Who’s Your Daddy? Do-It-Yourself Paternity Tests Hit Pharmacies Across Britain

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For years it’s seemed like the only way to get a DNA test is by appearing in court—or on the Maury Povich Show. That’s finally changing.

Boots, Britain’s largest pharmacy chain, is handing power to the people by selling at-home paternity kits in its largest stores and via its web site. For around $50, the Assuredna DNA Testing Kit offers peace of mind (or major headaches) to men who question their son’s resemblance to the plumber, and to women who may have been free with their favors at the time of conception. Customers must pay an additional $200 lab fee to process the results.

(More on NewsFeed: Chess Great Bobby Fischer Exhumed for Paternity Test.)

Denise Syndercombe-Court, an expert on paternity testing, told the BBC there’s a huge amount of interest in these easy-to-use kits that collect DNA using cheek swabs. But she questioned the ethics of making them so readily available. She advocates counseling for families to help them consider the consequences such testing can have on their children—and their relationship. She also wants to make sure that the service isn’t done without people’s consent. “This is an area where people can gain power and influence over other people,” she said.

To make sure everyone is on board, Boots requires the mother and father, and children over 16, to sign consent forms and to provide photocopies of their passport and driver’s license. It’s thought those checks will safeguard against behind-your-back testing. Performing a DNA test without informed consent is a criminal offense in England, and those found guilty face up to three years behind bars.

After a family has collected those documents and three saliva samples, they simply mail it all off in a pre-paid envelope. If only dealing with an unwanted result were as straightforward. (via the Telegraph)

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