NY and MD limits on 23andMe

“No DNA for you!”

You remember that episode of Seinfeld with the Soup Nazi? If you didn’t stay on the good side of the soup stand owner, all you got was a stern “No soup for you!” The phrase went viral back before anybody even knew what going viral meant.

The Legal Genealogist can’t help but think that’s probably pretty close to what’s going through the mind of folks who’ve finally decided to get in on DNA testing now that 23andMe has lowered its price for its autosomal testing to $99 — only to discover that, if they live in New York or Maryland, it’s “No DNA for you!”


At least not the kind of DNA testing you get with 23andMe, which includes health-related traits and not just genealogy.

Both states have decided that they need to protect us from ourselves by making sure that, if we get health-related tests of any kind, we get them from state-approved laboratories.

Never mind that you may have no interest at all in the health part of 23andMe’s tests; you can’t take the test in New York and you can’t even buy it if you live in Maryland.

Here’s the story:

New York

Right now, New York State law requires that all specimens obtained within New York State be tested by a laboratory that holds a New York State clinical laboratory permit, if the test has any health related aspects at all. The law specifically forbids any lab that doesn’t have that permit from “accepting specimens from New York state.”1

And, 23andMe advises its customers, the New York Department of Health considers 23andMe’s Personal Genome Service a test requiring a lab license and direct physician involvement.

Now there’s nothing in the law that says you can’t buy a DNA test kit from 23andMe if you live in New York. And the law doesn’t stop 23andMe from shipping the kit to you in New York. So you can order it and receive it in New York.

But the law does say you can’t provide the specimen in New York and have it tested by 23andMe, since it doesn’t have that New York permit. So to be legal, you have to cross the border into New Jersey or Connecticut and spit into the saliva collection tube there.

And you can’t send it in from New York and have it tested even if you spit into the tube in New Jersey or Connecticut. The policy at 23andMe is that any sample arriving in a package postmarked New York is discarded, so that it won’t run afoul of New York law.

The theory behind all of this is that New York has its own Clinical Laboratory Evaluation Program (CLEP), which

seeks to ensure the accuracy and reliability of results of laboratory tests on specimens obtained within the state through on-site inspections, proficiency testing and evaluation of the qualifications of personnel of state permit-holding clinical laboratories and blood banks. The proper performance of diagnostic laboratory tests is a matter of vital concern, affecting the public health, safety and welfare of all NYS residents. Clinical laboratories and blood banks provide essential public health services in aiding the medical practitioner by furnishing information invaluable in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. Substandard performance of such tests may and has contributed to erroneous diagnoses and/or the selection of inappropriate treatment protocols.2

If 23andMe eventually does get FDA approval for its tests, and it is seeking that approval,3 then New York residents may find testing easier: there’s a new regulatory proposal that would allow some testing at labs that don’t have the New York permits if the lab and its test are FDA-approved.

In the interim, however, it’s a PATH ride across the Hudson or “No DNA for you!” if you want to test with 23andMe. Purely genealogical tests from Family Tree DNA or AncestryDNA aren’t affected by the New York State law. And it doesn’t affect the National Geographic Geno 2.0 testing either.


It’s even worse for Maryland residents. For them, it’s always “No DNA for you!” The law there doesn’t let Maryland residents buy direct-to-consumer tests of any kind if they have health aspects. If you want any kind of lab test done in Maryland, you have to get it through a medical practitioner — or a court order.

First, Maryland law prohibits anyone from offering or advertising for lab business except to medical professionals. The law expressly states:

A person may not directly or indirectly advertise for or solicit business in this State for any medical laboratory, regardless of location, from anyone except a physician, hospital, medical laboratory, clinic, clinical installation, or other medical care facility.4

So 23andMe can’t even ask for your business if you live in Maryland. But say you find out about the test anyway. You’re not allowed to buy 23andMe’s test because, again, its Personal Genome Service is considered the kind of test that requires direct physician involvement. Its administrative code provides:

A laboratory may not perform a laboratory test, except a cholesterol or HDL-C, without obtaining written or electronic authorization from:
(1) A court of law;
(2) A doctor of medicine, osteopathy, podiatric medicine, or dentistry; or
(3) Another person authorized to order laboratory tests under the Annotated Code of Maryland.5

And the Maryland Department of Health stepped up enforcement of that statute and regulation in 2012, explaining its in year-end report:

This enforcement mandated that over fifty websites, offering direct to consumer laboratory testing, add a disclaimer prohibiting ordering for Maryland residents. Direct to Consumer testing is dangerous because it occurs without physical examination or medical assistance. It can also lead to inaccurate diagnoses and a higher cost for the consumer for irrelevant testing.6

Once again, these laws do not affect strictly genealogical DNA tests such as those offered by Family Tree DNA and AncestryDNA, or National Geographic’s Geno 2.0 testing.

