SelfDecode Review (2024)
Updated on March 18, 2024
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SelfDecode Review (2024)
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Our verdict: SelfDecode was so easy to use as someone who already had my raw DNA data from other tests (I’m a bit of a DNA test connoisseur).

However, with their recent expansion in 2022, you may want to try out their very own DNA testing kit. They say it may work even better with their analyses.

Data from other companies aren’t always totally compatible with their tools, and the data you get from other companies may not always be complete, leading to less accurate results when uploading it to other platforms.

They offered test kits before, but I believe this one is best suited for their tools.

I enjoyed uploading my results and can only imagine the increased accuracy if you use the test kit they provide, which is tailored to their algorithm.

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The only catch is that SelfDecode’s reports are not FDA-approved, but this didn’t bug me so much since I know that FDA-approval isn’t the end-all and be-all. Their reports are meant for informational and educational purposes.

Take note that DNA testing results are meant to be interpreted by a genetic expert. Don’t take all your results at face value and jump to any conclusions that may only cause further harm.

After comparing SelfDecode with its competitors, I think it’s a great option if you have raw DNA data or if you haven’t tested with other companies.

Quick Facts

  • 56 health topics and 13 premium DNA wellness reports
  • Access health reports with any paid plan
  • Support files from 23andme, Ancestry, MyHeritage, Courtagen, FamilyTreeDNA, Atlas, MapMyGenome, Diagnomics, DNALand, LivingDNA, and Dante Labs
  • Easy-to-understand reports
  • Free Lab Test Analyzer subscription (used to be a standalone extra at $97 a year, but is now part of the subscription, which is $99 a year for all the features)
  • Not FDA-approved

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Product Review Summary

We looked through dozens of reviews on SelfDecode and noticed the following comments were consistent:

Pros

  • Users liked that SelfDecode was much more cost-effective compared to the “bigger” brands out there
  • Many appreciated that the recommendations they received were personalized
  • Test results were pretty accurate
  • Includes everything you need to take and submit your sample, including a prepaid return envelope
  • Many liked that SelfDecode was adamant about never selling your personal data

Cons

  • Many users complained that customer service was pretty poor
  • A lot of complaints were made about how their payment renewals were automized, leading many of them to pay for another billing without knowing
  • Too many marketing emails

What Tests and Services Does SelfDecode Offer?

SelfDecode offers the following:

  • DNA Kit + Health Insights – A DNA test that provides you with health insight reports
  • DNA Kit + Health & Ancestry Insights – A DNA test that provides you with health and ancestry insight reports
  • Health Insights Plan – This is the plan that comes without a DNA testing kit—you have to upload raw DNA data you already have

Then there’s the subscription. You can:

  • Access unlimited reports and future DNA wellness reports as long as you’re an active subscriber.
  • Get personalized health recommendations based on your genetic information.
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Source: SelfDecode website

What’s Inside the Kit?

The SelfDecode Saliva-Based Home Test Kit is designed for users to collect their DNA samples at home and send them back to SelfDecode for analysis. Here’s what’s included in the kit:

  1. Saliva Collection Tube – A sterile, screw-top collection tube with a stabilizing solution to preserve the DNA in your saliva sample
  2. Collection Funnel – A funnel that attaches to the collection tube to help transfer saliva into the tube without spillage
  3. Instruction Manual – Detailed instructions on how to collect your DNA sample properly
  4. Specimen Bag – A biohazard bag to place your sample in after collection
  5. Prepaid Return Envelope – An envelope for sending your sample back to SelfDecode for analysis
  6. Registration Instructions –Information on how to register your DNA kit on the SelfDecode website using the sample barcode

How Does SelfDecode Work?

You can start with SelfDecode in two ways. Follow these steps if you’ve already taken a DNA test from another company:  

  • Step 1: Upload the data to SelfDecode’s portal
  • Step 2: Select your paid plan
  • Step 3: Access your health reports

If you haven’t had a DNA test before, these are the steps you need to take:

  • Step 1: Order a SelfDecode DNA test kit. Delivery usually takes a few days to arrive in the US.
  • Step 2: Once the test kit arrives, use the swab to take a cheek sample.
  • Step 3: Register your kit. Mail the kit to SelfDecode for analysis. Test results will be out within six to eight weeks. 
  • Step 4: Once you receive your DNA data, upload it to SelfDecode’s portal and access your health reports. 

