At Home DNA testing has become quite popular in the last few years as more people are using it to find out their ancestry, locate blood relatives, and determine paternity for a child. Many of these At-Home DNA Kits are readily available online and are very easy to use. While these tests offer many benefits, they also raise some serious questions.
How secure is your information once you have sent it? Once you collect your biological sample and send it off in the mail, you need to know who it will go to and what they will do with it. There is really no way to make 100% sure of the integrity of the test when it is done in this manner. Samples can be altered or tainted simply by how they are handled.
What is the company’s research policy and are they confirmed by 3rd party testing? They should be able to give you information on how the testing is performed, what procedures or tests are used, and how they protect the samples from tampering.
Another question would be, “Who will have access to my data?” This is a very important question because information can be used for a variety of purposes by hackers to gain access to bank accounts, open credit accounts, and lease vehicles in another person’s name. Identity theft is a very valid concern, and it is scary to think what else they may use the information for.
Are the results shared with any other parties? Research firms often use information obtained through various sources. If this is something they do, and can you opt-out or deny permission? Contact your LegalShield provider law firm with any questions you may have about legal consequences. If you don’t understand the wording they can help bring some clarification.
What happens to the sample material after the test is completed? Is it destroyed? Is it kept in cold storage for research purposes? You need to know the answers to these questions.
Are their testing results accurate? And to what percentage? With so many tests available and all the companies in competition with one another, how many of them actually have scientific data to back up their claims? The FTC has some good information on At-Home DNA testing.
What might happen as a result of the testing? What consequences might occur after finding a long-lost relative, especially if you are in the middle of disputing a will? Might this person be entitled to a share of the family inheritance, if any? Would this type of testing provide evidence of infidelity, providing reason for a divorce proceeding? There are all sorts of situations that could arise from the outcome of such testing.
With the popularity of direct-to-consumer testing kits, and the legal implications they may bring, it pays to have all the facts. If you have any questions about how this test might affect you, contact your LegalShield provider law firm.
Are there regulations governing genetic testing?
There are regulations in effect in both the US and Canada, which protects the privacy of an individual’s health information.
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) of 2008 restricts employers from using data obtained to refuse hiring or promoting an employee due to a (self-disclosed) health condition.
In Canada, an individual must give written consent for their information to be voluntarily disclosed. Canadian citizens have complete control over how their personal information is used.
If you have any questions you can contact your provider law firm information on your LegalShield mobile app.