What does guardianship mean for DNA testing?

In Irish Law, guardianship rights entitle an individual to make important decisions about a child’s upbringing. This can include everything from where they live, to the child’s religion, education, and medical treatment.

Before AlphaBiolabs can perform any of its DNA testing services, we need to have a consent signature from each person undergoing the testing process.

Signing your name means that:

  • You agree to have your DNA samples analysed for the purpose specified.
  • You understand the test ordered and any limitations associated with it.
  • You have read, understood, and accept the terms and conditions.

If someone under the age of 16 years is taking part in the testing process, then a signature is needed from an individual who has guardianship of the child.

This is because a child may not understand the full implications of any DNA testing being undertaken. Therefore, someone with guardianship must sign on their behalf.

What is guardianship?

The rights to guardianship are set out in Section 6 of the Guardianship of Infants Act 1964.

When DNA testing children under 16 years of age, consent must be provided by a parent or guardian with guardianship for that child.

For this reason, it is important that you understand the definitions of guardianship set out in Irish law.

If the correct consent is not provided for all individuals taking part in a DNA test, we are unable to proceed with testing.

Who has guardianship under Irish law?

  • All birth mothers, whether married or not, have automatic guardianship for their children. This only changes if the child is given up for adoption
  • Both married parents, including parents of an adopted child. This applies whether the couple marry before or after the child’s birth
  • An unmarried father has guardianship if he has lived with the child’s mother for 12 consecutive months after 18 January 2016, including at least three months with the mother and child following the child’s birth
  • If the parents of a child marry after the birth, the father automatically becomes a joint guardian of the child, provided that the father’s name is on the birth certificate
  • Other ways of getting guardianship rights can be found here and here

If you have any queries or need further information on DNA testing, please call Customer Services on 0140 29466 or email us at