Code of Practice

In all cases of DNA testing Anglia DNA Services (“Anglia DNA”) will follow the principles and procedures set out below.

Our Code of Practice has been drafted in accordance with common law and legislation applicable to DNA testing* and ‘A Common Framework of Principles for direct-to-consumer genetic testing services’ (2010) which is intended to apply in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In some instances the law in Scotland is different and we have endeavoured to show these variations where appropriate.

* For example, the Human Tissue Act 2004 (the majority of which came into force in September 2006) Blood Tests (Evidence of Paternity) Regulations 1971 (as amended), Age of Legal Capacity (Scotland) Act 1971, Mental Capacity Act 2005, etc.


  1. Minimum Age of Persons Ordering a Test

Orders for a paternity/family relationship test (‘Test’) will only be accepted from persons who are at least 16 years of age.


  1. Information

It is our policy to provide as much information as we can to persons who are considering a Test on the nature and purpose of the Test and the natural degree of accuracy expected. Information is available from our website ( Our staff will be happy to answer any questions by telephone (01603 358161) or email ( It is our policy to provide full and clear results in our Test Reports and to provide further information or explanation if required.

In cases of DNA testing all persons to be tested need to consider the potential consequences of finding out the results of the Test especially for any children involved – in some cases the effects may be devastating – and it may be beneficial to seek counselling either before or after obtaining a Test. Counselling services are available from various organisations, for example Relate provides counselling in the UK (0300 100 1234 or


  1. Consent (General)
    • Before samples may be collected for a Test or the Test itself carried out, the appropriate consent (see further below) must be obtained (unless a court rules otherwise).
    • Consent is not consent if it is uninformed consent. The person giving consent must understand what they are consenting to – the type of test and what it will show. It is also important that they have given serious consideration to the implications of finding out the results of the Test – the consequences of which may be irrevocable.
    • Consent must be voluntary, i.e. the person giving consent must give consent of their own free will and must not be subjected to undue influence, pressure or threat of any kind.
    • Consent may be withdrawn at any time. If any party to a test subsequently withdraws their consent, Anglia DNA must be notified immediately and the processing of samples will be stopped. Anglia DNA fees will still be payable subject to our Terms and Conditions relating to ‘Payment and cancellation’.


  1. Consent (16 Years and Above)
    • No Test will be undertaken without the consent of each adult to be tested (unless a court has ruled otherwise). Each adult is required to sign the Consent Form.
      • An adult is someone who is 18 years or over.
      • A child of 16 or 17 years of age is presumed to be capable of giving consent and may give consent as if they were an adult. If they do not wish to make a decision either way, a person with Parental Responsibility for them (see paragraph 5.1.1 below) may consent on their behalf.
      • In Scotland, a person who is 16 or over has the legal capacity to consent for themselves.
    • Any Tests involving an adult who is not capable of giving consent will be considered on a case by case basis. Such testing will only be undertaken if Anglia DNA is satisfied that it is in the best interests of that person. Legal advice or a court ruling may be required.

In Scotland, a guardianship order from the Sheriff Court may authorise someone to take such decisions, or a court may consent for the incapacitated person.

  • Any DNA Tests involving an adult who is deceased require the consent of a close relative* unless the wishes of the deceased person are known (in which case, the deceased person’s wishes take precedence over the wishes of any living relatives).

*Under the Human Tissue Act 2004, consent in these circumstances must be given by someone who stood in a “qualifying relationship” with the deceased, which is defined as one of the following: spouse or partner, parent or child, brother or sister, grandparent or grandchild, nephew or niece, stepfather or stepmother, half-brother or half-sister, friend of longstanding.


  1. Consent (Under 16 Years)
    • If a child under 16 years of age is to be tested, then the mother or other person with Parental Responsibility for the child (see 4.1.1 below) may give consent on behalf of the child and is required to sign the Consent Form.

However, if the child is old enough and mature enough to understand the nature and consequences of the Test, their wishes should be sought and taken into consideration before the sample is collected. If the child’s wishes conflict with the parent’s wishes legal advice may be required.

Note: Since September 2006, a “competent” child, i.e. one who is old enough and mature enough to understand the nature and implications of the Test, may consent for themselves and their wishes cannot be overridden by a parent or other person with Parental Responsibility for them. The test of competency is based on the “Gillick” case (Gillick v West Norfolk and Wisbech Area Health Authority [1985] 3 All ER 402, HL) in which it was held that a doctor could provide medical advice to a child under 16 years without the approval (or even the knowledge) of the parent if the child was of “sufficient understanding and intelligence to be capable of making up his own mind”. It is not possible to state with certainty at what age a child might be expected to have the appropriate level of competency to consent, as all children are different and mature at different rates, but as a rough guide it is probable that most children of 12 years and over are likely to have the required competence and care should therefore be taken to ensure that their rights under the new Act are upheld.

5.1.1  Only persons with Parental Responsibility* for a child may give consent for a sample to be taken from that child and for a Test to be carried out (unless a court rules otherwise).

*The mother automatically has Parental Responsibility as does the father if he is married to the mother. The father may also have Parental Responsibility if he is on the birth certificate, provided the birth was registered (or re-registered) after 1st December 2003, or if he has a formal Parental Responsibility Agreement lodged with a court, or a Parental Responsibility Order or a Residence Order. Persons other than the parents may also have Parental Responsibility for a child (usually by Court Order). Legal advice should be sought for further clarification if required.

5.2   If a paternity Test is to be carried out for a child under 16 years, but the mother is not herself being tested*, then only the mother may consent for the child (unless a court rules otherwise) and her details should be given in the Consent Form. If the mother is no longer living or is no longer bringing up the child then the father (provided he has Parental Responsibility) or other person with Parental Responsibility for the child may consent for the child and their details should be given in the Consent Form [see also paragraph 8 below].

