How Long Will Your DNA Test Take? (Fall 2018 Edition)

It’s autumn again, the time of year for fuzzy sweaters, pumpkin spice, and stocking up on DNA tests while they’re on sale!  (Click here for a list of sale prices.)

All the great discounts, though, have an unfortunate side effect:  so many DNA kits being returned to the labs at the same time cause bottlenecks, and individual tests take longer to process.

Right now, the labs are still chugging along smoothly, and most customers are receiving their autosomal tests results in just a few weeks, according to recent submissions to the DNA Processing Times Survey.  Over the past 3 months, Family Tree DNA has led the pack, averaging 19.4 days for their Family Finder test, followed by AncestryDNA (23.5 days), MyHeritage (23.8 days), Living DNA (36.7 days) and 23andMe (48.4 days).  Averages are from the day the test was mailed back to the lab to the day the results are available.

The processing times at 23andMe aren’t quite as dire as they look at first glance.  Remember that the figures reported above are averaged over 3 months.  Computer upgrades this summer caused major delays at 23andMe, and processing times reported for August and September are dragging down the average.  Two tests returned in October took only 10 and 8 days, respectively!

When we graph the processing times at the five major companies over the past 16 months, the holiday bump is obvious.


Last year, the delays extended into spring.  Of course, we really can’t complain, because the delays mean we’ll be getting lots of new DNA matches in the following months!  (We’ll probably complain anyway.  Haha!)

You can contribute to the DNA Processing Times Survey by clicking here.


yDNA and mtDNA

The DNA Processing Times survey accepts information about any of the testing companies and any kind of DNA test.  I don’t report on yDNA and mtDNA tests very often, because the survey doesn’t get many responses for them.  I wish it did.  With so few data points, we can’t make good predictions about how long a specific test might take.

The information we have suggests that Family Tree DNA will return full mtDNA results within about 29 days, Y-37 results in about 35 days, Y-67 results in about 27 days, and Big Y-500 results in about 69 days.  YSEQ takes about 35 days for SNP tests.  (Click here for an explanation of the different test offerings at Family Tree DNA.)


If you’ve ever taken a yDNA or mtDNA test at Family Tree DNA and would like to help the cause, you’re in luck!  Family Tree DNA gives you a complete order history, so you can fill out the survey even if you took the test a while ago and don’t remember the dates.  Simply log into your account, and click “Complete Order History” in the left-hand panel on the home page in your account.


The link will take you to a page that lists the dates when the each kit was received in the lab, each upgrade was ordered, and each set of results were completed. You can use that historical information to answer the survey and improve our tracking.  Thanks!

9 thoughts on “How Long Will Your DNA Test Take? (Fall 2018 Edition)”

  1. I submitted my LivingDNA test raw data (for a fully online processing) on October 31st, 2018 and as of January 14th, 2019 I still haven’t received the results or a status update. I uploaded on the last day they were offering free upload processing from other companies, so I think I’ve been pushed to the bottom of a very big pile.

  2. This is March 14, 2019.
    My DNA sample arrived at the Ancestry lab in Ireland on January 7, 2019.
    I mailed it in early December 2018!
    In spite of the Ancestry DNA estimated date of March 14, I STILL HAVE NO RESULTS!
    What IS going on with Ancestry!?
    They gouge us on shipping.
    They ship surface and it takes a months for the sample to arrive at their lab.
    They make us weight for over 3 months!
    Oh, and have you noticed?
    There’s NO CONTACT US link anywhere on their site!
    Why is Ancestry still in business?
    If they ran a grocery story the way they run their enterprise they’d would have been out of business in a month!
    So WTF is going on with Ancestry?
    And do they REALLY think I’ll be recommending ANYONE to use their services??

    1. Since January 7, AncestryDNA has been averaging 26 days between arrival and results. Shipping from Europe typically takes 1–3 weeks. They may have had to re-run your sample.

      There is a “Support Center” link at the bottom of their web page. My favorite way to get support, though, is to message them through their Facebook page. They respond quickly, and I don’t have to wait around on hold.

      1. Thanks for the info and suggestions.
        However, with my sample, ancestry has just added 45 days to the average 26 days turn around time. Not sure what the US ancestry site is like but in Canada I do not see any way to contact them in the Support Center. As for contacting them through Facebook, I nuked my FB account a loooong time before the Cambridge Analytica and subsequent fiascos 🙂

        1. Google “ancestry customer service” for their phone number. It’s 1 (800) 615-6560 in the US. I’m not sure if it’s different in Canada.

  3. I’m going on 5 months for my Y-DNA37 test from FTDNA. Kit was received 12/13/2018 and as of today 5/11/2019 still no results. After many emails and online chats I keep getting pushed off. Not sure why. I have asked for my money back if they cant get me the results and they say that’s not their policy. If it’s an issue with the test sample send me a new kit so I can redo it. Is this normal?

    1. No, it’s not normal. I don’t have any inside information into what’s causing the slow-down in their lab.

    2. This was superfast.
      to FInland and back:
      Y-DNA37 Ordered 06/28/2019 991
      Y-DNA37 Batched 08/07/2019 991
      Y-DNA37 Completed 08/20/2019 991

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