Suppose two people who are over 18 wish to do a "legal" type DNA test to prove they are related, and one of them resides in New York, and the other one resides somewhere else in the United States.

Can those private individuals do such a test without a court order?

  • For what reason do they need to have a DNA test to show they are related? Any two consenting people can have their DNA matched at any DNA laboratory.
    – Trish
    Sep 10, 2020 at 17:27
  • @Trish Not quite correct. New York has a whole licensing scheme for DNA tests. Strangely, even consenting adults need authorization from an agent before they can be tested.
    – bdb484
    Sep 10, 2020 at 18:11
  • 1
    There is a separate question that's up in the air, still, namely whether the results are legally "binding". AFAIK this is only relevant for paternity and is irrelevant when the child turns 18. Theoretically it could be relevant in a intestate probate case, but one of the parties no longer has "wishes".
    – user6726
    Sep 10, 2020 at 18:20
  • Also, it's not clear if the intent is that the test be conducted in NY state: it's not too difficulty to travel to another state to overcome the strange law.
    – user6726
    Sep 10, 2020 at 18:23
  • The only case I know where it might be relevant for adults is the genetic counseling mandatory for cousin-mariages in Maine... but that's not NYC where Cousin marriages are allowed.
    – Trish
    Sep 10, 2020 at 18:52

1 Answer 1


Yes. Private DNA testing is generally available and lawful throughout the United States.

New York has unique laws surrounding the conditions under which testing may be performed, though. There are several hoops to jump through if you do this in New York -- using a licensed testing agency, obtaining approval from an agent, etc.

Getting an order from a court is one way to satisfy the agent-authorization requirement, but you can also get an authorization from your lawyer or doctor. What the point of this is, I don't know, but it's the law.

If you want to avail yourself of this option, just call a nearby testing facility and they'll walk you through the process.

If you don't, just drive to another state and pick up a test from a drug store.

  • 1
    So a lawyer could also authorize a test instead of a doctor? Interesting, and a good fact to know. But at the rates that lawyers charge its probably cheaper to go for a doctors visit to get the prescription.
    – user4574
    Sep 10, 2020 at 18:42
  • I think that's probably right.
    – bdb484
    Sep 10, 2020 at 20:12

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