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What is a Maternity Test?

Maternity DNA testing determines whether a woman is the biological mother of a child, in the same way a paternity DNA test establishes the biological relationship between father and child. A maternity test compares a child’s DNA pattern with that of the alleged mother to determine the probability that the child has inherited the DNA from the alleged mother.  The DNA samples are collected by a simple and painless mouth swab. The samples are then returned to the lab for DNA extraction and processing. Results are delivered in ONE business day after our testing laboratory receives all needed DNA samples.

In a maternity test, only the child and the alleged mother are tested. Our maternity test is 100% accurate and provides conclusive results regarding the relationship. 

The results can be provided for either personal information or court/legal use depending on the test ordered.

How accurate is a Maternity DNA test?

We guarantee we provide the most accurate DNA maternity test available.

most accurate grandparent dna testMaternity DNA testing is based on the statistical probability that two or more people are related by bloodlines as the biological mother and child. The industry standard for testing of this type compares 16 alleles to attempt to arrive at the conclusion if a mother and child relationship exists. 

The challenges and limitations with this approach is that when using so little genetic material, it may be difficult to arrive at a 100% accurate result because a mother and child only share 50% of the same DNA. All humans share 99.9% of the same DNA, which means that only .10% can be used to determine the answer as to whether a woman is the biological mother of a particular child.

When only 13-16 markers are being considered, there is a possibility that a false positive could be a potential outcome. Journey Genetic Testing holds the position that there are just not enough markers tested in a standard test to feel confident about the results. This is why we use up to 50% more alleles than some other companies, or state agencies, to perform the DNA testing.  Our maternity tests utilize controlled, validated, short tandem repeat (STR) testing procedures and 24 loci order to achieve 100% accurate results. The alleged father is not necessary for accurate maternity testing results.

24 markers tested means a more accurate result. It's a scientific fact.

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Maternity Test FAQ's

Our at home maternity DNA tests are 100% accurate, and are performed with only the possible mother and child. The father's DNA sample is not needed. 

Our labs run all DNA tests twice to confirm results, and the answers we provide are 100% accurate based on the DNA profiles of those being tested.

It takes 1 business day to complete testing and email results for standard DNA maternity testing, once the lab has received all testing parties samples. 

Your maternity test results will be sent to the email address that was provided on the order form. They are sent securely and are in a PDF format.  You will need a PDF reader to view them. We suggest Adobe reader which is secure and free to download. Your results can be opened and viewed, printed, or forwarded depending on your choice to share the information. Only the ordering party, or designated email(s) will receive a copy of the report.

We also provide a booklet that explains in more detail some of what you may see on your report. 

USPS Priority mail is our primary method of sending printed sibling test results, if requested at the time of the order. 

We maintain your privacy every step of the way. All results and information are deleted from our system 30 days after the results are delivered to you (we keep the reports for 30 days in case you have any questions). We never sell or give your information to anyone, including government and private/public databases. No one will ever know this test was done unless you provide them the information.

DNA testing is not covered by health insurance or Medicaid because it is not a “medically necessary procedure.” 

To test DNA for determination of maternity and other family relationships, buccal swab samples are used almost exclusively as the source of the DNA. Buccal swabs are cheek cell samples that are collected by gently rubbing cotton swabs on the inside of the mouth. DNA is then extracted at the lab, and the genetic profiles are compared to determine if enough of the genetic markers match. There must be a match on more than 22 of the 24 markers to be the biological mother.

Swabs are as accurate as blood. Our swab tests are more than 99.9% accurate, which is the same in case of blood samples.

When we say the probability of paternity is 99.99% for example, we mean that the tested woman is 99.99% more likely to be the biological mother than another woman chosen at random from her same ethnic group. The CMI, or combined maternity index, is a calculation that helps us arrive at the probability of maternity.

Maternity DNA testing is often requested in the following situations:

  • Resolving controversy that sometimes occurs in hospital nurseries
  • Providing life-long peace of mind after returning home from the hospital
  • Proving an adoptee’s relationship with his/her biological birth mother
  • Proving a maternal relationship for immigration
  • Confirming accuracy for in-vitro fertilization
  • Reuniting of a mother and her child in the case of adoption, abandonment, or kidnapping

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Please click and read this if you are looking to confirm a relationship indicated by an ancestry test

Maternity Tests May Be Necessary For Many Reasons

There are many situations when taking a DNA maternity test may necessary. Some of the most common reasons are listed below.

Immigration.  DNA maternity testing for immigration purposes is typically requested by U.S. citizens who are sponsoring their biological mother or child in an immigrant visa, citizenship or passport application and who have been requested by U.S. immigration authorities to provide additional evidence of their biological relationship.  Our partner laboratory is AABB accredited and we can assist you through this process.

