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0131 516 3966

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We list here some common questions and their answers.

If you have any questions not in our FAQs or if you would like to discuss a case or a point of order, please feel free to call us on either 0131 516 3966 or 0131 240 1280 or e-mail to

We have also provided a Glossary of common terms that you may see in paternity testing reports. You can view this online (see footer) or download it as a .pdf.

  • What does dadcheck®scotland actually do?

    Using the latest DNA testing technology, we provide genetic tests to decipher close human biological relationships. Most often, we work out whether or not an individual male is the biological father of a particular child. This is also called a paternity test.

    Each and every one of us is unique. This uniqueness comes from our genetic code, which we have inherited equally from our biological mother and biological father. The dadcheck®scotland paternity test detects the presence of regions of this unique genetic code (shown as discrete bands), which can then be used to determine if individuals are related or not. We analyse the genetic code and display the results from tested people such that we can see if every band in the child is also present in the parents. If so, there is a good chance that the child and parents are biologically related.

    We can also offer tests to examine relatedness between siblings (full or half), uncles and aunts (to nieces and nephews) and grand-parentage tests (to grandchildren).

    These are often requested for example, in inheritance cases or when the alleged father is unavailable.

    We also conduct tests to support immigration applications, which tend to require both paternity and maternity tests.

  • How do you work with the Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB)?

    Our charges and service reflect the guidance within the guidelines set by the Scottish Legal Aid Board, hence for most of the cases you have with us, prior authority for higher charges from the SLAB should not be required.

    You (as Lead Body and contracting party) must discuss with us beforehand if you or any other party to the case are likely to be applying for a legal aid certificate.  This is because the LAA will apportion costs across a number of certificates (with a letter of authority for each) and we may be able to assist the Lead Body by directly issuing correctly apportioned invoices to the parties.  Responsibility for the entire payment with respect to the case still however resides with the Lead Body as part of the Contract between Complement Genomics Ltd (dadcheck®scotland) and the Lead Body (the test ordering party).

    A DNA test is defined as “[alleged] father and child (plus mother if required)”. On occasion, there is more than one alleged father or child to be tested.

  • Court Ordered testing.

    If your test is court ordered, then please provide a copy of the Court Order for our records. As we appreciate that events can move quite quickly, we may on occasion accept a written deposition from the Lead Body that the Court Order is in process.

  • How accurate is the dadcheck®scotland paternity test?

    “Accuracy” is often confused with “certainty”. All of our tests are accurate. You and your clients need to know the level of certainty, which in the case of an inclusion, we give as a probability of paternity (see Glossary).

    A dadcheck®scotland paternity test proves that a tested man is the father of a child with greater than 99.999% certainty (if the mother is involved in the testing process). Please note that this figure can be reduced if the mother of the tested child does not participate in the test.

    Conversely, a dadcheck®scotland paternity test proves with 100% certainty if a man is not the father of a child.

  • What is the consent form?

    All adults giving a cell sample for a dadcheck®scotland DNA test must give their consent for the test by signing the consent form which we will provide with the sampling kit.

    In accordance with s2(4) of the Age of Legal Capacity (Scotland) Act 1991, if a child under the age of 16 years is able to prove to any qualified medical practitioner that they are capable of understanding the consequences of the DNA test, they will have the legal capacity to sign consent on their own behalf.

    If not, we will need the consent of a person with Parental Responsibilities and Rights for the child to sign on their behalf. (See below FAQ explaining Parental Responsibilities and Rights.)

    An individual may withdraw their consent (or their consent on behalf of a child) at any time during the testing process.

    You should be aware that it is a serious offence for any of your clients to personate another body for the purpose of providing a bodily sample or to proffer the wrong child for that purpose.  This is punishable by imprisonment.

  • How long does a dadcheck®scotland DNA test take and how can I track the progress of my case?

    From the time we receive all of the samples into the laboratory, the test will take approximately 5 to 10 working days (unless you have opted for either of our Premium Testing Services).

