Want to know if your kid is yours (minus the embarrassment of going on Maury or getting a court-appointed test)? Well now you can — with the help of a company that administers paternity tests in a truck.
Health Street, a New York City-based company, recently revamped their 2-year-old mobile van paternity test program. Here’s how it works: The vans, which have “Who’s Your Daddy” on their sides, cruise through neighborhoods offering paternity tests for $299 and up. Reuters reports:
Passersby can hail the conspicuous brown and blue Winnebago to have DNA samples taken by a technician, packaged and sent to a laboratory in Ohio. Results are returned within three to five business days. Mandatory prescriptions for the tests from a customer's physician can be faxed via the Internet to the RV.
While it is common for DNA testing distributors, companies who take the samples and send them to labs for analysis, to offer mobile collection services, Health Street appears to be the first to splash exactly what it does on the vehicle. "DNA TESTING" in bold red lettering is painted on the side.
Jared Rosenthal, Health Street’s founder and driver of the van, told ABC News that he offers a service that goes far beyond a clinical procedure. “DNA really gets at a person’s identity, it gets to the core of their identity, who your parents are, who your children are, how you define yourself ethnically and culturally.” He added, “The RV is a little more intimate than a clinic, clients tend to talk more; they tell us things, we experience some of these life-changing moments with them.”
And apparently there is a great need for DNA testing. Time.com reported:
[Demand] for such testing is increasing in the U.S., reaching nearly 500,000 a year, in part because of increasing numbers of births to unmarried women. Most of the tests are requested by state child-support agencies.
But the typical customer at Health Street includes engaged men confirming the paternity of children from prior relationships, returning soldiers making sure newly-born children are theirs, and women inquiring about who fathered their child.
Since a range of programs around the country use vans to administer mammograms, HIV tests and diabetes screenings, it’s not surprising that paternity tests are the next thing to go mobile.
However, Susan Crockin, a lawyer who teaches at Georgetown Law Center and specializes in reproductive technology, told Reuters that people should really think about the lack of reliability of these kinds of services. She said, “The underlying issues are obviously the quality of testing.”
Another thing to think about is what happens if you find out information that was completely unexpected — like if you found out you weren’t the father. But we’re pretty sure a van test beats running off a stage crying when Maury announces the results.
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(Photo: REUTERS/Andrew Kelly)