January 4, 2021
Product Reviews

How Long Does 23andMe Take? Get Your Results and Beyond

Waiting on 23andMe results? See how long it usually takes here - and what else you can do with your raw DNA data AFTER you get your results!
Tomohiro Takano

The anticipation is palpable. You ordered a kit from Amazon on Black Friday, spit in a tube, and promptly returned the 23andMe test kit. Now you are wondering, “How long does 23andMe take?!” 

You are not alone. But, the good news is that 23andMe is one of the fastest DNA testing companies with an average turnaround time of only 14 days! In this article, we’re going to look at the various factors that affect DNA test kit processing times, what you will find when your results are in, and how you can get so much more out of your DNA data. 

Take some time to read through this article as you wait for your 23andMe test results so you can be sure to get the absolute most out of your genetic testing. A good plan will allow you to unlock much more information than the health conditions and ancestry information reported by 23andMe. Many of these sites are FREE - so be sure to check them out when you get your genetic test raw data!

Average 23andMe Processing Times

According to 23andMe, the average time it takes to process your saliva sample is 2-3 weeks after your kit has been received at the lab. 

23andMe also notes that the shipping and receiving process can take 2-4 weeks. In other words, from the time you spit in the tube, seal up the sample in the return package, and put it in the mail you have at most a 7-week wait time. People who live outside of the continental United States may have to wait longer, as shipping times will be increased the further you are from the lab. 

But, actual user data from The DNA Geek tells a different (and better) story. According to this site, most users receive their results only 14 days after shipping their test. Plus, over the last two years, the average time to receive results has stayed below 25 days - making 23andMe one of the absolute fastest DNA testing companies on the market! 

23andMe vs AncestryDNA Processing Times

Ancestry has a much larger user database compared to 23andMe. Where 23andMe recently passed 12 million users, Ancestry has exceeded 18 million users. However, the opposite trend is happening with their average processing times. 23andMe is consistently decreasing their processing times, while the wait at Ancestry has become longer. 

AncestryDNA users end up waiting an average of 31 days - nearly double the amount of time 23andMe users have to wait. 23andMe is also faster (on average) than FamilyTreeDNA and LivingDNA. Plus, 23andMe allows users to take part in ground-breaking research, such as studies on how genetics affect COVID-19 transmission, which may help scientists defeat the coronavirus pandemic. It’s no wonder that you are super excited to get your results back!

So, if you are waiting on 23andMe results just remember: it could be worse!

What should I expect from 23andMe Results?

The results you get back from 23andMe depend on the test that you purchased. 

The 23andMe Ancestry + Traits Kit includes an ethnicity estimate and ancestry report that contains over 2000 regions, a DNA family finder, and an automatic family tree builder that can predict how you are related to other 23andMe users. This ancestry test also includes 30+ non-health traits that can show you how your genes help predict different aspects of who you are. 

The 23andMe Health + Ancestry Kit includes everything in the ancestry package, plus a bunch of health-related traits broken into 3 different categories. First, you can see how the genetic variants you carry may influence your genetic health risks for various diseases like heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer, late-onset Alzheimer’s disease, Celiac Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and other complex diseases that have many different causes. Some of these tests are FDA approved! (Learn more about the FDA approval, predispositions, and health report genotyping, here.)

Second, you can see your Carrier Status Reports for 40+ known genetic diseases - conditions that are caused entirely by your genes. Finally, this testing kit covers several wellness traits that influence things like sleep, genetic weight, and lactose intolerance. The health kit has recently added a Family Health History Tree that can help you track your family history of diseases and estimate how their diseases might affect you!

23andMe also offers the VIP Health + Ancestry Service, which gives all the same reports as the Health + Ancestry Kit with a faster processing time, premium customer service, and 1-on-1 walkthroughs for your Ancestry information. So, if you are looking for the fastest results possible and money is not an issue, this is definitely the fastest DNA test in the industry. 

The Most Important Result: Your Raw DNA Data

Fortunately, with any of the services that 23andMe offers, you can download your raw DNA data. 23andMe provides a massive amount of information, and it will take you some time to sort through your results. However, the science of genetics and DNA testing is moving at light-speed! Downloading your raw DNA data allows you to take this data to other companies - companies that can analyze completely different aspects of your genome!

To get your raw DNA sequencing data, simply follow the instructions from this 23andMe help page: Accessing your Raw Genetic Data. Essentially, you just navigate to the area of the website that holds your raw data and request a file download. You will be emailed a link to your download, and you can save the file anywhere on your computer.

