Paternity/Relationship – Importance of AABB Accreditation
The AABB has been accrediting laboratories in the field of relationship testing since 1984. Over the years it has consistently updated its standards to keep pace with the changing technology. Every several years the AABB updates its Standards for Relationship Testing Laboratories, a book of required standards that a relationship testing lab must follow in order to obtain and maintain accreditation. Every two years, an external audit is conducted by the AABB in which representatives from the accrediting organization thoroughly examine the laboratory and its policies, processes, and procedures. This audit is blind and can occur at any time over about a half a year period.
For a laboratory to obtain and maintain AABB accreditation, it must pass these blind audits with minimal non-conformances. To do so, the laboratory must pass three proficiency tests, essentially cases sent by an organization where the answer is already known, and the laboratory must correctly assess the cases. Analysts are required to attend meetings for continuing education purposes, ensuring that they stay on top of the literature. The laboratory must have maintenance procedures that ensures that its equipment is functioning properly. The lab must have policies for controls and standards to protect against malfunctions, contamination, and other problems that can occur due to carelessness. And this just covers one or two of the forty eight pages of standards. An AABB accredited lab is one that upholds to quality standards, and prides itself on following these standards.
The AABB is the most well known and certainly the most prestigious organization that specifically accredits paternity and relationship testing laboratories. Accreditation organizations like CAP and CLIA are certainly prestigious, but do not offer specific standards regarding paternity testing laboratories. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the paternity / relationship testing laboratory you select carries AABB accreditation. You can view the list of labs at www.aabb.org. Beware laboratories that claim to be accredited, but either do not mention what accreditation they have or mention an organization other than AABB. Using these laboratories for legal tests may result in the judge dismissing your report.