The Lab Test Analyzer (which comes free with your subscription) works similarly to SelfDecode’s DNA analysis: 

  • Step 1: Upload an existing lab test report (If you don’t have any lab tests, you can order them from SelfDecode)
  • Step 2: Receive personalized reports and recommendations
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Source: SelfDecode website

Some reminders:

  • Before collecting your saliva sample, you are advised not to eat, drink, smoke, brush your teeth, or chew gum for at least 30 minutes to ensure the purity of the sample.
  • Read instructions carefully.
  • Once collected, the sample is mixed with the stabilizing solution by shaking the collection tube several times. Make sure this is done properly.

The entire process is designed to be simple, allowing users to collect their DNA samples in the comfort of their own homes. After sending the sample back, users can expect to wait around six to eight weeks for their results to be processed and notified via email.

What You Get With Your Report

I was pleasantly surprised at how comprehensive but easy-to-understand SelfDecode reports are, especially when it came to my health reports. I uploaded my data for the health insights, but I know you can also get ancestry insights and even take their DNA test for it.

SelfDecode’s menu is divided into two main categories: 

  • Genetics (containing the Wellness Reports, Traits, and My Regimen)
  • Labs (containing Input Labs, Results, and Shop Labs) 

Wellness Reports

After you open your account, you’ll see the dashboard. It displays links to 13 health areas:   

  • Gut Health
  • Brain
  • Hormone Health
  • Pain
  • Skin
  • Bone
  • Cardiovascular
  • Diet/Nutrition
  • Inflammation
  • Sleep
  • Glucose metabolism
  • Immune function
  • Kidney
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I accessed these reports through Genetics > Wellness Reports.

Let’s use my Gut Health report to view a sample report. I clicked on it, and it says I have four potential issues.

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I chose Gallstones. The report has two types of views: Overview and Details. 

Overview is the shorter report. It includes a summary of my gallstone condition, genetic risk score, and personalized recommendations on handling gallstones.

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It says here that I, sadly, have an increased likelihood of gallstones. They analyzed my genetic variants, and 44 of them pointed toward increased risk.

What I appreciated, however, were the recommendations to minimize that risk.

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Details showed me more information about each. There is more information about my condition, how genes played a role, and supporting studies. It also shows my genetic risk score and recommendations (same as Overview).

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There are currently 56 health topics. Some of them include:

  • Allergies
  • Anxiety
  • Blood Pressure
  • Blood Sugar
  • Bone Health
  • Cholesterol
  • Gallstones
  • Gout
  • Hair Loss
  • Heart Health
  • Irritable Bowel
  • Kidney Health
  • Migraines
  • PCOS
  • PTSD
  • Sexual Dysfunction
  • Weight

SelfDecode claims to constantly release new health reports and update the database based on further studies. This ensures you are up-to-date with the latest in health information.

Here are the new health reports released recently.  It let me generate as many reports as I liked.

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Other Genetics Reports

Aside from Wellness Reports, the two other reports found under Genetics are: 

  • Traits
  • My Regimen 
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In My Regimen, you can collect your Wellness Reports and lab recommendations. You can also store recommendations here so it’s easier for you to revisit them if you do take any lab tests.

Lab Reports

The second category is Labs, which contains: 

  • Input Labs
  • Results
  • Shop Labs
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Labs correspond to the Lab Test Analyzer, which is free with a SelfDecode annual subscription or lifetime membership. It used to be an extra $97 a year, but now comes with the subscription.

Labs is for people experiencing health symptoms even though their lab tests are in the “normal” range. They can upload their lab results on Input Labs to get personalized analysis and recommendations under Results.

If you don’t have lab test results available for analysis, you can order lab tests under Shop Labs. That’s what I did.

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The lab reports can be used independently or with SelfDecode’s health reports. When I got my reports, I felt I had a more complete picture of my health.

