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People Who Use ‘Catch A Cheat’ Services Are Likely Breaking The Law

by : Cameron Frew on : 02 Feb 2020 13:01
People Who Use 'Catch A Cheat' Services Are Likely Breaking The LawWarner Bros./Universal Pictures

You’re worried your partner is cheating on you. So, you send off some skid-marked underwear for a DNA test. Bad news: you could be committing a serious crime. 

With the advent of social media and online dating, the anxiety around your spouse’s loyalty is greater than ever. No matter how irrational it may seem, you just can’t shake the feeling they’re getting down and dirty with someone else.

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Well, there’s a solution: ‘catch a cheat’ services. They come at a price, though – if you’re in the UK, a three-year prison sentence is a real possibility.

Wolf of Wall Street Cheating SceneParamount Pictures

Several companies offer ‘infidelity tests’, which encourage people to secretly collect evidence that could contain bodily fluids (anything from dirty pants and bed sheets to used condoms).

For example, there’s AffinityDNA – an East Sussex-based company that says its tests are ‘a powerful tool for those wishing to have a scientific indication of whether cheating has taken place’, urging customers to send ‘any suspicious sample you believe might have human biological material’.

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Home DNA Testing KitTony Webster/Flickr

For just £299, the company will test a single sample to assess whether it contains male or female DNA (or indeed a mixture of both). However, there’s one key word to remember in all this scientific dabbling: consent.

The AffinityDNA website explains: 

If you or anyone from whom you have collected a sample is living in the UK you need to be aware of the legal implications of the Human Tissue Act [2004].

The Human Tissue Act makes collecting any type of biological sample from another person without their full consent a crime – punishable with a prison sentence and/or a fine. Any person to whom the sample belongs must not only consent to the test but understand fully how their DNA is going to be used and analysed.

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As such, similar companies which operate in the US and Republic of Ireland refuse to process samples from the UK. However, for the UK companies that do operate similar services, the onus of consent is on the customer rather than the person whose DNA is being shipped.

Jack Black The HolidayUniversal Pictures

Another UK-based service, HomeDNADirect, formerly advertised ‘testing without consent’, however it has since updated its website to reference the Human Tissue Act.

For just $299, you can send ‘semen stains, used condoms, Kleenexes, bloodstains, cigarette ends and many more’ types of samples – however, they aren’t currently offering the service to people in the UK.

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Grim.

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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: Life, cheating, DNA, Relationships

Credits

The Sunday Times and 1 other
  1. The Sunday Times

    DNA checks may land jealous types in court

  2. NY Post

    Suspicious spouses who use ‘catch a cheat’ DNA services could face jail time