Paternity Tests and Surrogate Fathers
High profile stories often highlight issues that affect many of us. When David Blunkett had an affair with a married woman, Kimberley Quinn, the DNA paternity tests revealed he had fathered a son with Ms Quinn. But she was a married woman, and her husband Stephen Quinn had brought up the boy as his own, believing he was the biological father.
Although the media focus after the paternity tests was on Blunkett and his political career, the issue of ‘surrogate fathers’ was also raised by the paternity battle that ensued between Blunkett and Quinn. DNA tests can provide the answers many men are desperate to hear, but they can also provide unwanted answers too. Stephen Quinn however asserted that even though the tests showed his son William was in fact Blunkett’s biological child this did not matter, as William was in all intents and purposes still his son.
The Role of Fathering
It raises the question of nurture versus nature. Although paternity tests can reveal our genetic heritage, it doesn’t necessarily impact on the role of fathering a child. There are many men who consciously bring up other men’s children because they have accepted the responsibility of the child as their own. In cases where a man has brought up a child only to find out it isn’t his and the biological father wants custody – it can be a painful and difficult time.
Paternity Tests Raise Philosophical and Social Questions
Paternity DNA testing do raise issues around fathering – does reading bedside stories, changing nappies and loving a child as if it’s your own count for more then genetic links? Isn’t fathering really about showing care, love and patience for a child? But there’s no denying – evidenced by the popularity of these tests in the UK – that bloodlines and genes have a powerful sway. Paternity tests raise major philosophical and social questions – from notions of what constitutes fatherhood, to the question of identity and human rights.
We normally think of surrogate mothers and surrogacy and we see this as a blessing for those couples who for some reason or other cannot have kids of their own. But this issue of surrogacy is not so clear cut- different countries have different laws and often the laws that apply in the country of origin of the surrogate parents do not apply in the country where the couple opt to have their surrogacy treatment. Surrogacy DNA testing in now widely used to help children born through surrogacy get a claim to citizenship. Click here for more about this type of test.
Paternity throughout History
Research shows that one in 25 fathers are unwittingly bringing up a child that is not his own. These DNA based tests could cause huge upset – but they can also forge relationships. The rise in the popularity of using DNA to confirm or exclude paternity however isn’t thought to indicate any kind of moral decay – paternity tests are simply more available and cheaper then ever. Paternity issues have been part of the fabric of life for millenniums.