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What is paternity fraud, and what does it mean for a father?

Paternity fraud is a very serious problem that may only turn up years after a child is born. Imagine being a father who suddenly comes across information that may mean his child isn't his at all. It's a horrifying feeling for a parent, and it's compounded by the fact that the man's partner may have known that the child wasn't his in the first place.

Paternity fraud, better known as paternal discrepancy, is a term used to describe the disconnect between what a man believes to be true and the genetic truth of the situation. Interestingly enough, research has shown that these discrepancies are more common than you may think.

How common is paternal discrepancy?

Researchers from the University of Oklahoma discovered that the PD rates were higher among men who believed there may have been other men sleeping with their wives at the time of conception. If you leave them out of the equation, 3.85 percent of people still struggle with PD. Looking at the U.S. Census for 2005, which states that there are 27,940,000 fathers in the United States with a child under the age of 18, you can quickly come to terms with the idea that a million or more men are actually raising children who are not their own biologically.

Do genetics matter for fathers?

While you might think a man who has raised a child would not be quick to leave upon finding out that the child is not his, it can indeed happen. Biologically, men have a drive to pass on their DNA, and taking care of someone else's son simply doesn't do that. Of course, many men raising other people's children do stay and take care of them as their own.

If you're worried that your child is not your own, you can have a paternity testing done. It's a simple test, and it can alleviate any concerns you have.

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