An Overview of Legal DNA Test in Nigeria

A legal DNA test is a court-approved test for people who need their test results to be admissible in a court of law.

It is important to understand that the legal DNA test is different from a standard personal paternity test, which is only done for ‘peace of mind’ (i.e., purely for informative reasons). A peace of mind test result is not admissible in a court of law. 

This article will discuss everything you need to know about doing a Legal DNA test in Nigeria.

Why is a Legal DNA Test Required?

There are different situations which may require a legal DNA test. These include:

Paternity/ Maternity Disputes: A legal DNA test can be conducted to determine paternity or maternity which is useful in settling legal matters such as divorce, alimony, parental rights, child custody, visitation rights and child support. 

Inheritance Claims: DNA testing may be used to settle family-related legal matters like inheritance disputes, ensuring rightful beneficiaries receive their entitled assets

Surrogacy and Assisted Reproduction: In cases where a child’s maternity or paternity is in question in surrogacy arrangements or assisted reproduction, DNA testing can establish biological parentage and resolve legal issues related to parental rights and responsibilities.

Other reasons for requesting a legal DNA test might include a change of name on a birth certificate.

How Does Legal DNA Testing Work?

A legal DNA test involves collecting samples with a swab stick (plastic or wooden stick with cotton) rubbed inside the participant’s cheeks to collect cells for analysis. These cells contain DNA which can be extracted and analysed in the laboratory to identify similar genetic markers and establish biological relationships. 

How is Paternity/ Maternity confirmed?

The laboratory conducts a set of tests known as DNA sequencing. 

  • DNA is extracted from the cells of each participant and then amplified to make the sample more workable
  • Genetic markers for each participant are analysed and compared
  • A geneticist takes this data and calculates the probability that the test participants share a biological relationship.

What are the Requirements for a Legal DNA Test?

Request letter- A legal DNA must be formally requested by the court. Therefore, participants must submit a request letter from the court to the test center. 

DNA Samples–  One of the requirements for a legal DNA test is the DNA sample collected with a swab stick rubbed inside the participant’s cheek to collect cells for analysis. DNA samples for a legal DNA test must be collected in the presence of a court witness or legal representative.

Consent– Proper consent is an essential requirement for a Legal DNA test. All participants must consent for their samples to be used for the DNA testing. For children under the age of 18, their parent or legal guardian must provide consent

Documentation– Basic information will also be collected such as the name of the participants. Additional documents such as passport photographs and identification cards would also be requested. 

Process of DNA Testing for Legal Purposes

For many people, deciding to take a legal DNA test is an important step in resolving family-related legal matters and establishing legal rights. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to do a legal DNA test in Nigeria.

Get a request letter- The first step to doing a Legal DNA test in Nigeria is to get a request letter from the court. The court request letter will be submitted to the test center. 

Find a DNA test center– The next step is to find a DNA test center that is accredited to perform Legal DNA tests in Nigeria.  It is important that you pick a reputable and accredited test center that is internationally recognised and adheres to protocols for performing Legal DNA testing.

Speak with a representative– After carefully selecting a center, you may want to speak with a representative from the center. The test center will guide the necessary steps, pricing, and documents required for the testing process 

Book an appointment– If you have spoken with a representative from the center, proceed to book an appointment for sample collection which must be done on-site (within the physical location of the DNA test center).

Sample Collection: On the scheduled date, all individuals participating in the DNA test must visit the test center for sample collection. Samples are collected with a swab stick used to rub inside the cheek for cells. Each individual providing a sample will be required to present valid identification, such as a government-issued ID card or passport 

Chain of Custody: To ensure the integrity and admissibility of the DNA evidence in legal proceedings, strict chain of custody procedures must be followed during the sample collection process. Ideally, legal samples should be collected in the presence of a judge or a court-appointed representative.

Sample Analysis: After collection, the samples are taken to the laboratory, where the DNA is extracted from the cells, amplified and analysed.

Get your result– Upon completion of the test in the laboratory, the result will be sent via the email address you provided. This usually takes 3-7 days, depending on the center. 

By following these procedures, you can conduct a legal DNA test in Nigeria with confidence, knowing that the process is conducted with integrity, accuracy and adherence to legal requirements.

How accurate is a Legal DNA Test?

A legal DNA test is 99% accurate in determining whether participants share a biological relationship.

How much is a Legal DNA test in Nigeria?

The pricing for legal DNA tests varies from test centers to the number of participants. It is important to verify the exact pricing from the test center of your choice. 

How long does a Legal DNA Test result take?

The result is available within a few days after samples are taken. However, this depends on the test center.

Where can I do a Legal DNA test in Nigeria?

Smart DNA offers court-approved Legal DNA testing services to clients in accordance with the highest international standards. We have a team of fully trained individuals to ensure that we make the procedure as seamless as possible. We guarantee you accuracy and confidentiality all through the process. For more information about our services, speak to our care experts at +234 802 984 0246 or click here