Can you Get a Free DNA Test?
Times are hard, we have to prioritize what we spend money on and if we can get something for free then all the better. The question is can we get DNA tests for free?
In this post we will talk about the general cost of DNA tests and if there are ways by which we might be able to avoid those costs and get a free test and analysis.
How Much Do DNA Tests Cost?
The process of testing someone’s DNA requires some very expensive equipment, well trained lab techs and some serious computing power. It is because of this for many years DNA testing could be very expensive.
These days with the numerous consumer DNA testing companies such as AncestryDNA, MyHeritage and 23andMe prices are much more reasonable. Depending on the type of test and the company's special offers a DNA test can range from $59 to several hundred.
To some people this may be affordable while to others it could be a very unattainable expense. It is certainly what I would describe as a want rather than a need. There are always ways to get things for free though right? Well read on to find out.
Can You Get a DNA Test for Free?
I’ll just have to be a little blunt here so please forgive me, but no, you are highly unlikely to find a free DNA testing company. The honest truth is that it is not cheap to perform DNA testing and none of these big commercial companies has any reason to offer this for free.
This does not mean that there is no way for your DNA to be tested for free because there are a couple of instances whereby you could have your DNA tested without you having to pay. You could sign up for a DNA study, or get suspected of a crime that involves DNA evidence.
The only problem with those two sets of circumstances is that yes your DNA will be tested but you will not be given the results. Obviously that completely defeats the purpose of getting your DNA tested in the first place.
How Can You Get Your DNA Tested for Free?
Interestingly I did get my AncestryDNA test for free, well kind of. You see, I wanted the test but didn’t want to spend the money. So my solution was to ask for the test as my Christmas present to which my wonderful wife happily obliged.
Okay, so technically it wasn’t a free test because my wife bought it for me but if having your DNA tested is important to you perhaps requesting it as a birthday or Christmas present may be the way to go. If someone was going to give you a gift anyway then use that to get the test that you want.
You may also get lucky and have a family member who is fascinated in family history and needs your help to further their understanding of DNA connections. It’s not uncommon for those researching their family tree to offer to pay for close relatives to take the test as it ultimately helps their own research.
In some rare cases those trying to solve a parental mystery might even offer strangers who they suspect may be descended from a common ancestor a free test. I for example spent some time trying to contact a person who based on a family theory I thought might be my half uncle.
Had I reached him and if he would have been willing I may have offered to pay for a DNA test to help me answer a long troubling genealogy question. I suspected that his father may have also been my mother's father. A DNA test would have confirmed or debunked this theory.
Ultimately I found a more distant cousin with connections to my suspected maternal grandfather and determined that they had already tested but we did not match. This meant I could not be descended from this man I thought may have been my grandfather.
The Test Costs Analysis Can be Free
It is unavoidable someone will have to pay for the actual test because as mentioned this step of the process is just too costly to be offered as a freebie by anyone. Once you or a generous loved one has paid for the test however there are multiple uses and options for the raw DNA results you receive.
I tested with AncestryDNA several years ago and once I had explored all of their tools and the cousin matches I started to wonder what else I could do with the DNA. So I did some googling and discovered that MyHeritage will allow you to upload your raw DNA file from Ancestry.
This gave me another set of cousin matches some of whom did not test on Ancestry and it also gave me a slightly different ethnicity estimate. It should be noted that the MyHeritage database is smaller than Ancestry's so as a result their ethnicity estimates are always going to differ due to a completely different base sample of DNA.
I also discovered the free DNA tools on GEDmatch, another site that accepts raw DNA results from multiple big testing companies. I found this a great resource to find cousin matches who are not Ancestry or MyHeritage. Below is a list of sites or companies you can upload your raw DNA results to so you can learn more about your ancestry, health or just get a DNA analysis
- African Ancestry
- Nebula Genomics
- Xcode Life
Some of these sites can offer free tools while others may charge a fee.
Sorry to say there really isn’t such a thing as a free DNA test ultimately someone will have to pay for. If someone gives you one then technically that is free to you. The truth is though you will likely have to pay for one yourself.
All is not completely lost however because once you pay for that test you have access to your raw DNA and you can use it for free on a whole host of websites. So the test is not free but you can get some varied analysis of the results for free
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"Can you Get a Free DNA Test?". NameCensus.com. Accessed on June 28, 2022. http://namecensus.com/blog/can-you-get-a-free-dna-test/.
"Can you Get a Free DNA Test?". NameCensus.com, http://namecensus.com/blog/can-you-get-a-free-dna-test/. Accessed 28 June, 2022
Can you Get a Free DNA Test?. NameCensus.com. Retrieved from http://namecensus.com/blog/can-you-get-a-free-dna-test/.