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.
Read more about this topic: Father
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 (18691940)
“We do the same thing to parents that we do to children. We insist that they are some kind of categorical abstraction because they produced a child. They were people before that, and theyre still people in all other areas of their lives. But when it comes to the state of parenthood they are abruptly heir to a whole collection of virtues and feelings that are assigned to them with a fine arbitrary disregard for individuality.”
—Leontine Young (20th century)