As an example, I used Wellness Reports to see my genetic predispositions to specific health problems. Afterward, I used Labs to confirm those findings.

How Much Does SelfDecode Cost?

SelfDecode offers the following plans with a 30-day money-back guarantee:

  1. Annual Subscription — Starts at $99 a year
  2. DNA File Upload — $199 (one-time payment)
  3. SelfDecode DNA Kit — $298 (one-time payment for new users who want to use the SelfDecode test)
  4. Professional Plan — Starts at $199 a month, $2,388 a year
    • Lifetime access for professionals — $11,600 (one-time payment)
  5. Add-ons:
    • 1:1 Consult & Medical Health Reports — $199 for a 30-minute consultation with a SelfDecode DNA health coach
    • Ancestry DNA Reports — $79
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Source: 123rf

All paid plans include access to health reports. You can also upload your raw DNA for free and pay per report.

Here’s what you get with your purchase: 

  • Non-invasive saliva test kit
  • Analyzes 700,000 genetic variants (more than the 650,000 variants of 23andme and 669,000 variants by AncestryDNA)
  • Turns 700,000 variants into 83+ million additional variants through an AI technique called “genetic imputation”
  • Ships to 214 countries

Where Can I Buy SelfDecode?

You can buy SelfDecode on their website.

How Does SelfDecode Protect Your Privacy?

SelfDecode has several security measures in place to protect your privacy. These include secure SSL-certified connections, external security penetration testing, and maintaining audit logs.

SelfDecode states that it will never sell customers’ genetic data to other companies or third parties. You fully own your data, which includes access to raw material and reports.

SelfDecode requires some basic information (like your name and email address). But you can use a pseudonym if you’re concerned about your privacy.  

If you decide to delete your information, just send a request. SelfDecode will remove it from its database. Moreover, payment is processed through trusted companies like PayPal and Stripe.

What People Think of SelfDecode

Some satisfied customers of SelfDecode have left them glowing reviews, such as:

“SelfDecode gives you an extensive overview of your health relative to your genes. You also get simple suggestions for how to deal with or mitigate challenges you may have. I’m a lifetime member and a very satisfied customer.” – Magnus Andersson

“I’m very impressed with this company! They even analyze lab results you have taken at your physician’s office! Even tho yours labs may be within standards “normal limits” they recommend how to optimize your health. I can’t wait to get my final report ! My experience has been amazing thus far.. it can only get better!” – Janelle Lechner

Is SelfDecode Accurate?

SelfDecode is generally considered very accurate, but mistakes and discrepancies can happen, as with any other DNA test. A number of factors can cause inaccuracies, like:

  • Poorly-handled samples
  • A problem in the chain of custody of the sample
  • Outdated algorithms

Among other reasons.

Still, SelfDecode strives to deliver the most accurate results from good-quality samples. Genetics is complex and still evolving, so it can improve.

Is SelfDecode Worth It?

Yes, I definitely thought that SelfDecode was worth it. Even if I’ve taken several tests already, SelfDecode still has a lot to offer.

There were unique insights that I hadn’t seen yet, or at least explored as in-depth as SelfDecode did.

SelfDecode vs. Competitors

CriteriaSelfDecode23andMeAncestryDNAGenomelinkMyHeritage
Price (Base Price)$99 for DNA kit; $199 for DNA upload; $298 for DNA kit + Health Insights$99 for Ancestry Service; $199 for Health + Ancestry Service$99$199 for Whole Genome Sequencing DNA kit$89
Add-On/Subscription Prices$99/year for subscription$29/year for VIP Health + Ancestry ServiceSubscriptions for additional records: $21.99 to $59.99/monthUnlimited Monthly Plan: $14; Unlimited Annual Plan: $96Starting at $79/year for subscription
Turnaround Time for Results6-8 weeks2-3 weeks6-8 weeksNot specified3-4 weeks
Kinds of Testing DoneAutosomal; Health-focusedAutosomal; mtDNA; Y-DNA (for males); Health predispositions; Carrier statusAutosomalAutosomal; Health and trait reportsAutosomal
Can Upload Raw DNA DataYesNoYesYesYes
Database SizeNot specifiedOver 12 million kits soldOver 18 million peopleNot specifiedOver 4.5 million people

SelfDecode vs 23andMe

23andme remains the top choice for genetic health testing. Its Health+Ancestry package costs $199, including a DNA kit and 150+ wellness and ancestry reports.

