Do you need consent from both parents for a DNA test?

The Human Tissue Act 2004 is applicable in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. It encompasses regulations pertaining to DNA testing. It governs activities involving the collection, storage, use, and disposal of human tissue for research, transplantation, education, and training purposes.

Section 45 of the Human Tissue Act addresses the unauthorized analysis of DNA and introduces a new offence termed DNA ‘theft’.

DNA Paternity Testing without Consent

Engaging in paternity testing without consent is considered a criminal offence across the entire United Kingdom. It is unlawful to possess material derived from the human body, containing human cells, with the purpose of DNA analysis for paternity testing without obtaining consent.

Consent is essential for DNA testing. It is a legal obligation for all individuals involved in the testing process to give their agreement. This requirement applies to all adults whose DNA samples will be used for the test.

Why the mother should take part in DNA testing?

What about DNA tests for children?

If the child is below 16 years old, consent for DNA testing can be given by a person with parental responsibility. However, if the child is capable of understanding the test and its potential consequences, their opinion should be considered. Even if it conflicts with the parent’s wishes! Legal advice might be needed in such situations.

For legally mandated paternity tests, the samples must be collected by an accredited test provider authorized by the Ministry of Justice. But what f the person with parental responsibility refuses to consent? A court order may still be pursued if the court deems it to be in the child’s best interest.

Drug and alcohol testing in child custody cases – how does it work?
At Atkinson Lewis we always follow this DNA Testing process:
sample collection for DNA testing
  • We follow strict legal protocols at every stage of paternity testing. So when we collect the sample, we’ll need to see a form of photographic ID. Examples we accept are passports or driving licences.  
  • The person tested will then be asked to sign a consent form, to confirm they gave the sample willingly and agreed to the test. 
  • If we’re testing a minor, the consent form is signed by an adult with parental responsibility. They’ll also need to supply ID. 

By following these steps, and the protocols set out for laboratory testing, we can minimise the risk of one party disputing the results. 

For more information on DNA testing please click here.

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