the time of sampling.
The donor will also be photographed at the time of sampling. Whilst not strictly necessary, we would also appreciate it if you could also provide ONE of the following as proof of address (unless it has already be used for an identity check): – Current EU/EEA identity card with address – Original bank statement HMRC PAYE coding notice for the current tax year – Current Benefits Agency/DWP notification letter (less than 5 months old) – Current local authority tax bill – Original credit/debit card statement – Current Benefits Agency/DWP notification letter – Recent utility bill (not telecommunications) – Original mortgage statement – Solicitors correspondence – Local council tenancy agreement – HMRC correspondence showing NI number Where applicable, these must clearly have the name and address of the donor, be less than 5 months old and not printed from the internet.
On occasion the donors may not have any of these forms of identification and we will then ask you (as an independent third party) to verify that the individual is who they say they are. For children (under 16) where the above documents may not be available, then we would like to see the original birth certificate please, and ideally the full version where there is provision for the name of the father.
Our team of highly skilled and qualified scientists adhere to strict laboratory requirements of the international quality standard, ISO/IEC 17025 (an accreditation for testing and calibration laboratories). Included in this is the requirement for all work to be witnessed and double-checked by a second competent member of scientific staff. We have every confidence in our team and supporting Quality Management System and as such, should you have reasonable cause for doubt, we are happy to repeat any case should your client require confirmation. On occasion, we are asked to reinterpret their data files from tests conducted by other laboratories. Unfortunately, we are not prepared to do this. If you are unsure of the data from another laboratory and wish to have it checked, we would need to register a new case in our system and repeat the entire sampling and analysis procedure.
The use of overseas surrogate mothers by British couples is increasingly common. Surrogacy contracts (if indeed there is one) are not enforced by UK law and are only legally binding in a small number of countries. These situations can be both highly complex and given the nature of the arrangement, emotionally highly charged.
If you are considering entering into a surrogacy contract you will find it can be a lengthy and complicated process and besides the obvious issue of the new child’s passport and nationalisation, is the need for a UK based parental order that transfers legal rights from the surrogate mother. In the UK, the law says that the mother of a child is the woman who gives birth to that child and the father is the man she is married to at the time of conception. Therefore, if the overseas surrogate mother is married, although the prospective parents’ names should be on the child’s birth certificate (given a parental order has been agreed), the child is not necessarily recognised as automatically eligible for British nationality.
The intended parents must apply to the Home Office for registration of the child as a British citizen before applying for a UK passport. On the other hand, if the surrogate mother is single, such an application to the Home Office is unnecessary provided that the father has provided evidence that he is genetically related to the child.
There are two types of surrogacy which present different legal implications:
The first, “traditional” surrogacy, or artificial insemination, involves insertion of sperm into the fallopian tube of the surrogate mother, who will consequently be the biological mother of the child. As a result, the surrogate mother must agree to a series of legal obligations transfer her rights as the parent of the child to the individual(s) who have opted for surrogacy.
The second, “gestational” surrogacy, more commonly known as in vitro fertilisation (IVF), involves implantation of an externally fertilised embryo where the biological parents do not involve the participation of the surrogate mother; therefore the child and the surrogate mother are biologically independent of one another.
Whilst the embryo may have one, both, or neither parents as participants in the surrogacy, under UK law the mother and father of the child is the woman who gives birth to the child and the man she is married to at the time of conception. Both of these possibilities require the use of accredited DNA paternity testing, as this is imperative to confirm the biological father of the child and, ideally, also the biological parentage of the mother if the surrogacy is gestational.
If you are involved in such an arrangement and need a DNA test, please contact us and speak to our experienced case managers who are experts in this field.
We work closely with providers of family mediation to help you quickly resolve issues of parentage via the use of a DNA test. We can help with advice on the DNA test and on the consents for the test, including issues relating to who has Parental Responsibility for a particular child. We will also co-ordinate sample collection. If you become aware of the likely need for a paternity test during your consultations with the family, please contact us as soon as possible.
We conduct many immigration associated DNA tests for both private clients and those represented by the legal profession. We liaise with Embassies and British High Commissions all over the world and will provide advice on consent and the identification of the individual to be tested. We co-ordinate sample collection. It is vital that we see any correspondence that you or your client may have had with the authorities (e.g. the Home Office), so that we can make sure you have the correct test conducted in the proper manner.
We operate a nationwide service with an extensive network of trained collectors. We arrange sample collection locations and times which are convenient to your clients. The identity check and buccal cheek cell sampling will be conducted by either a member of Complement Genomics Ltd staff or will be undertaken by an independent third party supplier such as a registered medical practitioner, a sample collection company (an approved supplier to Complement Genomics Ltd) or one of the participants on our registered sampler scheme. If the samples submitted for this particular DNA test were not collected by staff directly employed by Complement Genomics Ltd, the company (Complement Genomics Ltd) is not responsible for any errors or omissions which may have been made by these entities during the sampling process.
We work closely with providers of family mediation to help you quickly resolve issues of parentage via the use of a DNA test. We can help with advice on the DNA test and on the consents for the test, including issues relating to who has Parental Responsibility for a particular child. We will also coordinate sample collection. If you become aware of the likely need for a paternity test during your consultations with the family, please contact us as soon as possible.
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