Father - Determination of Parenthood

Determination of Parenthood

Since Roman times fatherhood has been determined with this famous sentence: Mater semper certa; pater est quem nuptiae demonstrant ("The mother is always certain; the father is whom the marriage vows indicate"). The historical approach has been destabilised with the recent emergence of accurate scientific testing, particularly DNA testing. As a result, the law on fatherhood is undergoing rapid changes.

Like mothers, human fathers may be categorized according to their biological, social or legal relationship with the child. Historically, the biological relationship paternity has been determinative of fatherhood. However, proof of paternity has been intrinsically problematic and so social rules often determined who would be regarded as a father, e.g. the husband of the mother.

An individual who is a genetic chimera could theoretically have more than one biological father. No example of this has been reported but human chimeras were unknown to exist until recently and scientists are currently uncertain as to the extent of chimerism within the human population.

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Famous quotes containing the words determination of and/or parenthood:

    ... the living, vital truth of social and economic well-being will become a reality only through the zeal, courage, the non-compromising determination of intelligent minorities, and not through the mass.
    Emma Goldman (1869–1940)

    The middle years of parenthood are characterized by ambiguity. Our kids are no longer helpless, but neither are they independent. We are still active parents but we have more time now to concentrate on our personal needs. Our children’s world has expanded. It is not enclosed within a kind of magic dotted line drawn by us. Although we are still the most important adults in their lives, we are no longer the only significant adults.
    —Ruth Davidson Bell. Ourselves and Our Children, by Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, ch. 3 (1978)