November 9, 2021
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How Long Does AncestryDNA Take?

AncestryDNA is one of the most well-known genetic genealogy providers available, but how long does it take for AncestryDNA to deliver?
Tomohiro Takano

You have finally decided to take your DNA test to link yourself to your genetic family tree. You are just about to order your DNA kit from Ancestry. Now comes the hard part, the waiting period. DNA testing takes a series of long processes - from requesting a kit, gathering your saliva sample, to actually sending back your DNA results. AncestryDNA is one of the most well-known genetic genealogy providers available, but how long does it take for AncestryDNA to deliver results?

How Much Time Does AncestryDNA Take

According to AncestryDNA, your results should be ready in 6 to 8 weeks, starting from the day you receive your DNA test kit from the lab. Before sending in your DNA sample, you must first go to the Ancestry website to create an account if you don’t have one and then activate your DNA test, which will link your sample to your Ancestry account.

Your saliva sample will be taken to a secure 3rd party laboratory in the United States to carry out the test. While you wait for results, there are a couple of valuable features provided by Ancestry that you can play with, like the family tree builder. If you don’t activate your DNA kit, Ancestry won’t know who the sample belongs to, and they won’t start processing your sample until you activate the kits. However, you will need to be a member to get full access to their database.

Why Does It Take So Long to Process Ancestry DNA?

There are several steps involved in the process when it comes to DNA testing, and each one takes time to complete. For instance, you have to wait to receive the kit, take your spit sample, return the kit, wait for the lab to decode your DNA, and get your results. When you order your DNA kit from AncestryDNA, you can either choose standard or expedited shipping. With standard shipping, you can receive your kit in about two weeks, while expedited shipping should get to you in just about three days.

Once you seal up your DNA kit and send it, you will have to wait for the lab to receive and process it. The test goes through these stages:

  • The processing lab receives your kit
  • Your DNA sample is positioned for processing
  • Your DNA is extracted from the sample you provided
  • Your DNA is analyzed and entered into the database
  • Your DNA results are displayed

These stages take about 14 days, and you can track them through your AncestryDNA account.

How Does the Ancestry DNA Kit Work?

Once you order the DNA kit from Ancestry, it’ll arrive in the post within a couple of days. Inside the kit, you’ll find the DNA collection tube for a saliva sample, instruction booklet, stabilizing fluid, prepaid return package, and collection bag. You are required to spit into the tube until it reaches the designated line.

However, keep in mind that it takes more effort to fill the tube than you might think, so you shouldn’t drink or eat for about an hour before spitting into the tube. Then, send your saliva sample back to AncestryDNA in the envelope provided.

Can You Use AncestryDNA for Genealogy?

AncestryDNA is valuable for genealogy and building your family tree. It can help guide your research and give you the information you need to build your family tree. The people on your DNA match lists are related to you somehow, and many of them also have family trees ascribed to their DNA results. You can study the family trees of your DNA matches to identify your common ancestor.

You can use your AncestryDNA results to discover new collateral lines in your family. More advanced DNA match analysis tactics can help you recognize and figure out how you are related to your DNA matches. Leeds Method and Chromosome mapping are the two such strategies suitable for beginners who want to take their DNA results to a new level.

What Can You Do If Your DNA Results Is Taking Too Long?

If your Ancestry DNA result is taking too long, here are some things to check if your DNA result takes more than eight weeks to process:

Check Your Spam Folder: The company usually sends applicant emails at each stage of the process. If you do not get this notification, the first step is to check your promotions or spam folder to check if the emails are there. It is possible that you missed an email that informs you that your DNA sample process has failed.

Make Sure You Activate Your Ancestry Kit: If you have not received any email from Ancestry after a few weeks of sending your sample, you may have forgotten to activate your DNA kit. Else, the lab will hold on to a DNA sample that they can’t connect to any particular account. 

Lost DNA Kit: If you mailed your DNA kit and have already activated your DNA kit and still, Ancestry hasn’t received it after several weeks, it may have got lost in transit. After confirming that your kit got lost in transit, Ancestry will send you another one without charges. While this can be disappointing, you shouldn’t worry about your financial loss.

The DNA Results

Ancestry uses cutting-edge microarray technology and autosomal test to analyze several thousands of genes and DNA markers. This makes it easy for you to quickly reference these genes and DNA markers in your test results. Unlike some DNA test companies that run the Y-chromosome test, an autosomal test, and checks your mitochondrial DNA, Ancestry only provides an autosomal test.

This process limits the detection of certain ancestry information and traits. Only men have the Y-chromosome, and these are passed through the paternal line. On the other hand, Mitochondrial DNA can be found in all cells but can only be transferred through the maternal line. The differences are obvious when looking at the raw genetic data, as some vital genes will not be included.


Tomohiro Takano
Tomohiro Takano
Co-Founder and CEO