NBC Touts New Do-It-Yourself Paternity Test

Jerry Springer and Maury Povich may need to find new material for their sleazy talk shows.  Thanks to a new at-home paternity test, baby-daddy drama (finding out who the father of a child is) will soon be extinct.

Most people would understand that if this product finds a market, it's yet another sign that the United States is headed toward a moral apocalypse, but NBC treated the do-it-yourself paternity test as just another medical breakthrough.  . 

On the March 27 Today Show, NBC reporter Michelle Kosinski lumped at-home DNA tests into the same category as at-home tests for HIV, fertility, colon cancer and a genetic test for bipolar disorder.  Lynn Dornblaser, a new product analyst at Mintel International Group, said these at-home tests are “all about consumers taking control of their own health issues.  It's also about finding new ways to avoid going to the doctor, to avoid high insurance costs.” 

Hmmm.  Not knowing who the father of your child might be is just another health issue? 


Anchor Ann Curry added helpfully, “The makers say it can relieve stress and anxiety over potentially embarrassing situations.”

Hmmm.  Not knowing who the father of your child might be is potentially embarrassing?

Kosinski noted that sales are exceeding expectations and the customers tend to be “women in their 20s.” She also stated that it “kind of makes me think, you know, 30 years from now, what's the next step going to be?” 

Maybe that next step will be a new cultural institution, the Shotgun Shower.  Invite all the potential fathers to a party and make them swab their cheeks while Grandpa covers them with his 12-gauge.   

Kosinski found time to address concerns about “stealing DNA samples” from people without their consent, FDA warnings about false negatives, and results from at-home DNA tests not being admissible in court proceedings.   She never got around to exploring the issue of morality.

She might have asked questions like “What does it say about the moral character of our nation's young women if they don't know who the father of their child is without a DNA test?” Or “Is promiscuity so out of control that America needs a paternity test women can administer themselves?

NBC also failed to bring in experts to discuss the effects on men who find out a child they presumably fathered was in fact fathered by someone else.  Reporters did not suggest that if people waited to have children until after they were married perhaps there would be less doubt about the child's paternity. 

Do-it-yourself paternity tests are not just another medical breakthrough, they're a harbinger of cultural degradation.  NBC's reporters need to develop some sensitivity to moral concerns.