http://www.registerguard.com/csp/cms/sites/dt.cms.support.viewStory.cls?cid=28238&sid=1&fid=1 Dad with doubts can buy paternity kit over-the-counter By Tim Christie The Register-Guard Published: Nov 28, 2007 09:16:39AM For years, women who wondered if they were pregnant have trekked to their local drug store to buy a home pregnancy test. Now, men who are wondering if theyre the father can make the same trip. DNA paternity tests are being test marketed at more than 900 Rite Aid stores in Oregon, Washington and California, as well as at Meijer stores in the Midwest. The Identigene kits, made by Sorenson Genomics of Salt Lake City, are the first genetic tests of any kind sold over-the-counter to consumers, the company says. Sorenson Genomics has been selling DNA genetic tests on the Web for the past 10 years, said Doug Fogg, the companys chief operating officer. We felt there was another segment of the market that may be more inclined to purchase from the local drug store, he said Tuesday. The kits have a list price of $29.99 but are selling at local Rite Aid stores for $19.99. The kit is surprisingly low-tech: It includes instructions, consent forms, three packages with two cotton swabs each, and envelopes. The swabs are used to collect saliva from inside the cheek of the child, the alleged father and optionally, the mother, then mailed to Sorenson. The lab work that analyzes the swabs and either proves or disproves paternity costs another $119. Results are returned by fax, U.S. mail or via a secure Web site in three to five days. The tests are 99.99 percent accurate, Fogg said. If someone wanted the test to be admissible in a court of law, they could pay an extra $200 to have an independent party collect the swabs and establish a chain of custody for the samples, Fogg said. Testing raises ethical questions The Identigene tests cant be used to establish or disprove blood relations for siblings, aunts and uncles or grandparents, but the company does sell such kits on its Web site at dnatesting.com, he said. Because the drug-store marketing of paternity kits is unprecedented, Sorenson isnt sure how well theyll sell. But Fogg said the company is optimistic and expects to market the product nationally by the first of the year. A surprising number of people have questions or are curious to verify the paternity of a child, he said. He likened the DNA paternity tests to home pregnancy tests, which are widely available and popular. Early on, they were not readily accepted, but over time they have proven to be quite an inexpensive, reliable and convenient way to determine pregnancy, he said. One selling point of the DNA test is that its discrete, and does not require lawyers or doctors to be involved, he said. Robert Naslund, a veteran family law attorney in Eugene, said he could envision scenarios where the test could avoid conflict and hurt feelings. If a man wants to confirm hes the father, heres a way you could do it without upsetting mom, he said. I see a real benefit if the dad could just go satisfy himself without letting mom know, he said. Patricia Backlar, a Portland bioethicist who teaches at Oregon Health & Science University and Portland State University, said the home DNA paternity kit raises a host of ethical questions, such as, who does the information belong to? Who would benefit and who could be harmed by knowing? Will the information benefit the child? There are lots of mischievous things that could go on which are an invasion of another persons privacy, she said. Some see possibility for misuse A home DNA paternity test is different than one ordered by a judge, she said. This is kind of surreptitious, she said. Anyone can get a swab of saliva. You dont know how it might be misused. It might have nothing to do with the father wanting the information or even the mother wanting to know which man is the father. It could be someone wanting to get something on you. Ashley Flower, a Rite Aid spokeswoman, said the chain wants to see how the kits sell in the West to determine if theres enough demand to sell them nationwide. Rite Aid does not disclose product sales figures, she said.