But the rule does mean that, if you live in Maryland, you can’t even try to connect to your genetic cousins who’ve tested with 23andMe by doing your own test at 23andMe for genealogical purposes. The mere fact that 23andMe gives you health-related information means you’re out of luck.

“No DNA for you!”


  1. N.Y. Pub. Health Law § 574, Article 5, Title V.
  2. Clinical Laboratory Evaluation Program,” New York State Department of Health (http://www.wadsworth.org : accessed 22 Dec 2012).
  3. Dick Eastman, “23andMe seeks FDA Approval for Personal DNA Test,” Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter, posted 30 Jul 2012 (http://blog.eogn.com : accessed 22 Dec 2012).
  4. Maryland Code, Health Law § 17-215.
  5. Code of Maryland Regulations, (Authorization to Request Laboratory Tests).
  6. Maryland Department of Health, Fiscal Year 2012 Annual Report & Staffing Analysis, PDF report at 12 (http://dhmh.maryland.gov : accessed 22 Dec 2012).
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86 Responses to NY and MD limits on 23andMe

  1. Kathryn Johnston says:

    Thank you Judy for this comparison. I had always wondered what the differences were
    between NY and MD law. The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in
    particular seems to be moving backwards while the scientific world is moving forward.

    As a genetic genealogist and a physician, I was particularly struck by the state-
    ment, “Direct to Consumer testing is dangerous because it occurs without physical
    examination or medical assistance. It can also lead to inaccurate diagnosis and a
    higher cost for consumer for irrelevant testing.” I wondered if the person who
    wrote this statement (was it Joshua Sharfstein, M.D.?) also feels the same way
    about pregnancy testing.

    If DTC testing is detrimental, then show us the scientific evidence. There is no
    good scientific study to date that proves that 23andMe tests are dangerous – quite
    the opposite. 23andMe never has claimed that it will diagnose your current illness.
    It merely shows possible or potential correlations based on your own genetic code
    that each one of us possesses. Who owns this information anyway? We know that there
    is much work to be done, especially in the diagnosis of complex diseases. We also
    see that consumers understand these limitations based on recent investigations
    reported by researchers at the November meeting of the American Society of Human
    Genetics in San Francisco.

    I would also like to see a study that proves that this test results in “higher costs
    and irrelevant testing.” Currently a 23andMe test is only $99. The tests are
    conducted in a CLIA certified laboratory so the actual data is not being questioned.

    Genealogists around the world are ordering DTC tests in record numbers and if they
    had experienced any significant medical harm, then I think we would have heard
    about it. The Center for Disease Control has not issued any medical alerts as far as I know
    I know even though this 23andMe test has been under surveillance for several years.

    What makes the state of Maryland so adamant that legislation is necessary at this
    point in time? It would seem that education rather than support of outdated laws is
    what is needed.

    I would encourage people in MD and NY to write to their governor and state
    legislature. These laws are particularly paternalistic and are not based on any
    sound scientific studies.

    • Judy G. Russell says:

      I couldn’t agree with you more… on all counts!

    • Patrice Ripley says:

      This goes a bit deeper than these tests being dangerous. The MDHMH and state legislature are 100% against adoptees finding their information out. This kind of testing over time makes closed adoption records obsolete and Maryland for whatever reason thinks that all people born before the year of 2000 are not able to handle their own information.

      • Judy G. Russell says:

        There certainly is a major league impact on adoptees of this kind of policy, Patrice. Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to get around it by crossing the border into another state to do the testing. That doesn’t help the closed records, but does open some options.

      • Lynn McGary says:

        Funny you should mention the year 2000. Hospitals around the US have been collecting DNA on every infant born since 2000. Apparently only Uncle Sam and the NSA gets to know everything about you (and your parents). Good luck getting that info yourself!

