Testing your ancestry can be an exciting way to find out more about yourself and your family. But if you’re thinking of taking a 23andMe test you should know how long it’s going to take.
This post may contain affiliate links. I will earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through an affiliate link.
With all the testing and analysis that goes into a 23andMe test, it can end up being quite a long process. But don’t worry if you don’t get your results straight away – you don’t need to refresh your emails every day.
This article not only tells you how long you’ll need to wait for your 23andMe results, but it will also break down each stage of the testing, so you’ll know what’s going on at each point in the process.
How Does Taking A 23andMe Test Work?
When you order a 23andMe test, it will take 3-5 days to arrive. Once you get your test kit, you’ll need to provide your sample. But how does this work?
First of all, you need to register your kit. You can do this through the 23andMe website. Something to note is that if multiple family members are taking the tests, each kit will have to be registered separately.
However, all your family’s tests can be linked to the same account so you can view your results easily.
To take the test, make sure you don’t eat, drink, smoke, or brush your teeth for at least half an hour beforehand. Simply follow the instructions to take the test and provide your saliva sample.
When you’re all done, you can send the samples back in the included prepaid returns packaging. All that’s left to do is wait!
What Steps Do Tests Need To Go Through?
As previously mentioned, the test will take between 3-5 days to get to you once it has been sent out. After the test is completed, you need to send it back.
The postage time can vary depending on where you live in relation to the return address, but you’ll be notified when your samples are received by the lab through your 23andMe account.
You can also track the sample’s progress to the lab with your account. Typically, samples arrive at the lab within 2-4 weeks.
When the sample arrives at the lab it will go through several different tests to analyze your DNA. These include extracting the DNA from the sample, genotyping the DNA (checking and comparing the DNA’s genetic make-up), and reviewing the data to find your results.
How Long Will My Results Take To Come Back?
Once your sample has arrived and has been processed, analyzed, and reviewed, you’ll be notified via email that your results are ready to view.
The whole process usually takes between 5-9 weeks (2-4 weeks for the sample to arrive at the lab, and a further 3-5 weeks for the sample to be analyzed). However, this is just an estimate.
There are a few factors that might affect the time for your sample to be analyzed. Some tests may need to be repeated for more accurate data.
If several family members all submit tests, the results may take a little bit longer due to the extra amount of testing that needs to be done.
And of course, the opposite is also true – while the 5-9 weeks is a typical expected timeframe, there’s the chance that your results will be ready much sooner!
Can I Track My Results?
At any stage after registering, you can log in to your 23andMe account to track your sample’s progress.
By checking the status of your test on your account, you can not only see which stage of testing is being done currently, but you’ll also be able to see the expected date that your results will be released!
You’ll also be receiving email updates at each main stage of the testing process. You will get an email notifying you that your sample has arrived at the lab, as well as when your results are ready.
During the 2-4 week period in which your samples are traveling to the lab, you can use the returns tracking link through your profile to keep up to date on your kit’s progress.
Something you should bear in mind is that some steps may take longer than others. Some of the tests rely on specific levels of data so the results are as accurate as possible.
If a test doesn’t give enough information (for instance, if not enough DNA is extracted from your sample when running a test), the step may need to be repeated.
Don’t worry if your tracker shows a certain step taking longer than the others – this may just be down to the step being repeated.
Remember, these things can take time so that your results get the accuracy they need. It’s better to wait for correct results than to rush inaccurate ones.
How Will I Receive My Results?
Once you get the email saying that your results are ready, you’ll need to access your 23andMe account to view them. 23andMe doesn’t send out test results via email or letter; the only way to see your results is through your account.
However, you’re able to print your full report off once it’s ready if you would prefer to have a physical copy.
When checking your report, you can find ancestry results, health test results, and any other optional tests you opted into. There’s also a section that breaks down all the different results and what they mean, to help avoid any confusion!
Overall, the entire process from sending out your 23andMe test to receiving your results will take anywhere from 5 weeks to 9 weeks. While this is quite a lengthy process, it can take a while to analyze the DNA to make sure the results are accurate.
With results being up to 99% accurate, you’re better off not rushing the final results. And again, these are just estimated times – your results may be ready much sooner than this. Enjoy finding out more about yourself and your family!
Use these to stay organized as you discover your family history!