Why Does it Take So Long for Ancestry to Receive My DNA Sample?

Have you wondered why it seems to take so long for Ancestry to receive your DNA sample?  I did.  A few weeks ago during the DNA Day sales I ordered Ancestry DNA test kits.  My kit arrived in California and my mother’s kit arrived in Florida on the same day, Tuesday, May 2nd.  I took my test and mailed it May 3rd.  My mother took hers and mailed it the next day, May 4th.

The next Monday, May 8th, I received an email from Ancestry DNA.  They had received my mother’s test kit.  I thought it was a little unusual that hers arrived first, but I expected to hear back any time that mine had arrived, too.  I waited, and waited.  One week later, on May 15th, Ancestry DNA wrote that they had received my test kit.

When I mailed my test kit, I had recorded the tracking number.  I checked online to see what had taken so long.  The package was sent First–Class Package Return Service, but didn’t get delivered to its destination in Sandy, Utah, until Friday, May 12th.  Nominally this service is supposed to take 2 to 4 days (based on USPS Return Services page), but instead my package took 7 business days.  So part of the delay was the Post Office.  (My father retired from a long career at the Post Office.  I am generally pro-Post Office; this is just the reality.)  Then another few days passed from when Ancestry had received the package until I was notified it had arrived.

I called Ancestry to ask about kit processing on their end.  The Ancestry website says to allow for 20 days from when you mail the kit until you receive that email that the kit was received (the Ancestry DNA website will also indicate that the test is “ARRIVED”).  If 20 days pass with no email, the kit was most likely lost in the mail.  Contact Ancestry for another kit.  (See Ancestry article DNA Shipping.)

After the kit has arrived at Ancestry, it is processed at a lab, and then the results are available in your account (the Ancestry DNA website will indicate that the test is “DONE”).  Overall this takes up to eight weeks, unless it is a particularly busy season.  (See Ancestry article DNA Lab Processing.)

There is an intermediate step on the Ancestry DNA website called “LAB PROCESSING.”  The Ancestry representative I spoke to said generally it usually takes a couple of weeks to get from ARRIVED to LAB PROCESSING, and then about three more weeks until it is DONE, but this varies.

Overall it may feel like a long time before the DNA kit is acknowledged as ARRIVED, let alone processed.  Record the tracking number on your return package.  You will be able to determine that the kit is successfully on its way and actually arrives at Ancestry, even if Ancestry doesn’t alert you until days later.

Posted in DNA

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