How Much Does a Paternity Test Cost?

Written by: Staff

A paternity test is a laboratory exam performed to determine whether a man is the biological parent of a child.  The most reliable standard for a paternal exam is via genetic testing, but there are other methods performed such as blood group typing and using human leukocyte antigens.

These tests can often be court ordered for child support, inheritance claims, social benefits, adoption or for immigration reasons.  The cost of a paternity test will depend on the type of test you take, the number of participants, if it’s court ordered and which company you use.

How much does a paternity test cost?

On average, a legal paternity test conducted at a local laboratory in person can cost anywhere from $250 to as much as $600, while at home tests could be much cheaper.  This is the cost for the child and father; most of the time, the mother’s test isn’t needed, unless pregnant.

A prenatal paternity test, which will involve blood work, will be costlier since the test requires more than a cheek swab.  This type of test could cost anywhere from $800 to close to $2,000, depending on the lab chosen.

Paternal testing is not only performed at laboratories, but it can also be performed at home, which is often referred to as a non-invasive test.  Paternal testing kits are available over the counter at drugstores and online, and with these at-home tests,  the DNA is collected using a simple cheek swab.  At-home tests can cost anywhere from $50 to $150 for just the test, but you will have to pay extra for the lab to interpret the results when you mail it.  Upon completion of the test, the results are sent to the laboratory, bringing the total to about $150 to $400, depending on the lab, to receive your results.

The Spruce says the test can cost anywhere from $300 to $500 for a legal paternity test to as little as $30 for an at-home kit without lab testing.

The LabCorp paternity test cost, for example, is around $525, while a simple Walgreens or CVS paternity test can be about $25 without any lab results.  Other companies, along with the prices, are listed in our table below:

CompanyPrice Range
DDC Paternity Test$150 to $450
Identigene Paternity Test$25 (no lab results)
Ravgen Prenatal Paternity Test$850 to $1,600
SNP Microarray Paternity Test$300

Paternity test overviwe

At-home tests are relatively straightforward.  The test taker, along with the child, will have to swab the inside of their cheek, referred to as a buccal swab collection, for up to 15 seconds with a Q-tip.  This Q-tip will then be mailed off to a lab, where it will be interpreted and the results will be sent via certified mail.  Keep in mind that most at-home kits can’t be used for legal purposes and can only be considered for non-legal use.

These samples will contain your DNA, which can be used to determine the genetic profile when compared to the child.  If the child hasn’t been born yet, then a blood sample will be taken from the mother to compare.  This testing is considered to be 100 percent accurate.

Most at-home testing kits can be found at all major retailers and pharmacies.

The paternity test results will have the following information the results:  Conclusion, Combined Paternity Index, Probability of Paternity and a Data table of DNA markers.  In simple terms, the results will either say the father is EXCLUDED or NOT EXCLUDED, and the data table will list the different DNA markers found during the examination.  If the results were EXCLUDED, this means he isn’t the father, whereas NOT EXCLUDED means there’s a 99.9% chance he is.

What are the extra costs?

If more than one participant has to be tested as well, additional fees may apply.

Expedited results can cost more if you want to have the results faster than the standard delivery, usually delivered within 72 hours.  Most results, depending on the lab, can take up to three to 12 weeks to process.  Expedited options are often used if a name needs to be added to a birth certificate.

Some companies charge a small shipping fee.

Tips to know

If you’re having a DNA paternity test done for legal purposes, then the lab must be accredited by the AABB.

Free paternity tests are available, depending on the state you live in.  For example, Arizona offers the test for free and the father must repay the fee, while Alaska and Oklahoma will pay the fee and the father will be responsible if he is proven to be the father.  In Lousiana, the state will pay for the test if you’re on public assistance.  Other than these options, there are very few free legal options available.

Do hospitals do DNA testing?  Yes.  Most hospitals are able to take a sample right after the baby is born as long as you let them know you want the testing done.  This test will either be tied directly into your hospital bill or billed separately.

DNA results sample

image source

How can I save money?

There are times when more than one participant will be required in order to get the testing done appropriately.  If this is the case, consider asking for discounts as many labs will provide discounts to those that have more than one person needing a test.

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