    To check on the progress of a test, please call the dadcheck®scotland case line on 0131 516 3966 and quote your unique case reference number e.g. DCX#### (where #### is a four digit number), which you will be allocated on confirmation of your order (you will find this in all associated case paperwork).

    If enquiring by telephone, you will be asked a number of security questions for ID purposes before any information relating to the case is shared.

  • What are Parental Responsibilities and Rights (PRRs)?

    Parental Responsibilities and Parental Rights (PRRs) are defined in section 1 and section 2 respectively of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995.

    Section 1 (Parental Responsibilities)

    Where practical and in the best interests of the child, an adult is responsible for:

    • Protection and promotion of the child’s health, development and welfare
    • Provision of appropriate direction and guidance
    • Maintenance of direct contact and a relationship with the child
    • Acting as the child’s legal representative.

    Section 2 (Parental Rights)

    In order to fulfil the above responsibilities, the individual is also given correlative parental rights to the child. These are:

    • A right to co-habit with the child, or otherwise regulate the child’s residence
    • Appropriate control, direction or guidance upon the child’s upbringing
    • Allowance to maintain personal relations and regular contact with the child
    • To act as the child’s legal representative.

    Where a child’s parents are married to each other at the time of the child’s conception, each parent will have PRRs for the child. If they marry one other at any point subsequently, both parents will have PRRs for the child. However, if a child’s parents are not married to each other, only the mother shall automatically have PRRs for the child.

    In accordance with the Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006, where the parents of a child are not married to one other, the father will acquire PRRs if he acts with the mother to have his name recorded on the child’s birth certificate should the child have been born after 4th May 2006. This does not affect children born before this date.

    An unmarried father will not be able to claim PRRs unless he does it by:

    • Marrying the child’s mother, or
    • Filling in a form called a Parental Responsibilities and Parental Rights Agreement (PRPRA) with mother’s consent, or
    • Asking the court to give them to him.

    Persons other than parents may acquire PRRs by appointment as a guardian or by an order of the court.

    The latter means either a Care Order or an Interim Care Order granted to the Council. Hence a designated representative of the Council may have PRRs and may authorise the collection of a DNA samples without reference to the mother or alleged father.

    If the Council will be consenting on behalf of a child, then we would expect to see a copy of any Care Order or Interim Care Order (plus any renewals).

    Note that in the event a minor is deemed competent to understand the consequences of a DNA test, in the opinion of a medical professional, they will be able to sign consent on their own behalf. This consent – or non-consent – of the minor should prevail over the consent – or non-consent – of any individual with PRRs for them, though this has not yet been explicitly determined by the Scottish Courts.

  • What about a dadcheck®scotland test involving only one parent?

    The dadcheck®scotland paternity test is conclusive (a Probability of Paternity greater than 99.999%) if we can test all three of the child, mother and alleged father.

    A test without a sample from the mother will not provide the same degree of certainty as a test with samples from both parents.

    Similarly, for immigration purposes, a maternity test will be less conclusive if we are unable to test the father.

    However, for various reasons, it is not always possible to gain access to both parents. For example, we have had court ordered tests where the mother has agreed to the test but then cannot be contacted by the local authority for an appointment. In such cases, and upon instruction from the ordering party, we are obliged to proceed with the child and the alleged father only.

    In any event, the alleged father may be excluded from parentage with 100% certainty whether the mother participates or not.

  • Does sampling hurt?

    The sample will be taken by one of our collectors by gently rubbing a soft swab around the inside of the mouth. The procedure is simple and painless and can be used on very young children and babies.

  • How are sample donors identified at the time of sampling?

    The donor must provide two passport-size photographs and the person taking the sample, ‘the sampler’, must sign them on the back, certifying that the sample has been taken from the person in the photograph. If at a later date, there is any debate over the identity of the person who donated a sample for testing, then one of the photographs and a copy of the donor’s consent form may be provided to the disputing party/organisation concerned for clarification e.g. for legal/court cases or immigration.

