Questions about paternity have always been around, but with DNA testing it is now possible to determine if two individuals are related to each other.
Current research indicates that roughly 2 to 3% of all children are not genetically related to the assumed father (see Anderson).
If a woman cheats and gets pregnant, she will typically try to pass off the child as belonging to her husband. As a result, many men have unknowingly raised a son or daughter that is not their offspring.
Keep in mind, there is a big difference between women and men when it comes to issues of paternity. Women never have to question the maternity of their children.
Because women are responsible for giving birth, women always know if a child is her own. Men, on the other hand, can never be as certain.
Interesting enough, babies of both sexes are much more likely to resemble their fathers, not their mothers. This pattern of facial similarity is thought to have played an important role in human evolution – helping convince fathers that they should help raise their mate’s children.
Today, dna-based paternity testing has taken away much of the guessing game. It is now possible for fathers to check the paternity of their children with a high degree of accuracy (99%).
In fact, just recently, one of our friends discovered that the man, who he considered to be his father for over 30 years, was not his biological parent.
DNA testing is finally revealing many well-kept family secrets while also raising a host of complicated legal issues. In fact, paternity testing recently showed that Thomas Jefferson almost certainly had a son with one of his slaves, Sally Hemings (see Jefferson Paternity Issues).