You also get updated results whenever there’s new research. Most importantly, several of 23andme’s reports are FDA-approved. SelfDecode has none.

However, if you already have raw DNA data from a supported company, SelfDecode’s yearly subscription is an affordable option for $99. You can also choose to pay-per-report and only get insights that matter most for your health.

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Read our 23andMe review.

SelfDecode vs AncestryDNA

The AncestryDNA Traits package lets you do several things. It can help you find DNA matches, learn about your ancestry, and discover the genetics behind your traits.

Meanwhile, SelfDecode is mainly focused on providing health information through raw DNA. If you don’t have one, you have to buy their test kit separately.

Pick AncestryDNA if you are more concerned with your genetic background. Otherwise, SelfDecode is our top pick if you want to know more about your health.

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Read our Ancestry DNA review

SelfDecode vs MyHeritage

MyHeritage sells DNA kits for $89, lower than Joe Cohen’s SelfDecode, which costs $99. 

You do have to pay an extra $120 to access MyHeritage’s health reports, which are currently limited to 23 genetic health risks and 27 carrier status reports.

SelfDecode provides unlimited health reports with their paid plans at no extra cost. It’s the better choice compared to MyHeritage in terms of pricing and comprehensive results.

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Read our MyHeritage review.

SelfDecode vs Genomelink

Like SelfDecode, Genomelink is also a genetic decoding platform. Simply upload your raw DNA data from AncestryDNA or 23andme, and they will analyze it to uncover more information. 

Genomelink provides both health and ancestry information, while SelfDecode focuses only on health.

Unfortunately, it can only process genetic data from 23andMe, AncestryDNA, and MyHeritage. SelfDecode accepts data from at least 11 DNA testing companies. 

The best thing about Genomelink is that you can readily access 25 reports for free. But if you want exclusive health reports, go for SelfDecode. If you don’t want a paid membership, you can always upload your raw DNA for free and pay for the reports that you like.

Genomelink Logo

Read our Genomelink review.

How We Evaluated SelfDecode

We spent hours of thorough research, reading reviews, and scouring the web. We also tried some features ourselves. After much effort, our team came up with the criteria for rating SelfDecode. 

Accuracy

We looked at the company’s research and development procedures. We wanted to ensure their reports were based on the most recent findings in the relevant fields of science.

Privacy

We made sure to only review companies that take care to keep your data safe.

If you feel unsafe, you can delete your data from their servers. They give you complete control and ownership over your information in this way.

Price

We made sure to take price into account, as well as value for money.

User experience

Our research revealed that most users were satisfied with the services offered by SelfDecode.

Most of them also find customer support helpful and responsive.

About the Company

SelfDecode is a DNA testing and analysis company. It was founded in 2016 by Joe Cohen, the same person who established SelfHacked (a personalized genetics blog) and Lab Test Analyzer (another testing service).

SelfDecode claims to be “the only company doing AI in genomics & real precision health.” To put it simply, its focus is human health.

If you already have files from 23andme or AncestryDNA, upload them to SelfDecode’s portal to receive more insights. If you don’t have any raw DNA data, you can purchase a SelfDecode DNA test kit to get started.

The DNA company looks at genetic variants that may be causing health problems. It also provides you with personalized health recommendations based on your genetic information. This allows you to make lifestyle changes for optimal health. 

You will get results and recommendations through various health reports, which you can access with any paid plan. Alternatively, you can upload your raw DNA for free and only pay for the reports you want.

Is SelfDecode’s subscription worth it? Yes, we think so.

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Updated on March 18, 2024
Ada Sandoval
Ada Sandoval
Content Contributor
Ada Sandoval is a B.S. in Nursing graduate and a registered nurse with a heart for abandoned animals. She works as a content writer who specializes in medical-related articles and pet health.