    We also require your client to bring such documentation as is available to prove their identity, preferably a photo ID. This could be for example, a passport, driving licence, Armed Forces Identity Card, bank card/statement, utility bill (with home address), birth certificate or UK Borders Agency documentation.

    We will generally re-photograph individual donors at the time of sampling.

    Please note that is NOT necessary for all individuals who are giving a sample to all be present together at the same sampling venue at the same time or indeed to be in the same place for sampling.

    However, at the time of sampling, a child who is under 16 MUST be accompanied by the person with Parental Responsibilities and Rights, as indicated on the consent form.

    In some cases, sample donors do not have any identification at all. We must then rely on the relationship with case workers from say Social Services or the solicitor. We will provide documentation for signature to that effect.

  • What will the dadcheck®scotland paternity report say?

    All adult parties taking part in the test are entitled to receive their own copy of the test report. All original reports are sent to the contracting party for distribution. The reports are in a standardised format, which complies with relevant legislation* and either excludes the alleged father or provides evidence that he is indeed the tested child’s biological parent.

    If the dadcheck®scotland paternity test is negative (that is, the tested man is not the child’s biological father), the report will say:

    ‘Based on the analysis of 15 independent autosomal DNA markers, Mr Hugh Izzit has been excluded as the biological father of Teresa Green because greater than two of Mr Hugh Izzit’s DNA components are absent from the DNA profile of Teresa Green. In summary, Mr Hugh Izzit is not the biological father of the child, Teresa Green’.

    If the dadcheck®scotland paternity test is positive (that is, the tested man is likely to be the father), the report will say:

    The probability of paternity is 99.999% (assuming equal prior odds) based on the analysis of 15 independent DNA markers. Hence the alleged father, Mr Hugh Izzit, cannot be excluded as the biological father of Teresa Green.

    The DNA results are ‘X’** thousand times more likely if Mr Hugh Izzit rather than an unrelated male is the biological father of Teresa Green. In summary it is more than 99% likely that the alleged father Mr Hugh Izzit, is the biological father of Teresa Green’.

    * The Family Law Reform Act 1969 as amended by The Family Law Reform Act 1987 and The Family Law Reform Act 1987 (commencement No.3) order 2001 and The Children Act 1989.

    **The value of ‘X’ will vary between cases but will usually exceed 50,000.

    In the case of two children being tested in the same case, the DNA test results can be different between the two children. This is not cause for concern, since unless they are identical twins, they will not inherit the same DNA markers from either parent.

  • What will the dadcheck®scotland DNA test report say if other relationships are being examined?

    It serves well to remember that no indirect relationship test will give a conclusive result akin to a paternity test. So sibling, avuncular, and grand-parentage tests can give an indication of a biological relationship, but must be taken together with other evidence if a relationship is to be surmised.

    For example, full siblings have the same biological mother and father. Half siblings share only one biological parent, which can either be the mother or the father.

    Our sibling-ship analysis begins with the assumption that the half sibling or full sibling relationship is equally likely (50% probability). The DNA evidence we derive is used to test the two hypotheses. One will usually be shown to be more strongly in support of a particular hypothesis, rather than the other. If we show a probability in excess of 80 %, then that will support a particular hypothesis, for example, that the individuals are more likely to be related as full, rather than half, siblings. More powerful statistics are generated when one of the biological parents is available for testing.

    On occasion we may gain an inconclusive result. That is, we can demonstrate a relationship but that the evidence does not strongly support one or the other hypothesis.

    Sometimes a potential half sibling relationship may effectively be excluded yet still be related, because they have by chance not inherited sufficient of the shared parents DNA.

    Any data we derive will be reviewed by one of our a senior geneticists and our final report will clarify these points for you.

    Testing of cousins is not recommended, as the relationship is too distant for a conclusive result to be presented. We do not perform such testing.

  • Could a close male relative be the father?

