Let us suppose that you forgot to heed the advice in the previous section, or that you just ignored us, you poor, miserable wretch, and let your lust overcome your judgment. The object of your affections has just given you the surprise of your life – the announcement that she is pregnant. You have a number of responses at your disposal:
1) You announce your joy at the unplanned but still delightful fact of becoming a father.
2) You stare at her in stupefied shock and bewilderment, with the faintly dawning consciousness that your carefree life is about to come to an abrupt halt.
3) You rage in anger, conveniently forgetting that, new science aside, it still takes two to make a baby.
4) You ask for a blood test to certify that you are the father. She slaps your face.
5) You react carefully and cautiously, trying to buy some time to figure this thing out.
A gentleman takes responsibility for his actions. (Assuming of course that there is no real doubt about your culpability.) If your reaction is the first on the list, and you’re sincere, you have little to worry about than the brand of cigar you’ll give to friends to celebrate the joyous event. If not, we recommend a serious look – you won’t have any trouble with this, given the circumstances – and something along the lines of “That’s a very serious matter – I want to make sure we do the right thing. Can we talk about it?” Since there is no subject about which women cannot talk at great length, you will probably buy a few minutes to get your wits about you. As you ponder your longer term course of action, a few points of guidance and reflection:
– A child deserves two committed loving parents. Are you going to be one of them?
– Raising a child is massively time consuming, and represents a complete change in your lifestyle. Also, very expensive. Be ready.
– Alas, some women will purposely get pregnant to induce their lover to marry them. While this is despicable, it may be too late to avert.
– Many unplanned children have turned out wonderfully and brought great joy to their parents.
Now, take a deep breath, look your lover in the eyes, and make the most important decision of your life.
They seemed to make an odd couple. Josh was a 34 year old carpenter from upstate New York. Liz Margolies was a 53 year old lesbian psychotherapist from Manhattan. Not exactly a match made in heaven. Yet they had a 13 year old boy. Of whom Josh was completely unaware.
In fact, when he was only 18, Josh had donated sperm to a sperm bank in return of a little much needed cash; very little, in fact, only $50. He thought the donation was anonymous, but the woman who later used that sperm would in fact, with the help of their son, Wolfe, trace Josh, and, 3 weeks from when he was due to marry someone else, inform him of his fatherhood. This story seemed to have a happy ending; father and son met, and are trying to establish some sort of relationship. But Josh also found, not surprisingly, the sudden revelation of a child overwhelming and confusing. No word on his fiance’s reaction.
But is the child, in fact, your own. In her feature story in the December, 2003 edition of Men’s Journal, Paige Williams reported a growing trend called paternity fraud, in which men, usually married, are not the fathers of the children they are supporting. The issue has been spurred by easy DNA testing, which can often confirm a man’s worst fears – he is not the biological father of a child he is supporting. What is truly outrageous is the laws in most states that require that men continue to pay child support even if they find out, and can prove, that they did not father the child. In 2000 Ohio became the first state to allow fathers to challenge paternity anytime before the child turns 21.
“Researchers who work with DNA fingerprinting in breast cancer and Alzheimer’s studies consistently find 10 percent of the people they sample are not the biological offspring of the men they presume to be their fathers.”
One of the most bizarre aspects of the movement to use DNA to exonerate men from paternity fraud is that most of the advocates are women. “Seventy percent of the people who contact the founder of U.S Citizens Against Paternity Fraud are women.” ‘Women are much bitchier and fiercer then men. Women are better organizers. Women can talk about their feelings,” explains the female director of the Florida chapter. “As a woman I find it appalling that that adult women will not divulge who is the father of their child,” says Dianna Thompson, a founder of the Georgia based National Family Justice Association.