Then, you simply upload the data to any number of companies. Keep in mind that many third-party DNA analysis sites offer some free results, simply by uploading your data file!

Our Favorite DNA Upload Companies:

  1. Genomelink!
    That’s us! We have an entire team of researchers dedicated to scouring through the massive amounts of genetic research being conducted. Our researchers find correlations between genetic research and genes you carry. Then, our team of writers and editors condense the scientific jargon into simple reports that tell you about genetic variants you carry that can affect your Intelligence, Personality, Nutrition, Sports Performance, and Physical Traits.

    Not only do we show you what genetic traits you carry, but we cite our results, show you how robust the science is, and make everything fun and easy-to-understand! You can get 25 free traits with a DNA upload, so be sure to check it out!

  2. Promethease
    This fantastic site works like a librarian for your genetic code. When you upload to Promethease and buy a $12 report, the website will generate a report that can show you the actual scientific research that has been conducted on the specific genetic variants you carry. Though these reports are written for scientists and use a lot of scientific jargon, you can start to understand how complex genetic science can be and appreciate the massive amounts of research that are aimed at understanding the genetic code. These reports will not necessarily estimate if you are at a higher risk or increased risk of various diseases, but this testing service will connect you to the actual research that has been done.

  3. GEDmatch
    This free website offers many tools that were traditionally only available to genetic genealogists! This site has a bit of a learning curve, but it essentially allows you to parse out different areas of your genome, find DNA matches, map out all of your family relationships, and see how other family surnames are related to yours. Check it out!

Don’t Stop There!

If you really want to maximize the information you can pull out of a single DNA test kit, be sure to check out all of the other third-party analysis sites that we have compiled. Some of the sites allow you to search their database for DNA relatives (like MyHeritage), while others can give you entirely novel genetic information on non-health traits, show how you are related to the Neanderthals, and provide reports on the many different facets of genomics science!

Most of these sites offer some sort of free trial or a certain number of reports for no cost to you! You can check out the Best DNA Upload Sites while you wait for your results, and you can get started as soon as 23andMe has processed your raw data files!

What to Do While You’re Waiting for Your 23andMe Results

Now that we’ve answered the question, “how long does 23andme take?”, you might be looking for something to do while you wait. Before your DNA test results arrive, there are some things you can do to better prepare for when you finally start being able to explore your genetic information. For example:

  1. Closely examine what your DNA testing company can eventually tell you…and what they can’t - Ideally, you’d complete extensive research into the DNA testing company you’ll be using prior to submitting your sample test. But in case you haven’t, now is a good time to look closely at the company, so you understand exactly what your results from them will tell you, as well as what it won’t. DNA testing companies frequently offer different reports, insights, tools, and features. Some platforms are better for building your family tree, while others are good for health and nutrition information. Learn what your testing company will tell you by carefully combing through their website to know aht you can expect.

  2. Read DNA testing company blog articles - Brush up on all kinds of topics related to genealogy, DNA science and technology, analyzing your genetic information, and more, by reading through your DNA testing company’s blog section. And if your testing company does not maintain a blog, you can look through ours to learn more about a range of DNA and genetics topics.

  3. Talk to your family - Do you know anyone in your family has also taken a DNA test? Ask around to find out, and see if they’re open to sharing their results with you. It can be interesting to see the various traits that exist within a family, and someone who has already gone through the process might be able to help you better analyze your own results.

  4. Look into what else you can do with your raw DNA - Your DNA results don’t end with what your testing company will tell you. You’ll be able to keep exploring by downloading your raw DNA data once it’s available. Take this time waiting for your results to see which other companies allow you to upload your data, and to learn more about what additional insights they might be able to provide. At Genomelink, we offer reports and traits that you won’t find anywhere else. Get started for free with 100 new traits by uploading your raw DNA file.

  5. Learn more about other sources for conducting genealogy research - Family history buffs don’t just conduct DNA testing as part of their research. They look through public records, interview family members, and use family tree building tools. Start by checking out the wealth of information on genealogy provided by the National Archives

How Long Do 23andMe Results Take?

The first question most 23andMe users ask is, “how long does it take to get 23andMe results?” Now that you know it usually takes about seven weeks to complete the process of submitting the sample, mailing it, processing, and receiving the results. Relax! That’s one of the fastest turnaround times in the business. And while you wait, there are a number of useful and fun activities you can do to start your genetics and family ancestry research, even before seeing your testing results. 

Tomohiro Takano
Tomohiro Takano
Co-Founder and CEO