      • I have done DNA testing as Ancestry.com and it gives a list of members who are related to you. That may also give you information about adoptive persons. So 23 and me is no different in that respect.

        • Judy G. Russell says:

          Maryland isn’t concerned with anything except the health information. That’s the reason why only 23andMe is affected.

    • Kate says:

      Could not agree more! so sick of backward conservative than innovative and empowering. So where do we sign the petition? Knowing full well there will be lobbyists nipping at the bills heals to monopolize on the profit aspect of all this pent up demand!!!

  2. Doug Williams says:

    Way to go NY! Now I’m going to have to work harder to connect to my New York State distant cousins. Perhaps 23andMe will change their way of doing business and offer a genealogy-only DNA test. Thanks, Judy, for bringing this issue to light.

  3. Cyndi says:

    From the wording of the law, it sounds like the test would be okay with a prescription from an MD. I’m in Calif, so it’s all hypothetical for me, but I know my doctor would write that script in a heartbeat, because of the potential of the test helping me figure out some tricky medical issues I have (I’ve already taken the test and, yep, it’s been extraordinarily helpful). After all, how many people pay more than $100 for single genetic tests ordered by a doctor? Wouldn’t it be more cost effective to do 23andme and get a bunch of them all at once? Insurance doesn’t always cover those tests either.

    Since the law only exempts cholesterol tests, it obviously allows scripts for a wide variety of tests. Why not order 23andme with a script? What am I missing?

    • Judy G. Russell says:

      Why should I need to spend money for a doctor’s appointment I don’t need in order to take a test I want?

    • Kate says:

      My Doc and Endo both said no arguing not necessary! No one needs to know their DNA or details to heal Autoimmune conditions

  4. Jeff says:

    Just a couple of quick thoughts. There are a couple of “old” sayings that come to mind. “Water finds it own level” and “there isn’t a contract that can’t be broken.” Someone asked earlier on why the State of Maryland would require this type of law now. Answer, control. All these types of restrictions will do is to slow down the rate in which people will buy these tests. It will not stop them.

  5. Sonia says:

    WNYers also have PA as an option. Beautiful road trips as the fall leaves change :-)

  6. Jane Gilbert says:

    The good news for Maryland residents? It’s geographically a small state. No one is very far from a bordering state where friends live. ;)

    • Judy G. Russell says:

      Too true, Jane — but that doesn’t answer the question of why Marylanders should need to resort to that.

    • Marisa Cormier says:

      I would like to add here as well that if 23andme does find out that you are in MD, they will invalidate your test results. I had mine invalidated about 5 days before getting my results. I fully intend to see if we have a case against the state of MD and additionally will be contacting lawmakers to change this archaic law!

      • Judy G. Russell says:

        Ouch. That hurts. Good luck in getting the law changed.

      • Jane Gilbert says:


        If you’re on Facebook, we’re trying to organize to fight this cease and desist order in Maryland. Look for the group “MaGGS” (Maryland Genetic Genealogy Society).


        • Karen Carlo says:

          I am live in maryland and I am very interested in 23andme type testing and I am deeply offended by this intrusion into what should be personal business. Writing everyone I can. Encouraged that Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is actively seeking public input. They are going to get mine.

      • Karen Carlo says:

        Do you know how they found out you were in MD? Do they ask for address when you register the kit?

        • Judy G. Russell says:

          They find out in any number of ways: your address, your phone number, the address of your credit card when you buy the kit, the postmark when you send back the kit. Any of those will trigger 23andMe to refuse to process the kit because of the Maryland law.

        • RJ says:

          In my case, when I ordered the kit and chose to ship to Maryland, it said, “Sorry! Choose another state?” I thought, “I see what you did there,” and chose to have it shipped to an out-of-state friend, who then sent it to me. But then, like an idiot, I actually CALLED 23andme to ask if I would need to return-ship it to them from outside of Maryland. In my defense, I thought the law was just about shipping to MD, like with wine (at the time)– you couldn’t ship wine to MD but you can certainly drink it in MD. That was when they told me that since I had just told them I live in MD, they have to cancel out my account. I had to argue with them to get my money back, too, because they said I had already opened it so I couldn’t get a refund, and I argued with them that their website was misleading because it offered to ship it to another state rather than telling me at that point that I was legally prohibited from getting the test at all. They ended up refunding my money.