    The true biological father of a child will match at all of the paternal markers tested. It is the case that we are often asked to test, for example, if the presumed father’s brother (the child’s uncle) is the father of the child or that the presumed father’s own father (the child’s grandfather) is the father of the child.

    If you suspect this may be the case with your client, you must let us know…we will take this into account in the analysis. If we determine an inclusion (positive result), in the report we will discuss; a) the probability that the tested man is the child’s true biological father (as opposed to being unrelated) and b) the probability that the tested man is related to the child but not as the child’s biological father. This could be as a paternal uncle, grandfather or paternal half brother, for example.

    On occasion you may not know or suspect this to be the case and it may be revealed by a DNA analysis. Such a possibility arises by observing at least one or two mis-matches between the tested male and the child (we need at least three mis-matches to conclude he is not the father). Our report will consider that the tested male is; a) a close male relative of the true biological father and b) is the biological father and that there are rare DNA change(s). Indeed, the latter illustrates why the mother should participate. We can immediately identify the mothers’ contribution to the child’s profile such that the remainder must come from the father; we are then working with the child’s paternal DNA component only.

  • How do you communicate the results of a dadcheck®scotland test?

    We correspond with the contracting party and will only discuss work with others if we have written permission to do so from the contracting party.

    In cases where we have a legal instruction (solicitor, barrister, local authority), we will only deal with that party and will not deal with your client directly.

    However, please note that all individuals who have signed consent on their own behalf – including competent children under 16 – who have provided a sample for a paternity/DNA test are entitled to receive a written copy of the results.  This also includes the person who has Parental Responsibilities and Parental Rights for any child who cannot understand the consequences of the testing, even if that person has not taken part directly in the testing themselves.

    Results, in the form of a dadcheck®scotland report, will be generally dispatched by first class post (or other means as instructed).  Extra charges will apply if other means of postage (e.g. next day delivery/courier) are used.

  • How do you manage payment for a dadcheck®scotland test?

    In the case of a court order, it is sometimes specified that the costs will be shared between the parties. With respect to Complement Genomics Ltd, the entity placing the order with us (the contracting party or Lead Body) is responsible for payment of the entire fee, on 30 days terms.

    It is also your (e.g. the contracting solicitor) responsibility to distribute the test results to your clients and to the other parties involved in the test.

    However, to allow for the practicalities, especially if an application for a Scottish Legal Aid Board certificate has been approved or is being made, then we may agree to “split invoicing”. That is, we will issue you with invoices for distribution to the other parties, so that they may pay us directly for their share.

    This will hopefully reduce your administrative burden but please be aware, that although a Court Order may state that the costs are to be shared, under our Terms and Conditions of Sale, the ultimate responsibility for the whole bill rests with the ordering party (or Lead body), including any part shares where one party has not paid after 60 days. Whilst this is not ideal, we hope it helps to move the process along.

  • Who will collect the cell samples for the DNA test?

    Our preference is for dadcheck®scotland (Complement Genomics Ltd) staff to undertake the sampling. This may not always be possible and hence we maintain a list of registered samplers. If there is one of these in the area of the donor(s) we will arrange for the samples to be taken.

    If this is not possible, then the client may attend their own GP or a local health clinic. In the latter case, you or your clients (the donor) will be directly responsible for any fees the sampler may charge. The recommended fee is £37.50 per donor, though some may charge more depending upon individual pricing, travel arrangements and time taken to get to the appointment, if applicable.

    For immigration cases, the nearest British High Commission may be amenable to taking the sample from your client and we will send them the sampling kit and instructions. We already have good relations with several of these offices and so may be able to assist.

  • What happens to the results?

    After we have sent out the DNA test reports, we store your client’s DNA samples for three months. After this period, they are taken for incineration (destruction). All associated case paperwork and records are kept for one year and then destroyed. We are registered under the 1998 Data Protection Act. You can find more information about how we protect your client’s privacy by reading our Privacy and Cookie policy.

  • What quality systems do you have in place to make sure samples are not mixed up?

    Our team of highly skilled and qualified scientists adhere to strict laboratory requirements of the international quality standard, ISO/IEC 17025 (an accreditation for testing and calibration laboratories). Included in this is the requirement for all work to be witnessed and double-checked by a second competent member of scientific staff. We have every confidence in our team and supporting Quality Management System and as such, should you have reasonable cause for doubt, we are happy to repeat any case should your client require confirmation.

    On occasion, we are asked to reinterpret their data files from tests conducted by other laboratories. Unfortunately, we are not prepared to do this. If you are unsure of the data from another laboratory and wish to have it checked, we would need to register a new case in our system and repeat the entire sampling and analysis procedure.

  • What about DNA testing in surrogacy arrangements?

    The use of overseas surrogate mothers by British couples is increasingly common. Surrogacy contracts (if indeed there is one) are not enforced by UK law and are only legally binding in a small number of countries. These situations can be both highly complex and given the nature of the arrangement, emotionally highly charged.

    If you are considering entering into a surrogacy contract you will find it can be a lengthy and complicated process and besides the obvious issue of the new child’s passport and nationalisation, is the need for a UK based parental order that transfers legal rights from the surrogate mother.

    In the UK, the law says that the mother of a child is the woman who gives birth to that child and the father is the man she is married to at the time of conception. Therefore, if the overseas surrogate mother is married, although the prospective parents’ names should be on the child’s birth certificate (given a parental order has been agreed), the child is not necessarily recognised as automatically eligible for British nationality.

    The prospective parents must apply to the Home Office for registration of the child as a British citizen before applying for a UK passport. On the other hand, if the surrogate mother is single, such an application to the Home Office is unnecessary provided that the father has provided evidence that he is genetically related to the child.

    There are two types of surrogacy which present different legal implications:

    The first, “traditional” surrogacy, or artificial insemination, involves insertion of sperm into the fallopian tube of the surrogate mother, who will consequently be the biological mother of the child. As a result, the surrogate mother must agree to a series of legal obligations transfer her rights as the parent of the child to the individual(s) who have opted for surrogacy.

    The second, “gestational” surrogacy, more commonly known as in vitro fertilisation (IVF), involves implantation of an externally fertilised embryo where the biological parents do not involve the participation of the surrogate mother; therefore the child and the surrogate mother are biologically independent of one another. Whilst the embryo may have one, both, or neither parents as participants in the surrogacy, under UK law the mother and father of the child is the woman who gives birth to the child and the man she is married to at the time of conception.

    Both of these possibilities require the use of accredited DNA paternity testing, as this is imperative to confirm the biological father of the child and, ideally, also the biological parentage of the mother if the surrogacy is gestational.

    If you are involved in such an arrangement and need a DNA test, please contact us and ask to speak specifically to the company CEO Louise Allcroft, who is an expert in these matters.

  • Information for mediators

    We work closely with providers of family mediation to help you quickly resolve issues of parentage via the use of a DNA test. We can help with advice on the DNA test and on the consents for the test, including issues relating to who has Parental Responsibilities and Rights for a particular child. We will also co-ordinate sample collection. If you become aware of the likely need for a paternity test during your consultations with the family, please contact us as soon as possible.

  • How do I order an immigration test?

    We conduct many immigration associated DNA tests for both private clients and those represented by the legal profession. We liaise with Embassies and British High Commissions all over the world and will provide advice on consent and the identification of the individual to be tested. We co-ordinate sample collection. It is vital that we see any correspondence that you or your client may have had with the authorities (e.g. the Home Office), so that we can make sure you have the correct test conducted in the proper manner.

  • Sample collection service

    We operate a nationwide service with an extensive network of trained collectors. We arrange sample collection locations and times which are convenient to your clients.

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We are one of only a few companies in the UK which are able to provide a DNA testing service suitable for legal purposes. The dadcheck® service is accredited by the Ministry of Justice as a body that may carry out parentage tests directed by the civil courts of England and Wales under section 20 of the Family Law Reform Act 1969.

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