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Paternity testing, quite literally, hits the road

"It's just such a serious, fundamental question," says New York City resident Jared Rosenthal. "Who are your children? Who are your parents?"

Being an entrepreneur, Rosenthal has done more than just dwell on the question. He has turned a Winnebago motor home into a mobile DNA testing facility, painted it conspicuously in brown and blue colors, stamped the words "DNA TESTING" in red letters across the sides and topped off his concoction with this prominently splayed interrogatory:

"Who's your daddy?"

Lots of people -- and government agencies -- from Florida to Alaska want definitive answers to that paternity-laced inquiry. Many individuals are driven by child support concerns. Others are seeking child custody or visitation rights. A fundamental motivation spurring many people to test is that they simply feel a compelling need to know.

The head of one blood lab readily supplies a number to confirm the steady uptick in paternity-related DNA testing. He says that the demand has been steadily rising and now amounts to about 500,000 tests per year across the country.

Rosenthal's business model works like this. Hail the Winnebago, and Rosenthal will obligingly bring it to a halt. An onboard technician will then take DNA samples and pass them along to a testing lab in Ohio. The results are typically back in the customer's hand within a week.

The cost? In most cases, about $300.

Not everyone is enthralled by the inherent ease and speed of the process. Some critics cite obvious concerns regarding its reliability.

"The underlying issues are obviously with the quality of testing," says one reproductive technology specialist.

Others feel uneasy about new doors that it may open. To test for paternity has historically been a well-considered decision for most people. Near-instant testing obviously undercuts that and may leave some persons psychologically unprepared for the results.

Still, a trend seems clear: Rosenthal's is not the only business to offer consumers a mobile collection service.

Is it too early to think about a franchise?

Source: Reuters, "Who's your daddy? DNA clinic gives answers, sparks concerns," Lily Kuo, Aug. 23, 2012

  • A paternity action can facilitate the resolution of issues surrounding visitation, custody and child support. Our firm regularly provides paternity-related assistance and representation to fathers and mothers throughout Florida. For further information on our firm and practice, we invite readers to visit our Miami, Florida, Paternity page.

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