*It should be noted, that at present the Child Support Agency require all three parties to be tested – i.e. mother, father and child.

5.3 In Scotland, a child under the age of 16 may give consent themselves if in the opinion of the medical practitioner who is attending them* they have the capacity to understand the nature and possible consequences of the procedure (in which case, their wishes cannot be overridden by a parent or the local authority who has responsibility for them). If they do not have such capacity, any person with “parental responsibilities” (within the meaning of section 1(3) of Children (Scotland) Act 1995) in relation to a child or having care and control of child may consent for them. The consent of only one such person is required.

*For our purposes, this would include the person collecting the child’s sample, provided they are a medical practitioner (e.g. doctor, dentist).

5.4   Any Tests involving a child who is deceased requires the consent of a person who had Parental Responsibility for the child at the time of death (or if no-one had Parental Responsibility at the time of death, a person who stood in a “qualifying relationship” with the child – see 4.3 above).*

*Unless the deceased child’s decision to consent or decision not to consent was in force immediately before they died, in which case that decision takes precedence over the wishes of any living relatives.

5.5   Tests will not be undertaken where we have reason to believe that the person consenting for a child is not authorised to do so.


  1. Consent (Test Reports)

As well as consenting to the samples being taken and the Test being carried out, everyone tested should realise that they are also consenting to the results being issued to an authorised person (or persons).

Test reports will only be given to or discussed with:

  • the person nominated on the Consent Form to receive the results – the “Nominated Person”
  • other authorised persons, such as Child Support Agency or the Court which ordered the test (if applicable)
  • the legal representative(s) of the person(s) tested (if applicable) with the consent of the person(s) tested
  • other persons with the consent of everyone tested
  • any person tested (or, where person tested is a child, the mother or other person with Parental Responsibility [see 5.1.1] for the child), where those authorised to receive the results failed without good cause to pass on the results to those tested (see further below paragraph 9.2).

Apart from the report supplied to the Nominated Person, a fee may be charged for each additional report supplied to the persons mentioned above.


  1. “Best interests of the Child”

Paternity Tests will not be carried out where we have reason to believe that it may not be in the best interests of the child.

The parent or other person collecting the child’s sample are also under a legal obligation to consider the interests of the child and if they have reason to believe that the test may not be in the best interests of the child, they should not proceed with the sample collection.*

*Please note, if there is a conflict between the wishes of the child and the parent (see further paragraph 5.1 above) this may be an instance where to proceed would not be in the best interests of the child.


  1. Procedure for Sample Collection for DNA Tests

In order that we can be reasonably satisfied that the samples delivered to us came from the right persons, everyone being tested (and the mother of any child being tested) is required to supply a copy of an ID document containing their signature (for example, passport, UK driving licence, building society book - please contact us for other documents which may be used). Except where a competent child has signed for themselves, copies of ID documents for children need not contain signatures - copy of any available ID document (such as birth certificate) may be provided.

When a person other than the mother has consented for a child and the mother is not herself being tested (see paragraph 5.2 above), they must provide documentary evidence of Parental Responsibility (for example, copy of court order granting Parental Responsibility or, in the case of the father, copy of marriage certificate if he was married to mother or copy of birth certificate if he is on birth certificate and the birth was registered after 1st December 2003). In addition, the reason why mother is unable to consent must be given in the Consent Form and supporting evidence provided (e.g. copy of death certificate)*.

*In some circumstances, documentary evidence may not be available (for example, when a mother’s whereabouts are unknown). In such cases, a signed and dated statement from a close relative, GP, solicitor, social worker, police (if missing person case filed), or other person able to verify assertion that mother cannot be contacted, would be satisfactory.

DNA SAMPLES RETURNED WITHOUT REQUIRED DOCUMENTATION (or where no payment has been made) will not be processed and may be destroyed after receipt by the laboratory. We will endeavour to contact the client to supply the missing item/information, before destroying the samples.

Note: It is a serious offence punishable by imprisonment to personate another person for the purpose of providing a bodily sample (or to present the wrong child for that purpose).


  1. Confidentiality

9.1   All information supplied by persons to be tested shall be kept in the strictest confidence and only for as long as is necessary to adequately carry out the Test, report the results and comply with the requirements of accreditation.

Once the Test Report has been issued to the Nominated Person:

  • any DNA mouth swabs will be destroyed by incineration after one month unless otherwise arranged with us
  • any extracted DNA will be destroyed by incineration after six months unless otherwise arranged with us
  • paper copies of personal data and test reports will be destroyed by shredding after twelve months unless otherwise arranged with us
  • electronic data will be disposed of securely after twelve months unless otherwise arranged with us

9.2 Everyone being tested is entitled to know the results of the test, but the results will only be given to the Nominated Person or other authorised person(s) as listed in paragraph 6 above. It is the responsibility of the Nominated Person to ensure that everyone tested receives the results. However, if the Nominated Person has without reasonable excuse failed to pass on the results to all the persons tested, we reserve the right to issue results directly or to discuss results with any person tested (or where the person tested is a child, to issue results to and/or to discuss the results with the mother or other person with Parental Responsibility [see 5.1.1] for the child).

Test reports will be emailed to the Nominated Person and/or other authorised person(s). Where details of reports are given over the telephone or by electronic means, all reasonable steps will be taken to establish their identity before disclosing results to the person(s) listed at paragraph 6 above. Hard copies of the report are available upon request, additional charges will apply.


  1. Risk to Staff, Clients and Donors

We take the safety of our Staff, Clients and Donors very seriously, and if we as a Company feel that anyone could be at risk due to taking part in a DNA test we reserve the right to withdraw our services.