Maternity DNA Test Guide

Maternity DNA Test Summary
What: Maternity DNA tests determine if two people have a mother-child relationship.
Who: Anyone who wishes to confirm their biological relationship with their mother or child can use a maternity DNA test. The DNA of the biological father is also helpful in this test.
Where: Tests are available in facilities worldwide, and test kits can also be ordered online.
When: A maternity DNA test can be done at any time.
How: DNA is collected and analyzed in a lab.
Type: DNA collection uses a buccal swab. Tests are informational or legal.
Why: Maternity DNA tests can help resolve any questions of maternity.
Time: Test results average approximately three to five days.
Language: Not applicable.
Preparation: No special preparation is needed, though anyone submitting to a buccal swab may want to rinse their mouth with water prior to the test.
Cost: Costs range from just over $100 to just under $500 for a basic test of two parties.

By: Erin Hasinger, Tests.com


Maternity DNA tests are used to prove a biological relationship between a mother and her child. Maternity DNA tests may be used in situations such as adoption, immigration, in vitro fertilization confirmation or even to see if a possible baby switch has occurred in a hospital nursery.


Maternity DNA testing works by comparing the mother’s DNA pattern with the child’s. When available, the biological father’s DNA is also tested. Including the father’s DNA helps to exclude half of the child’s DNA so that only the mother’s half has to be compared. Fatherless maternity DNA tests can be done, but they may cost a bit more to cover the additional analysis. During analysis, the mother’s DNA is compared with the child’s. The similarities in the DNA helps to determine the likelihood of a parent-child relationship.


DNA is collected using a buccal swab, which simply means from the mouth. Generally, a cotton swab is swiped against the inside of one’s cheek. DNA may also be collected using a blood sample with a finger prick, though a buccal swab tends to be the preferred option because it is far easier to collect.


Maternity DNA tests can be done by a DNA testing lab, or they can be done at home using a test kit. Two forms of maternity DNA testing exist: informational and legal. An informational test is just that, one that is simply for personal knowledge. If the test is needed for legal purposes, a chain of custody will have to be established. Generally, the DNA testing agency will require a witness to observe or take the DNA sample, sign a legal document and be responsible for mailing the test kit to the laboratory. A legal DNA test must also be performed in a laboratory that is accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks.


Once the DNA sample is received by the testing facility, test results will take approximately three to five days to be determined. This time frame varies depending on the company, but tends to average three to five days. Some organizations offer a rush on test results for an additional fee and can provide results in as few as 24 hours. Once the maternity results have been determined, an official test result report typically is mailed to the requester’s home address, though some companies offer online test results before the official report is received. Some companies may only offer online test results, but usually will provide a hard-copy report for an additional fee.


Maternity test costs vary, and factors influencing the cost include:


-    The company providing the maternity testing services

-    If the sample is self-collected or collected in a medical facility

-    Shipping rates

-    Additional family members

-    Including the father in testing

-    Rush on results


Prices range from $120 to $475 for the testing of one parent and one child. Prices increase when factors such as those listed above are in place.


For more information about maternity DNA testing or to find a home test kit, please visit the  Maternity DNA Test Directory.