Rethinking Healthcare

New York City gets roadside paternity tests

Posting in Cities

An RV with the slogan, "Who's your daddy?" collects DNA on the spot and returns answers in a few business days.

Curious about your family ties but don't want to drag everyone to the doctor? If you're in New York City you just may be in luck, the "Who's your daddy?" RV collects DNA on the spot.

TIME.com's Alexandra Sifferlin reports:

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.

That prescription factor could pose a roadblock for some folks wanting a quick test, but the test service proprietors say they've had no shortage of customers. Visitors to their RV include not only mothers and fathers looking to confirm paternity, but also grown adults curious to know whether they're related.

Nearly 500,000 paternity tests are now taken in the U.S. each year, according to Michael Baird, director of DNA Diagnostics, a DNA testing laboratory. While a number of at-home DNA tests are now available, health providers recommend sticking to tests certified by the AABB, or the American Association of Blood Banks, which gave the "Who's your daddy?" van the okay.

Photo: Sharon Mollerus/Flickr

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Audrey Quinn

Contributing Writer

Audrey Quinn is a Brooklyn-based multimedia journalist focused on health, tech and the economy. Her radio stories can be heard on Marketplace, Studio 360, PRI's The World, NPR's Latino USA, Deutsche Welle Radio and The Believer Magazine podcast. In addition to her work with CBS Interactive she produces multimedia science stories for online publications and is a teaching assistant at the Transom Story Workshop. Her investigative work has been awarded by the Fund for Investigative Journalism and The Nation Institute’s Investigative Fund. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure