In an age of rampant infidelity the amount of DNA testing done to determine relationships is at an all time high. It isn’t restricted simply to paternity testing. There are multiple ways to determine paternity even if the father isn’t available or willing to take a test. Grandparent, sibling and avuncular testing are all alternative ways to determine paternity and are very popular DNA tests as well. Two siblings can test to see if they are full siblings or half siblings without including a parent in the test, grandparents and grandchildren can test with each other without including the parents of the child to see if they are related and aunts and uncles can test with their nieces and nephews to determine relatedness.
Ancestry testing, which is the new world wide obsession, offers their test participants clues of potential relatedness and most people confronted with this news will want to verify if they are related to these potential relatives.
This can get tricky as family dynamics can be brought into turmoil. Confronting a parent about if they were lying to you or if they were unfaithful can be awkward, embarrassing, create tensions and more and beyond that convincing this person you have just confronted to offer up a DNA sample may not happen. This is where non-consensual DNA samples come into play, which is secretly taking DNA containing samples such as toothbrushes, fingernail clippings, hair strands, cigarette butts and such and sending them in for comparative DNA testing.
Non-consensual DNA testing can also be an alleged potential father taking a mouth swab from the child without the child’s mother’s consent or the childs consent.
So far there is no Federal DNA theft law in Australia or the USA but other countries such as the UK have enacted laws prohibiting testing another persons DNA without their explicit consent or authorization. The UK enacted the Human Tissue Act 2004. This legislation essentially prohibits using any kind of DNA samples for testing of another person without their explicit consent and authorization and if they have died this extends to the people close to them as well. Scotland and Wales have similar types of DNA theft legislation.
The bottom line is if you are going to test someones DNA secretly without their knowledge or consent it is a good idea to check your local laws first to see if this is permissible or if there is legislation prohibiting this.