          I think this law is incredibly asinine and really offensive. How can you legislate against citizens knowing what’s on their own DNA, or require them to go through a third party to do so? I don’t care what people say about whether the tests are helpful or accurate– that’s not the point. If I want to be a sucker, I should have the right to be a sucker on this count, and the state should stay out of it.

          • Judy G. Russell says:

            Whatever justification there was for the rule is long gone now. We can hope Maryland’s Legislature understands that and changes the law.

  7. Kathryn Johnston says:

    I should clarify that the legislation is not new, but the stepping up of enforcement based on unsubstantial claims is what makes no sense to me. A public outcry can make a difference.

  8. You said in regard to NY testing, “So to be legal, you have to cross the border into New Jersey or Connecticut and spit into the saliva collection tube there.” This is a pretty NYC-centric way of looking at it, speaking as an upstate NY-er. What would happen if you went into Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Vermont or Canada? They all share borders with NY state as well. Canada, I concede, might well be a problem, as I have no idea if international orders are accepted. I also concede that I am nit-picking, but I couldn’t resist making the point.

  9. Dave says:

    Of course, this also begs another question. This is interstate commerce, so how do these states have any right to regulate it in the first place? They can regulate the advertising, I’ll agree, but to my un(legal)educated mind the Constitution of the United States means what it says: interstate commerce is the province of the Congress and only the Congress.

    • Judy G. Russell says:

      You’re being too literal, Dave. Unless Congress steps in and says it wants to occupy an area as being interstate commerce, then there is room for state regulation alongside any federal rules. Here, the area of health has always been a traditional sphere of state interest and state regulation is allowed except where Congress says it doesn’t want the states involved.

  10. Christopher Linney says:

    So let me get this straight after reading this article twice: THE moment I buy the kit from 23andme at approx. $110 (After shipping/taxes), have it get delivered to my house in upstate NY is just a one-way trip only?

    • Judy G. Russell says:

      New York will certainly allow you to take it with you to a neighboring state (or country!), and provide the sample and mail it back from there. Otherwise, yep, NY says you can’t do that test in NY.

  11. Agnes JT says:

    Belated thanks for the excellent post with references. As a Maryland resident, I was quite miffed to learn about this just this past weekend and have taken action via social media: Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn; FB and Twitter include local and state level politicians. When a friend informed me that I would not be allowed to order directly, but would have to take the side route and have the kit sent to a friend in VA or DC (the same inconvenient route used to get around Maryland’s outdated beer and wine laws), I found your blog post to answer my howling ‘But why?!’ Considering Maryland’s waning ability to attract new businesses, esp in biotech, this can certainly be used as leverage.

  12. Wishuey says:

    As far as I can tell (haven`t gone back to check yet) the only reference to address is “shipping address”. Entering a Maryland address results in the annoying popup, after having spent quite some time examining the website and finally deciding to order the kit. Frustrating in the extreme.
    Am I missing something or could one just use a friend/relative in PA, VA, DE or DC as a shipping address?

    • Judy G. Russell says:

      I don’t know if 23andMe asks you to represent that you don’t actually live in Maryland before selling you a test kit. Your credit card information might give it away, though.

      • Paul Smith says:

        Judy, here’s part of the TOS I had to agree to when activating the 23andme kit:

        3. Prerequisites

        Whether you submit your own saliva sample, a saliva sample for anyone for whom you have legal authority to agree, or otherwise provide your own Genetic Information, you may not use the Services and may not accept the TOS if (1) you are not of legal age to form a binding contract with 23andMe, or (2) you are a person barred from receiving the Services under the laws of the jurisdiction in which you are resident or from which you use the Services.

        I received the kit yesterday and activated it last night. I don’t live in MD or NY so not an issue for me.

        • Judy G. Russell says:

          It’s good that that information is in the terms of service… but it’s still annoying that NY and MD are taking these positions.

    • Phillip H. Savage says:

      Anyway all of us Marylanders can get together and protest to the Legislature and the Governor concerning this “bad” law?

