Thorny Legal Issues Raised by DNA Tests


Few realize that their quest to learn more about themselves can have far reaching consequences for themselves and their family members. Learn about some of the unanticipated issues that can arise after taking a direct-to-consumer DNA test. Topics to be covered include law enforcement implications, privacy concerns, insurance problems, paternity/fertility donor fraud, inheritance issues, retroactive child support, and name change statutes and procedures with attorney Maria Leonard Olsen.

Maria is a biracial woman whose parents were forbidden by law to marry in their home state of Maryland in the early 1960s. She is the mother of two, a commercial litigation attorney, journalist, recovery mentor and author of two adult nonfiction books and two children’s books. Her latest book is 50 After 50: Becoming Your Best Version, and she is writing a book on the unintended consequences of consumer DNA testing. She leads writing/empowerment retreats for women and hosts the “Becoming Your Best Version” podcast. She spoke at TEDx CUNY in November 2021 on “Using Life’s Challenges as a Force for Good,” which include the challenge of learning she was an NPE. Her talks on becoming your best version involve overcoming common battles, including divorce, empty-nest syndrome, work/life balance, sexual assault, misattributed parentage, feeling less than, addictions, anxiety and depression. She has spoken at the Pennsylvania Conference for Women, the National March to End Rape Culture and numerous corporate and nonprofit events. Her writing has been published in The Washington Post, Parents Magazine, The Washingtonian, AARP’s The Ethel, and more. Contact Maria at