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How Many Men Unknowingly Raise Children Who Aren't Their Own?

A 2006 survey found that 1.7 to 3.3 percent of fathers are unknowingly raising children who aren't their own. The study found that dads who opt to challenge the paternity of a child are far less likely to be the actual father than fathers who are confident enough not to challenge it. The percentage of fathers who are highly confident of their child's paternity are not the actual fathers 1.7 percent of the time.

More Paternal Facts:

  • The US has the highest divorce rate in the world — about 4.95 per 1,000 people, or about 53 percent of marriages. The US is closely followed by Puerto Rico at 4.47 per 1,000 people and Russia at 3.36 per 1,000 people.

  • 41 percent of married couples report having an affair; about 36 percent report having affairs with coworkers. 17 percent admit to affairs with a brother or sister-in-law.

  • The average length of reported affairs is two years. About 31 percent of couples stay married after an affair or affairs have been admitted.

Discussion Comments

By anon999808 — On Mar 20, 2018

The "the child welfare is paramount" argument utterly floors me when it's used to justify the requiring of support for a man who is not the biological father. Really, by that logic, demanding support from the most financially well off of the mother's relatives would be as just, more so really.

By anon999036 — On Oct 13, 2017

Notice how none of the women's groups brings this up when they complain about inequality.

By sallazarr — On Jan 27, 2015

This is a huge problem that the courts are imposing on men; the greater problem is the lack of concern the greater male population has. I believe strongly that this concern needs to be address at the supreme court level in order to implement a law in favor of false and fraud paternity. This issue needs to be brought to the forefront and not just talked about. There is a case pending of a man being threatening with confinement for not paying child support for a child that DNA says is not his, yet he must go to prison. What? Let's fix this "Illegal Justice" before the rights of men are completely abolished.

By msnyc10 — On Oct 08, 2014

How about this: We make it a felony offense to knowingly have a child by one man and tell or imply to another man it is his in order to gain his financial support? Whether or not he 'signs the certificate' or not. If a woman is sleeping with multiple men during the period she got pregnant, it should be legally required for her to inform all the men to get paternity tested including the one she is 'choosing' to be the father.

If that man later finds out, be it one day or one decade later that he was fooled into accepting responsibility than far from his being required to continue support, she should be tried for a felony crime against three claimants: the biological father she deprived of the right to know/raise his child, the child she deprived of the right to know its real father, and the man she tricked into committing financial and emotional support to another man's baby, depriving him of the time and money and options in his actual life simply because she decided he was the man she decided should raise her child.

It is a crime and should be treated as such, and the fact that we (and female lawyers) blow this off with, "well you had a chance to get a paternity test, too late now the child's welfare is more important than yours." Imagine if we did that with other fraud, say with Bernie Madoff. Imagine if we told his victims that not only are we not trying him, not only are we not recovering the money that you were defrauded out of, but in fact, you must legally continue to invest in the bogus investments.

By anon949735 — On May 06, 2014

I learned in college that about 1 child in 12 is not the father's, and in about 1 in 50 births, the mother swaps infants in the maternity ward nursery, so that for about 1 in 25 the child isn't hers either.

By anon358776 — On Dec 12, 2013

At my DNA business in Philadelphia, one in four tests is coming back as an exclusion: the tested man is not the father.

By anon356728 — On Nov 28, 2013

I am paying child support for a human that I did not create. My first clue? Both the mother and I have blue eyes, while the child has dark brown eyes. Two recessives do not make a positive. The percentages, according to Dr. Barry Starr, of two blue eyed parents and what eye color will their child have: 72 percent blue, 27 percent green, 1 percent brown. DNA testing was done and obviously I turned out not to be the father. But, since I signed the birth certificate, I still have to pay. At this point, it's either petition the court or start working some Voodoo. Unreal.

By anon351908 — On Oct 17, 2013

I would advise all men not to get caught up in the emotions of the child being born. While in the hospital before you sign that legal document called the birth certificate, Please, please I'm begging guys to get that DNA test. That's only should the woman should not object. It's free through family courts through petition. Get the test done at the hospital or pay the fee out of pocket. Go with your gut using your third eye (the brain/mind).

The difference can cost you tens of thousands of dollars, losing your driver's license and losing your freedom, a.ka., getting arrested and going to jail. Get an attorney if you find yourself going through that scenario and don't waste time, either. Depending on the state, you must raise the child until the age of 21. Remember one out of four men/fathers in the United States are raising a child/children who aren’t theirs. That ratio is 30 percent or higher, especially in the African American community.

My wise grandmother told me at age and it rings very true today at age 43. She told me, “Momma’s baby, daddy maybe." The courts are going to believe the woman and find you guilty until you as a man prove your innocence in family court.

By anon333796 — On May 07, 2013

If guys don't get themselves and their (supposed) kids DNA tested, they will never know the truth for sure! Women have been cheating and lying to men for ages. These women live a lie and they deceive their husbands intentionally. They are cold, selfish and deceitful creatures. They will con their husbands into bonding with children that don't belong to the husband biologically. They know for sure (100 percent) that the kids are theirs, but they expect men to just trust them and go on faith?

"The mother is biological but the father is a social role" Don't believe that bullcrap! Seriously, get yourself and the kids DNA tested. You can get kits to do it with. The number of wives and girlfriends out there who have cheated and are lying is mind boggling!

This isn't just something you see on Maury and Springer. It has been going on for ages. A woman who knows husbands are far too trusting uses that trust to bed other men. They have to be careful and keep hubby from suspecting. They cheat and don't get caught. They think if men knew the truth about their wives -- Eeek!

Do you even know your wife and kids blood types? Don't let the wife play her fake “trust me” game with you. Get a DNA test! These are just married, female teachers. What about nurses, realtors, secretaries, office workers, artist, assistants, designers, etc.?

By anon327275 — On Mar 27, 2013

It's really sad that love has been turned into a game. One shouldn't expect married life to be as smooth and quarrel-less like those in movies or novels, because they (movies and novels) are just lies, just fiction. Also people should not expect so much out of their spouse, and both should weather the storms and bury the numerous hatchets that are bound to appear. The major problem however, is that love for some is redefined as 'sex'.

By anon323811 — On Mar 06, 2013

Is there any way a paternity test can be done in the first trimester?

By anon307130 — On Dec 03, 2012

How is that a woman can get away with claiming a child belonging to another man and not the real father and child services pick you because you have a job and the circuit attorney call themselves a friend for the child and make you pay for someone else child and the mother lied and the system tells you that they're doing what's best for the child? I need help, and the so-called legal system won't help.

By anon305316 — On Nov 25, 2012

I saw a documentary some time ago and it said 1 in 4 men are raising kids they think are theirs.

By anon276555 — On Jun 25, 2012

I was a presumed father of a baby born in March, along with two other candidates. I didn't think she was mine, but I did all the things I thought that I should, just in case.

When I found out through paternity testing that she was not my biological daughter, I cried, but her true father wanted more tests done to disprove himself as being the father.

He gets the child support, and I get the joy of raising a beautiful little girl who will never carry my last name. There's a big difference between being a father and a sperm donor.

By anon264763 — On Apr 29, 2012

Why black men? Why not an analysis by race including sections on interracial marriage. Of course, determination of an infant's genetic progenitor is made much easier if there is a pronounced difference between the husband and father which would likely make it easier to figure out if a child isn't yours. Anyway, there is a LOT of data out there if you can just collect it without much bias.

By anon259152 — On Apr 04, 2012

Thanks for the info. This is astonishing but I'm wondering how many black men are raising a child that's not theirs?

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