Specimen Collections

PTC Laboratories has an extensive network of laboratory partnerships to provide specimen collections at a location near you. Click here for a map of locations.

Collections for paternity testing

Type of Specimens Tested

PTC Laboratories must receive a sample of your DNA in order to perform your paternity test. In a standard trio test, DNA specimens are collected from the mother, the child and the alleged father.

Most often PTC uses buccal swabs (short stemmed, sterile cotton Q-tips), rubbed up and down on the inside of the cheek of your mouth, to collect loose skin cells. PTC uses two swabs on each side of the mouth. The laboratory tests the DNA in those cells.

PTC can also test DNA from blood, and from other body fluids and body tissues. Please call us if you have questions about types of samples that can be used, or to discuss any unusual samples that you need tested. Your DNA is the same throughout your body so, as long as we are able to obtain DNA from the specimen, the accuracy and outcome of your test are not affected by using different types of specimens to obtain the DNA sample.

Setting up the Specimen Collection

If you want your DNA paternity test to be admissible in court, or usable for other official purposes such as Social Security benefits or health insurance, then you will need to have your DNA specimens collected at a local collection facility, which will be arranged by PTC Laboratories. For a separate fee, that facility will collect your DNA specimens and will follow chain of custody procedures that assure that your DNA paternity test will be acceptable for official purposes.

Once you set up your DNA paternity test with PTC Laboratories, we will make a DNA specimen collection appointment for you. Your DNA specimen may be collected at any of over 2,000 facilities throughout the United States. PTC will be able to obtain an appointment at a facility near you. During your DNA paternity test set-up, the PTC Laboratories Client Services Representative will identify a facility convenient to you. You will give PTC Laboratories’ Client Services Representative a couple of possible times that are convenient for you to go in for your DNA specimen collection, and PTC Laboratories will make your appointment.

It is not necessary to collect all parties that are doing the DNA paternity test at the same time, or at the same facility, or even in the same city or state.

Paying for the Specimen Collection

Most often the client will pay PTC Laboratories directly for specimen collection. In some cases, the cost of collection is included in the overall price of the DNA test.

Specimen Collection in the privacy of your Home

In many parts of the country, it is possible to pay a little extra to have someone come to your home to perform the DNA specimen collection. The full chain of custody procedures would be followed, and the DNA paternity test would still be able to be used for official purposes.

On the other hand, if you do not want a DNA paternity test that can be used in court or for other official purposes, then you can collect the DNA specimens at home yourself, and avoid the cost of the DNA specimen collection process. PTC Laboratories will send you a DNA specimen collection kit with instructions.

However, if you collect the DNA specimens yourself then there will be no chain of custody for the DNA specimens, and PTC Laboratories will have no way to prove whose DNA specimens they actually are. Because of that, if you collect the DNA specimens yourself, the paternity report from PTC Laboratories will refer only to the first names of the people being DNA tested, and will state that there is no independent verification of the source of the specimens. If at a later time you determine that you need an official DNA paternity test, then you will have to pay for another paternity test.