Native American tribal enrollment.  To accept an individual as a blood member—and thus to qualify them for tribal benefits—many Native American tribes require a DNA test that proves that the individual is the biological child of an existing member.  Maternity DNA testing is often used for this purpose, even when other medical records, including the child’s birth certificate, state that the existing member is the child’s biological mother.

Surrogacy.  A surrogate mother is a woman who carries and gives birth to a child for another person or couple. When the surrogate mother is unrelated to the child, it is referred to as gestational surrogacy, which is accomplished through in vitro fertilization.  In gestational surrogacy cases,  it is important to perform maternity DNA testing to make sure that the child’s biological mother is the intended mother and not the surrogate mother (due to natural conception) or another egg donor (due to a mix-up at the laboratory or medical facility).  DNA testing for surrogacy cases is performed after the child is born.

Hospital Baby Swap.  Occasionally, a mother, family member, or hospital staff member suspects that a mistake in the maternity ward may have occurred.  A DNA maternity test between the mother(s) and child(ren) involved is performed to confirm maternity.

Adoption Reunion.   In these cases, an adopted child who believes they may have located their birth mother can confirm if this is indeed true.

International Adoption.  In these cases, a couple is seeking to adopt a child who is a citizen of another country.  In certain countries or situations in which adoption fraud or corruption is suspected or has been historically observed, maternity DNA testing may be required to confirm that the woman who is willingly putting a child up for adoption is indeed the child’s biological mother.

Maternity Testing With Items Other Than A Mouth Swab

The most accurate method to obtain a usable DNA sample is to use a buccal swab, which is very similar to a "Q-tip" cotton swab. The swabs are rubbed on the inside cheeks of the mouth for about 15 second per side. It is painless and quick. When it is not possible to obtain a buccal sample voluntarily or if you wish to have DNA maternity testing done in a more private manner, we are often able to test alternative samples, at an additional cost. To learn more about alternative DNA samples, please CLICK HERE.

The results are only provided to the person who orders the test, unless specific written instructions to release the test results to other individuals is provided to us.

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How To Find Your Biological Mother

We suggest that to begin the journey of discovery, you should try to contact either an adoption agency or a private organization that specializes in reuniting those separated either by adoption, abandonment, or kidnapping. They can often help find your biological mother, as they will most likely have the resources and expertise to help in your case.

Once an alleged mother has been found, the best way to clarify if they truly are your birth mother is via a maternity test. This will examine both individuals DNA to see if the child’s DNA has been inherited from the alleged mother.


A DNA test may well be the most important test you will ever take. Journey Genetic Testing guarantees the highest quality testing at the most affordable prices. We process thousands of DNA samples every year for lawyers, physicians, adoption agencies, and private individuals. 

Your cost will depend on several factors, with the most important one being who is available to test.

Your choices are outlined in the fee schedule below. In addition, each private test has two options available for DNA sample collection: you may choose to use a DNA collection kit from us or make your own DNA collection kit. If you chose to use a Journey DNA Testing DNA Kit, you will receive detailed instructions, buccal swabs, collection envelopes and a pre-paid UPS overnight return mailer (USA only). Once your kit is mailed, you will be provided a tracking number to help determine when it will arrive.


Number Of People Testing Processing Time Cost
Mother and One Child 1 Business Day $119
Each Additional Child 1 Business Day $65
Each Additional Mother 1 Business Day $100
Non-Standard Sample (each) 1-5 Business Days $125


What About DNA Collection Kits?

What is a DNA collection kit?

Our DNA collection kits come complete with everything you need to obtain a DNA sample. We provide step by step detailed instructions, buccal swabs, and containers for placing your swabs in, as well as a prepaid overnight return label (USA only) for your samples to be returned to our lab. They are mailed to the address you choose via USPS Priority mail and should arrive in most cases, in 1-3 business days, depending on your location. You will be provided a tracking number by email for your shipment to allow you to monitor when it will be delivered. 

Don't want a DNA kit sent to your home? Need extra privacy?

You may wish to consider our "Make Your Own DNA Kit" option. Using cotton swabs ("Q-tips") you collect your DNA samples. After a review of your order you will be emailed an instruction letter that will contain all the information you need to make your own DNA collection kit at home, your case number, and the mailing address to send your samples to. This is also the recommended option for those who live outside of the USA to save both time and international shipping costs of the kit. To learn more about this option please CLICK HERE.

What if the individuals to be tested live at different addresses?

When individuals to be tested live in different cities, or even different countries, we can "split the kit" and send each component to a different address. Since the kits are individually coded, the samples will still be tested together even if the are sent back separately. If you wish us to send more than one kit for a DNA case, just indicate on the order form that you wish to send to more than one address, and follow the directions on the order form.

How long will it take to get my results?

Results are delivered in ONE business day after all samples have arrived at the lab. There is no additional cost for this expedited service. One day DNA results may not be available for alternative samples as extended testing may be necessary depending on the DNA sample submitted.

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