Here are our top tips for giving a loved one a DNA kit as a gift.
Ship Straight to Your Recipient
These days, all the top direct-to-consumer DNA companies allow you to ship a testing kit direct to someone else – provided the recipient is in the same country. For example, if you’re in the United States, you can purchase and send a kit directly to anywhere in the U.S. And don’t worry, the company will send the receipt straight to you. Most providers charge around $9.95 for standard shipping but offer discounts for shipping out multiple kits with one order. That way, you can order 3 or DNA gifts in one order and save on shipping costs.
Find Out if Your Recipient is Interested
It’s a simple rule of gift-giving that some people like surprises and some don’t. If you’re close to your recipient or you know they’re someone that enjoys any surprise – no matter how unexpected – then you might feel comfortable ordering them a DNA kit without gauging their interest. But if you’re in any doubt whatsoever about your recipient’s interest, we recommend finding out – whether subtly, by raising the subject of DNA and genealogy in conversation, or directly, by asking them. A DNA kit can be a wonderful thing, but some people might understandably be reluctant to dig up details about their family history.
Check that the DNA Company Takes Privacy Seriously
In this era of big data and privacy intrusions, you can never be too cautious. And when it comes to giving someone a DNA kit that’ll require them to share their private information rather than yours, it’s important to be doubly cautious. Before ordering a DNA testing kit, make sure your chosen company adheres to all the tightest privacy and security protocols.
The provider should:
- Store all results in a secured database and restrict access to a limited number of authorized employees.
- DNA samples should only be tested in a secure, third-party testing lab (i.e. not on the provider’s own premises, where they could be compromised). The lab shouldn’t have access to any identifying details of the person being tested.
- The sample should be stored in a secure, temperature-controlled facility with round-the-clock surveillance and limited access.
- It should comply with the U.S. Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), which prohibits health insurance companies, group health plans, and employers from discriminating against someone based on their genetic information.
Most importantly, the person being tested should have the option of deleting their DNA test results at any time. You shouldn’t purchase a DNA kit from anyone who can’t make this guarantee.
Buy at the Right Time
These days, all the major DNA test-kit providers offer deals around holiday time. Most of them were seen offering 30-50% off DNA kits around the start of November, with deals set to continue until Xmas and New Year’s. Deals come around again during other typical sales periods like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. If you notice companies are charging full price for their products, just wait a couple of weeks and check again. With sales on a regular basis, there’s simply no reason to pay the full price for a DNA testing kit.
Read Company Reviews
There’s a lot of competition in the direct-to-consumer DNA market, with MyHeritage DNA , Ancestry,Living DNA, 23andMe,Vitagene, and Futura Genetics among the top DNA testing companies. Each of these companies specializes in certain things. For example, some of them are better at showing a person’s ancestry or genealogy (which make for suitable gifts) while others are better at doing DNA for genetic conditions (which is perhaps less suitable as a gift). Before choosing the right provider for your loved ones, make sure to read reviews and compare the top DNA companies.
Purchase Complementary Products
If you’re giving a DNA testing kit as a gift, it could be nice to include a complentary product. Many of the top DNA test providers offer add-ons such as personalized ancestry books or detailed data on where the user’s ancestors came from and how they moved around the world. Most of them offer ongoing subscriptions so the user can use their results to connect with people from around the world with who they have DNA in common. Others use the power of their massive databases (often numbering in the millions) to help connect people to relatives and build their family tree. At a minimum, you should look out for a company that throws in a free one-year subscription with the DNA test
DNA kits have become popular gifts in the past couple of years and are only getting stronger, with AncestryDNA alone selling around 1.5 million kits over the Black Friday long weekend in 2017 and other top providers like Living DNA, 23andMe and MyHeritage also selling a large number of kits. It only takes a couple of minutes to actually select and order a DNA kit as a present, but before pressing the “purchase” button, you should spend a bit of time researching the top providers. By putting in a little time and preparation, you can ensure your recipient gets a truly memorable gift to last them a lifetime.