Testing time for fathers...
Many fathers are raising someone else's child.
The growth in genetic checks reveals that 1 in 25 men are bringing up children they mistakenly believe are their own. Finding out the truth can be devastating
IT IS a wise child who knows his own father, as Homer has it. But in Britain, Shakespeare’s aphorism may be more pertinent: it is a wise father who knows his own child.
Research suggests that, as cases of teenage pregnancies, sexual infidelity and multiple partners increase, 1 in 25 fathers could unknowingly be raising another man’s child.
With improvements in genetic testing, thousands of fathers every year are discovering that “their” child is someone else’s. A study by scientists from Liverpool John Moores University concludes that 4 per cent of all men are unwittingly bringing up a child they have not fathered.
Of the men who demand a paternity test because they suspect infidelity, one in four have their suspicions confirmed.
The team gives warning that the trend, known as “paternal discrepancy”, poses serious implications for the future of the family.
Paternity tests have also featured in high-profile disputes involving celebrities and politicians. This year David Blunkett, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, learnt that he was not the father of the latest child of his former lover, Kimberly Quinn. Liz Hurley won child support for her son Damian after tests proved that Steve Bing, a millionaire television producer, was his father.
Recent scientific advances have resulted in a boom in the use of DNA profiling and genetic testing, which is relied on in areas such as organ donation and criminal investigations. They are also being used by a growing number of men keen to have access to a child or to disprove a claim for child support made against them.