Getting your DNA tested is almost as easy as hailing a cab, at least in New York City.
A mobile clinic run by the New York company Health Street, roams around the city housed in a 28-ft RV displaying the slogan: “Who’s Your Daddy?” You’ll need a prescription from a doctor for the testing — they do paternity and other familial DNA tests — and the company offers the service on the spot for $299 and up. A technician collects your sample in the RV, then sends it to a laboratory in Ohio, and results are available in three to five business days.
Jared Rosenthal, who founded Health Street and drives the RV, recounts some of the people affected by his service: Two women who learned they were half-sisters, and a man whose suspicion that he might be the father of a friend’s daughter was confirmed.
“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,” Rosenthal told ABC News. “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.”
According to Reuters reporter Lily Kuo, 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.
Some say such quick and readily available testing is a boon, but many question whether people are psychologically prepared for their results — especially if they’re not what they were hoping for.