      • Judy G. Russell says:

        No reason why you can’t! Why not contact the Maryland genealogy societies, and especially those with interest groups for DNA, and see if you can’t lobby to get this law changed?

  13. kevin says:

    I’m a Maryland resident and my wife and I had to do the side route by sending the kits to relatives in VA though we used credit card with a Maryland billing address. It’s was no problem mailing our samples from MD and we can now see our results. Somehow we averted serious danger (!) despite doing the end-around Maryland’s poorly written laws.

    With all the income tax, property tax and sales tax I pay you’d think my State wouldn’t treat me like an infant.

    Other antiquated laws on the books in MD don’t allow for car sales in some counties on Sundays and mandate that at-home businesses can’t keep inventory except for yard sales. So in MD don’t try having a retail website or selling on eBay without first opening a storefront in some strip mall to store your items). Some laws were just made to be broken.

    • Judy G. Russell says:

      Sigh… makes you wonder, doesn’t it, Kevin?

      • John Sayre says:

        Ma’am…there’s not much to wonder about. Maryland is a corrupt excuse for a state within our Republic and is a cesspool of nanny-statism and petty bureaucrats. I still cheer for the O’s, but I’m never going home.

    • Josh says:

      Hey Kevin I am an MD resident too and want to do 23 and me. I know some people in VA and DC and am considering doing what you did, but can you get in trouble for that?

      • Judy G. Russell says:

        The law doesn’t affect individuals and there are no penalties if you find a way around it. The law affects the lab companies, and they can get in trouble if they get caught.

        • Marisa Cormier says:

          For clarification, that means if an individual mailed a test out for me from another state they would not be committing a crime? That was how I read it but want to be sure!

          • Judy G. Russell says:

            Maryland cannot legislate about conduct anywhere except in Maryland. So it cannot make it a crime for someone outside Maryland to do something.

  14. William Stribling says:

    Do I get it clear – I can order the kit delivered to NYC, then take
    the PATH to New Jersey & mail it to 23&Me from a NJ post. Is there
    any problem with my New York return address being on “that package.”
    Then, 23&Me is able to send my results straight to the New York address.
    I’m 80 years old, and I need to find out who I am. I do not want to
    end up in one of Cuomo’s gulags – how can you ever get behind these people
    when they do things like this?

    • Judy G. Russell says:

      Yes, you can do just what you’re saying, including having the results sent to your NY address (actually they’re sent to a web location where you simply log in from any location anywhere). You simply need to make sure the kit is mailed from NJ to 23andMe,

  15. Paul Avlo says:

    I like the idea that Maryland protects its citizens from hokey scammy websites. Is it not best that we get our health directives from people that went to medical school?

    • Judy G. Russell says:

      (a) Genetic genealogy tests are neither hokey nor scammy.

      (b) Genetic genealogy tests don’t give you the kind of health information you should ONLY get from a doctor, and if there’s anything about what you do get that you don’t understand, you can certainly consult with one if you want to. But requiring everybody to go to a doctor for a test that tells you about your ancestors is just plain silly.

      • Margo McPhillips says:

        Very good explanation, Judy. I did get some “cocktail party” tests done with Family Tree and sent to my Maryland address, there are a couple borderline health tests like how long you’ll live, what kind of ear wax you have :-) and, what was really helpful for me, how well you metabolize caffeine. I gave the useful results to my doctor for my file and threw away the other couple.

        I had a would-be 4th cousin in Florida pay for and do my 23andMe test but he “disguised” me and had it sent to him and I never really saw the results or had input so did not get anything out of the experience. He was mostly trying to find out more about himself, he “should” have been related to me but was not but then his father and grandfather apparently weren’t related to each other, poor thing. His Y-DNA test didn’t come up the same as his cousin’s. He said he trusts his mother so he knows he’s hers and she wasn’t messing around on his father :-) but that’s about as far as he is able to get.

    • Robin Anikas says:

      The only thing that Maryland is trying to protect is the closed adoption records that they hold so tightly!

      There is nothing about the information obtained that would allow anyone to side step the Medical Community, if anything it may encourage people to seek out medical advise.

      • Judy G. Russell says:

        The studies done in this are do suggest that people who get information from consumer genetic testing do seek medical advice if it’s warranted.

