Back to the Knowledge Hub

Your Sampling Options

Knowledge Hub Sampling

All samples for legal testing must be taken by an independent, registered, medical professional or by one of Cellmark's trained samplers. You can use their own GP (if the GP is willing to take the samples) or select a surgery from a list we provide in your local area. We currently have access to over 700 GP surgeries across the UK who have agreed to take samples from non-registered patients. In addition, Cellmark has a dedicated network of mobile samplers who are able to visit a home or office address to take samples.

Often DNA relationship testing for Immigration purposes involves taking samples from individuals living both in the UK and overseas. Cellmark has contacts in over 50 countries around the world and this number continues to grow as we arrange appointments for our clients.

Arranging your sampling appointments

In the UK, if you chose to have your samples taken by a doctor, barcoded sampling kits are sent directly to the surgery in preparation for the sampling appointment(s). For all appointments made before 2pm, sampling kits are dispatched by first class post the same day. If your samples are to be taken by a Cellmark trained sampler the sampling team will contact you directly within 24-48 hours to arrange a convenient date and time for the sampling appointment(s) to take place. Individuals being sampled often live in different geographical locations and therefore it is very common for donors to attend different appointments in different locations.

For overseas appointments, the majority of our samplers hold a stock of sampling kits to minimise any delays with the sampling appointment taking place. Once a surgery has been selected, we will immediately email the sampler with the contact details for the family members overseas and the sampler will contact them to arrange the appointment. Once the samples have been collected, they are returned to Cellmark by courier at no additional cost.

What to expect at the appointment

Individuals must take 2 passport sized photographs or a form of photographic identification to the sampling appointment.  Photographs or photographic ID must be clear and recent and the sampler will endorse the photographs to confirm that they are a true likeness of the person attending the sampling appointment. For immigration cases, 2 passport photographs and a form of photographic ID must be taken. 

DNA Relationship Testing

The sampler will collect cheek cells by using a small swab (similar to a cotton bud/COVID swab) and rubbing this around the inside of the cheek and gums. This process takes no more than 30 seconds and is a simple, painless procedure.  At the sampling appointment, paperwork will be completed with the name, date of birth and signature of the donor and the doctor will also complete the paperwork with their details and signature. The sampler will then return the samples and paperwork to us directly using the prepaid return packaging included with the sampling kit. 

Hair drug and alcohol testing

Cellmark uses a team of professional samplers who visit solicitors’ offices and courts to take samples (blood and urine samples for supplementary alcohol marker analysis can be taken at the same time). The samplers are skilled at taking discrete samples and will ensure that the integrity and chain of custody of the sample is maintained.

When taking hair samples, the amount of hair we require for an accurate test is the approximately diameter of a standard drinking straw. This amount of hair is unlikely to give any considerable cosmetic concern to the donor.

Sampling for hair toxicology is a more intricate process and we strongly recommend that these types of samples are taken by a Cellmark trained sampler. If the hair is not cut close enough to the scalp or the sample is not aligned correctly when it has been taken, it can have a significant impact on the results of the testing.

Sampling fees

The costs for sampling are not covered in Cellmark’s DNA testing fee. For samples taken in UK GP surgeries the costs are determined by the individual surgeries but are approximately £40-£50. For samples taken overseas, the costs are approximately US $50 but this can vary depending on location.

For samples taken by Cellmark trained samplers, the costs are usually £90 + VAT for up to 3 individuals at the same location and this amount is added to the overall case fee. The costs for these sampling appointments can sometimes be more and this depends on location as additional surcharges may apply.

Cellmark's mobile sampling service

Cellmark trained samplers offer a quick and flexible approach to sampling appointments. Appointments are often completed within one week which is much quicker than GP appointments can be arranged.  For paternity and hair toxicology cases, the sampler will take a photograph of the donor at the sampling appointment which means the donor does not need to arrange photographs prior to the sampling appointment.

All samples taken by Cellmark samplers are returned to Cellmark by special delivery or using the tracked 24 service which enables us to monitor them in transit and ensure their safe arrival. All Cellmark trained samplers are experienced at taking samples in many different environments and are friendly and professional at all times.

If you'd like to discuss your sampling options in more detail call our friendly Customer Services team on 0800 036 2522 or email and a member of the team will be in touch.