Parentage Testing

Resurrection Medical Center
Molecular Genetics Laboratory
7447 West Talcott Avenue
Chicago, IL 60631

Parentage testing determines if two individuals are biologically related to each other. Most often, it is used to determine paternity, but other relationships can also be tested (e.g. siblings, cousins, etc). The procedure consists of analyzing and comparing DNA marker sequences of tested individuals, a process called DNA genotyping or “fingerprinting”. It is currently the most accurate and reliable method for parentage determination and is accepted in court as evidence.

Our Molecular Genetics Laboratory is fully accredited by the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) and by the College of American Pathologists (CAP). All testing is performed in compliance with standards set by CAP and the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB). All casework is supervised and reviewed by a medical geneticist certified by the American Board of Medical Genetics (ABMG).

Who can benefit from parentage testing services?

  • Single mothers attempting to obtain child support from the biological father who denies paternity and refuses to provide child support
  • Divorced fathers attempting to obtain custody and visitation rights
  • Parents in need of reassurance where the identity of the father of their child is uncertain
  • Long separated relatives or adopted children who are being reunited and need reassurance of their relatedness
  • Potential heirs and beneficiaries of wills, insurance claims, social security benefits, being denied benefits because of their questioned identity
  • Prospective immigrants in need of proof of relatedness to their sponsors in order to qualify for visas or residency status
  • Parents of twins desiring to know if their twins are identical or fraternal
  • Law enforcement officials and relatives of victims of crime, accidents, or disasters, where proof of the victim’s identity is required

Test Types Offered

Test type Test participants* Fee*
Paternity 1 child, 1 alleged father, mother
1 child, 1 alleged father
2 children, 1 alleged father, mother
Grandparentage: 1 child, 1 or 2 grandparents, 1 parent
2 children, 1 or 2 grandparents, 1 parent
Sibling 2 siblings
3 siblings
Twin zygosity twins
Cousin 2 cousins
3 cousins
Aunt/uncle/niece/nephew 1 child, 1 aunt or uncle
2 children, 1 aunt or uncle

* Contact lab for information on different test participant combinations

Scheduling Appointments

Parentage testing is offered by appointment only. A physician’s order is not required. Test participants may come in for the appointment together or separately in any combination they wish.

Test participants must present a valid identification (driver’s license, employee or student ID, passport, birth certificate for infants or young children). Photographs will be obtained and registration, consent, and chain of custody forms will be completed.

Sample Collection

Samples in the form of blood or mouth swabs will be obtained from the test participants. While blood samples are preferred, mouth swabs have the advantage of being painless, and are useful in situations where blood drawing may be difficult, particularly in infants and children.

Reporting Results

Upon completion of testing, a written and signed report will be provided indicating the result in clear and explicit language, and which serves as a legal document in court. Test results will be sent to the designated test participant(s) and to other authorized parties, e.g. attorneys. For purposes of security, results will not be given over the telephone.

Expert Witness Testimony

Expert witness court testimony related to testing conclusions will be provided by the laboratory director when required.


We recognize that parentage testing is often required in situations where there is stress, anxiety, or even hostility. In keeping with our mission of serving patients with compassion and sensitivity, appropriate counseling is available as needed. Referral to mental health and spiritual professionals can be arranged upon request.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Who can request a parentage DNA test? — DNA testing can be requested without a doctor’s order by anyone over age 18. Patients are often referred by attorneys, or by judges through court orders.
  2. Does medical insurance cover the cost of DNA parentage testing? — No. Since parentage testing is not considered to be a medical diagnostic test, is not covered by medical insurance. However, the Illinois Department of Public Aid may pay for parentage testing for eligible clients.
  3. Do samples from family members need to be collected at the same time and place? — It is not uncommon for family members who are being tested to reside in separate households, even in different cities or states. Laboratory staff will assist and coordinate the collection of samples originating from different locations.
  4. How accurate is parentage DNA testing? — DNA testing is currently the most accurate and reliable method of determining parentage and kinship. For paternity testing, an exclusion is virtually 100% certain, while inclusion certainty exceeds 99.9%. However, the predictive power of DNA testing diminishes with the distance of relatedness between tested individuals or when samples from key family members are not available for testing.
  5. Are mouth swab samples as accurate and reliable as blood samples? — Yes, the DNA profile of an individual is identical regardless of the sample type.
  6. How long does it take to complete a DNA test? — The completion time for most cases is about 10 days.
  7. Are parentage DNA test results confidential? — Yes, all test results are confidential and are available only to the test participants. They are also provided to other authorized parties, such as attorneys and judges.
  8. Is DNA testing in any way affected by factors such as age, health, lifestyle, foods, drugs, medications? — No, none of these factors have any effect on the outcome of a DNA test.
  9. Is it necessary to submit a sample from the mother for a paternity DNA test? — A maternal sample is helpful but not necessary in order to perform a paternity test. We recommend a maternal sample whenever possible. However, if the mother declines to participate or is otherwise unavailable, samples from the child and alleged father only are completely acceptable.
  10. DNA paternity test kits are now available in pharmacies or can be ordered online. Are the results of these types of test as reliable as those that are collected in person at the testing site? — The testing process and accuracy of results are identical under both testing situations. However, only tests where sample collection is witnessed and the identity of the test participants properly verified (chain of custody) are considered to be legal and are admissible in court. Unwitnessed testing is generally less expensive and is typically done for personal curiosity, but has no legal status.

Call 877-RES-INFO for Nurse Advice, Doctor Referrals or Class Registration Monday - Friday 8 am to 8 pm • Saturday 8 am to 12pm

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