      • Lynn McGary says:

        Clearly someone who is part of Maryland’s Government is the parent of an adopted child, and they risk members of their church finding out about their indiscretion. Keep in mind that the only way for the child to link up to a parent is if that parent’s DNA is on file, and you get your DNA on file when you commit a felony. I’m starting to get a funny feeling about the people running Maryland!

        • Judy G. Russell says:

          Maryland is currently undertaking a review of this regulation and the genetic genealogy community will be addressing this with the Legislature. Fingers crossed.

  16. S. Home says:

    Thanks for this great information! As a fellow attorney working in the realm of Health Law, I think what you wrote here is spot on. I live in Westchester County, NY and received my kit in the mail last week. Yesterday after work, I drove the 20 minutes to a post office in Greenwich, CT to mail the box with my specimen. For good measure, I didn’t spit into the tube until I parked my car in the post office lot, although I don’t really see what authority NY has to say I can’t spit into a tube in NY and then personally transport my own saliva across the border to another state, to be sent to yet another state. Now I just hope my specimen was acceptable. I will re-post if there are issues.

    The NY State Legislature doesn’t exactly have the best reputation for integrity, so my guess is that this law has very little to do with science and medicine and there is some sort of financial ulterior motive. We can’t be expected to believe that NY knows better on this issue than 48 other states, many of which have more vibrant biotech industries.

    My concern with the NY approach is that, if the test has to be ordered through a medical doctor, and insurance pays for that doctor visit, might the company not get wind of this test, even if they don’t pay for it? And then couldn’t they demand to know the results? I suppose there are laws now preventing them from discriminating on the basis of “pre-existing conditions,” but if they had this genetic information, who’s to stop them from denying a future claim on that basis, with the full knowledge that many people will not want to bother going through an official appeal of such a denial? After all, it is all about profits. In any event, I’m just glad we are able to bypass that with 23andMe.

    • Judy G. Russell says:

      The Genetic Information Neutrality Act forbids health insurers from considering DNA tests in any part of the ratings, acceptance or approval process.

  17. Silver says:

    I just discovered this issue today when I finally decided to order kits for myself, my husband and my uncle. My take on the MD law is that it’s not meant so much to protect consumers as it is to line the pockets of in-state doctors and labs, just like the law prohibiting us from ordering a carton of wine off the net (they changed that one, but I still can’t order imported wine online). We’re going to try going the DC route and hope we don’t get busted. I feel like I’m making a shady drug deal rather than just trying to discover my ancestry.

    • Judy G. Russell says:

      That certainly could have been part of the thinking… but I suspect misplaced paternalism (“now now little lady… we know better than you do”) is the biggest part. Make sure you don’t use a credit card with a Maryland billing address, by the way.

      • Silver says:

        The irony is that I paid twice as much for the National Genographic test that didn’t even tell me my Haplogroup subtype, but that test was legal because it gave me no medical information. So the law didn’t protect me from being swindled by an internet business.

    • Jackie says:

      I’ve been following this whole conversation with great interest, and I think you hit the nail on the head here, Silver. It is about the doctors protecting their own pockets, and control over the medical care industry. If genetic tests are now so inexpensive, it will eventually put some of the doctors out of business on that front. But unfortunately, like everything else in this world, it is also about standing in the way of progress and scientific discovery. There should be no reason why people cannot take this test, to discover both their health and their ancestry. I took the test to find out about my health, and was not so much interested in my ancestry. I live in the District, and have for several years, but my family lives in Maryland. I needed the test for health reasons, and my doctor was recommending it, so I hate too feeling that if I were to move back to Maryland, that I would be in trouble then for having used the service. That isn’t right, and Maryland needs to come into the 21st century on this law. It is definitely out of date, and a hindrance to those of us who would like to know more about our own health. Many doctors don’t know enough about genetics themselves, so maybe they feel threatened by consumer power and knowledge. That is morally wrong however, to deny people that knowledge and the ability to research their own health and susceptibility to diseases. For goodness sake, this test could help save someone’s life – are we really going to deny people that? If so, then maybe they are the shady dealers, who are “committing a crime” against us.

