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Information for the public

Established in 1987, Cellmark is the UK's most experienced DNA testing service.

Paternity testing is not a decision which should be entered into lightly. Please consider whether this is the best course of action, particularly for any children involved. It may help you to discuss the issues and possible outcomes with a third party, either a friend or family member or an independent advice service.

If you are representing yourself in court (as a 'Litigant in Person') Cellmark's experienced Customer Services team will assist you in getting the right test and provide reports that are accepted by the courts. For further information phone our team on 0800 036 2522

Once you have made the decision to proceed Cellmark can assure you that your case will be dealt with in a highly professional and ethical manner and we will do all we can to make the process as simple as possible for all involved.

DNA Relationship Testing

Relationship testing is undertaken using DNA analysis called Short Tandem Repeat (STR) profiling. A minimum of 22 STR tests are used to analyse a claimed relationship. In paternity cases when a mother, child and father are tested, Cellmark will either exclude the man with 100% certainty, or provide a probability of paternity in excess of 99.9999%.

Developments in the sensitivity of DNA analysis mean that your sample can be taken, simply and painlessly, using mouth swabs. For your test results to be accepted by the UK courts you will need to have the sampling to be taken by an independent person, someone who is either a medically qualified practitioner or a testing lab trained sampler, who has no financial interest in the outcome of the tests.

Any reputable DNA testing company, such as Cellmark, will be accredited by the Ministry of Justice as a body that may carry out parentage tests as directed by the civil courts in England and Wales under section 20 of the Family Law Reform Act 1969. This means that they abide by the terms of the Human Tissue Act, adhere to the Human Genetics Commission's 'Common Framework of Principles', their labs have the relevant ISO accreditation (ISO17025) and they market their services in an ethical manner.

Established in 1987 Cellmark pioneered the introduction of DNA analysis for paternity testing and has already undertaken DNA sampling for over 600,000 people - just like you.

What's included in the price?

The DNA testing market has become increasingly competitive and a number of companies are claiming to be the cheapest but make sure that you are comparing like for like - not all companies include the same details in their basic price. Cellmark includes the following in our standard price:

  • ALL sampling kits AND the cost of sending them to UK sampling locations.
  • Pre-paid return envelopes to safely transport the samples to our laboratory.
  • The cost of testing the samples once they have been received at our laboratory.
  • Our standard turn around time - NEXT (working) DAY - this covers paternity, immigration, sibling, avuncular and grandparentage tests - not just for paternity tests.
  • The cost of producing and delivering the final test report.
  • Our advice service for the duration of the case – before and after the final test report – accessible via email, FreePhone 0800 036 2522, and our web chat service.

Please note our standard fee does not cover the cost of taking the samples, these must be paid direct to the sampler at the sampling appointment. However if required we can arrange a pre-paid sampling appointment on your behalf.

Drug and Alcohol Testing

Hair drug and alcohol testing is an excellent and non-invasive means of detecting substance use over an extended period of time. Our fully validated in-house methodology is based on state-of-the art technology, using equipment which has been specifically selected to perform at the highest levels, enabling fast turn-around-times without compromising on quality. We exceed the guidelines for hair testing that have been published by the Society of Hair Testing that specify the markers to be tested for and the cut-off concentrations that need to be tested.

Guidance was set out in a 2010 judgement by Judge Moylan as to the use of hair strand testing for alcohol in Children's Act proceedings. The judgement sets out in detail the forms of hair strand testing currently available and is also of note as it provides a clear reminder to experts who produce reports within Children Act proceedings of their duties under the Practice Direction 'Experts in Family Proceedings Relating to Children' (2009) 2 FLR 1383.

Hair strand testing is generally still reliable to test for frequent and excessive consumption of alcohol. This has to be read with the caveats that:

  • It is still possible for a parent to seek to reduce the level of detection by either shampooing or bleaching their hair.
  • It is still possible that the level of detection may be increased by, for example, the use of products on the hair which contain alcohol, or as a result of other factors including through alimentary alcohol being present in food (e.g. some breads).
  • The "cut-offs" for frequent and excessive consumption have been set through empirical research and ROC analysis, and are set at a point where the results were understood to produce 10% false positive and 10% false negative results.
  • The analysis of the hair strand test results should be for a minimum period of three months.
  • When used, the tests should only form part of the evidential picture. However, where the results are 'very high' such results might form a 'significant part of the evidential picture'.

Litigants in person

With the changes in legal aid funding it has meant that many more people are having to represent themselves in court - in March 2013 the Master of the Rolls issued a Practice Guidance totalling 422 pages was issued to the Courts to ensure that LIPs receive equal treatment. The guidance has been summarised.

Excellent and more user-friendly advice can be found in a number of places:

  1. Guidance for lawyers by the Law Society, particularly Annex B is helpful for LIPs.
  2. As is the guidance offered by Child Law Advice's website.
  3. Cellmark's experienced Customer Services team is adept at assisting LIPs in getting the sort of testing they require and providing reports that are accepted by the courts.

What our private customers are saying . . .

May I take this time to thank you and your company for all the great service you have provided.

Your service is second to none. The process and customer service I receive was outstanding - I'm very proud of your service and will highly recommend it.

Thank you again, you are mighty professional. . . very impressed with your service.

From ensuring that you have the right information before commencing the process to understanding what the final test report means - we aim to provide assistance every step of the way.