  18. Tom Moffatt says:

    The laws in NY and MD are bizarre. 23andMe accepts orders from all Canadian provinces and territories. You could be in the High Arctic on Ellesmere Island and assuming your spit didn’t freeze on contact, you could get a test. On the other hand, ANCESTRY is not taking orders from outside the US for some unknown reason. That makes it more difficult when doing something like French Canadian research, where Canadian samples are an asset. Ancestry’s views are inexplicable.

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  20. F.Petrillo says:

    I just called Ancestry.com and they sail they will accept the DNA test. The NYS restrictions apply to medical genetic testing.

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  22. Gersowitz Libo & Korek P.C says:

    If it’s a law prohibiting consumer DNA testing, then the other companies are most likely not accepting something from NY possibly. Which condition simply will get weirder and weirder.

    • Judy G. Russell says:

      New York law doesn’t prohibit consumer DNA testing; it merely requires that any sample collected in New York be processed in a New York-approved lab.

  23. John Sayre says:

    Thank you once again Nanny Maryland for protecting us from ourselves. Lived the first 23 years of my life in the Old Line State. Never going back. God I hate that state. End of rant.

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  25. Chaim Bochner says:


    Anybody know how to set up a state-wide petition against these sadistic laws? I’m fed up with this crap. Same with stool testing, hair analysis, etc… Leave us alone and allow us to take charge of our health. These medical doctors are killing more people with their “PEER REVIEWED PIECES OF CRAP” than any nutritional test done by well meaning naturopaths. Any ideas would be helpful. I setup a new petition. Please visit Facebook and search for Chaim Bochner. Thanks.

  26. Kate says:

    Same issues trying to get tests at cyrexlabs.com told me via email – I have to move to work with them – Ughthey are cutting edge and state of the art for Autoimmune Conditions and testing I want and need. BS that 48 other states can do business with them and my state govenment says I can’t? So Sick of NYS BS and we pay the highest taxes in the USA fat chance we get a say.

  27. Carolyn says:

    I love this article and agree with everything said here. But, I just had to comment that I thought it was a little humorous it says “So to be legal, you have to cross the border into New Jersey or Connecticut” to mail it back, when those are the smallest borders NY has! It shares larger boundaries with PA and VT. Oh, how the rest of NY shakes our fist at NYC stealing all the glory! I’m driving to PA to mail mine today. :-)

    In regards to a comment above, I found a petition about the Federal Gov’s limitations on 23andme, but not one for NY. Although, I was thinking of starting one myself, or at least emailing the governor.

    • Judy G. Russell says:

      You’re right that there are longer borders, but hey… I’m a New Jerseyan — I’m always going to think about the Hudson River!

  28. John McGing says:

    Actually, the reason Maryland did that was because of it’s newborn testing program, not anything to do with adoptees. Who ever is telling that story just made it up because it simply is wrong. There was an issue with labs selling genetic tests to parents of newborns that were beyond what the state itself was doing with newborn screening and those parents were getting all sorts of poor information about possible issues with their children and it was landing back on the state people. There is a federal group that recommends what tests states do on newborns (http://www.hrsa.gov/advisorycommittees/mchbadvisory/heritabledisorders/) and not every state does every test. But the tests they do do meet strict criteria. And the roster of tests expands, slowly, over time as new infomration and technology becomes available. What was happening is that these labs were soliciting parents of newborns to take their test of the newborn and the efficacy and validity of their testing regimen was unknown since most were not licensed in Maryland. There were very real impacts on families given data about their newborns that was of dubious validity, hence the reaction (and I’d agree, over reaction) of the state to eliminate these tests. The statute covers 23 and me even though it wasn’t one of the labs soliciting parents of newborns because of the health/medical aspects. It is one thing to let an adult access this kind of data but parents of newborns are especially vulnerable to believing what they are told and reacting (and only later finding out the test was wrong or misleading.) Wish it allowed legal adults to be tested, but I can’t fault them given the situation that existed at the time. With a Republican governor in place, there likely would be a good change at modifying the law to accomplish what they need without taking things away from adult testees.

    • Judy G. Russell says:

      An awfully small segment to control results for everyone, including adults. In other words, a total overreaction.

  29. Lara says:

    I live in Maryland. I took a 23AndMe test in 2013 by shipping it to a friend’s in Delaware. And while I took it to genealogically fish in another pool, the health results saved my life. So glad Maryland tried so hard to “protect” me.

    My crazy story is here

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