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Biological fathers - Archbishop Welby

(163 Posts)
mrsmuddlepies Sat 09-Apr-16 06:07:03

Very brave of Justin Welby to go public with this story. I have always admired his compassion and humanity. However, it makes me wonder how common it is for fathers to unknowingly not be the biological parent of their child? There was a recent thread which suggested a surprisingly high percentage. I wonder how many other high profile and ordinary families have this kind of secret?

araiba Sat 09-Apr-16 06:22:59


not really sure what your question is

mrsmuddlepies Sat 09-Apr-16 06:39:09

Sorry, yes I see what you mean. What about the proposal that all new parents have DNA tests to confirm that they are the biological parents?

araiba Sat 09-Apr-16 06:42:21

i dont think real life should be modelled on jeremy kyle/ jerry springer show

mrsmuddlepies Sat 09-Apr-16 06:54:58

The Justin Welby story is real life Araiba. I think it is widely acknowledged that a significant number of children do not know the true identity of their biological father.

PotteringAlong Sat 09-Apr-16 06:57:13

If they have a fatter who loves them is dna that important?

daisychain01 Sat 09-Apr-16 07:04:39

If they have a fatter who loves them is dna that important?

Come on! Too right dna is important if you've had a life believing your father is one person and then you find out its someone else.

Absolutely with you on your OP mrsmuddles it was an amazing and brave thing Welby has done by coming out openly about such a personal matter. I think he is a great Archbishop.

MsJamieFraser Sat 09-Apr-16 07:06:04

Araiba did you mean to be an arse?

This is common place OP, I don't think DNA testing in the answer however.

DNA testing and being a father is two different topics tbh, I think if people have doubts if their biological background, then they can get DNA testing.

PotteringAlong Sat 09-Apr-16 07:07:14

true. But DNA testing all babies at birth wouldn't stop people lying to their children about who their biological parents are I don't think.

PotteringAlong Sat 09-Apr-16 07:08:20

Yes jamie that's what I meant! DNA does not equal father.

EdithWeston Sat 09-Apr-16 07:09:32

He had to, though. It wasn't a brave choice, it was best option self defence following the Daily Telegraph's actions. From the BBC article:

"As a result of my parents' addictions my early life was messy, although I had the blessing and gift of a wonderful education, and was cared for deeply by my grandmother, my mother once she was in recovery, and my father (Gavin Welby) as far as he was able."

He added: "I know that I find who I am in Jesus Christ, not in genetics, and my identity in him never changes...
"Although there are elements of sadness, and even tragedy in my father's (Gavin Welby's) case, this is a story of redemption and hope from a place of tumultuous difficulty and near despair in several lives."

"Archbishop Welby, the most senior cleric in the worldwide Anglican communion, says he discovered the real identity of his biological father in recent weeks.
The Daily Telegraph reports that he decided to take a DNA test after it approached him with research it had carried out into his family's background.

"The Bishop of Norwich, Graham James, told BBC Radio 5 live when Archbishop Welby decided to take the DNA test his thought had been to disprove the claim.
"It proved quite the opposite and he discovered this for certain just before Easter and then contacted his mother... his first thoughts were for her rather than anyone else," he said.
"Although she knew the history of her relationship with Sir Anthony at the time, she'd always believed, as had Gavin Welby, that they were Justin's parents." "

araiba Sat 09-Apr-16 07:10:35

i havent read anything about mr welby

however, the idea that all new parents have dna tests and turn maternity wards in to jerry springer is awful

Purplepicnic Sat 09-Apr-16 07:13:02

Slightly off topic but I read somewhere that the reason they stopped having communal nurseries in maternity wards is because lots of babies went home with the wrong parents.

Atenco Sat 09-Apr-16 07:13:19

That old chestnut. The latest figure, though I don't know how they got it (as they are not supposed to be getting our DNA for any old reason) was 0.02%.

Apparently there is some theory that some men believe that we women go around having it off with all kinds of men, apart from our partners, looking for the best genetic basis for our children. What a load of codwollop!

curren Sat 09-Apr-16 07:13:25

I don't think that many fathers think they are a parent to a child that they are not. Not enough to go the expense of using public money to pay for every child to be tested, tbh.

I think it's awful when women lie to their partner and kids about this. It does matter and I do think the father has the right to know if the baby is his.

I have witnessed this in my own family. The father (my cousin) spent two years bringing up a child that wasn't his. She registered the birth alone without telling him so he wasn't on the birth certificate though. Which meant when she left the country with the baby, he couldn't do anything. She kept promising to put him on. I am sure he had his suspicions. But he loved her and the baby and didn't push it as he was scared she would leave. It was an emotional abusive relationship.

He won't ever have kids with anyone,now. It's absolutely awful.

I think most people would agree a woman has a right to know if she has been cheated on. The same applies to a man. He should be allowed to make and informed decision.

But currently DNA testing is available to everyone who wants it. I don't think that needs to change.

nutbrownhare15 Sat 09-Apr-16 07:23:09

His poor mother. The Daily Telegraph should be ashamed of themselves in my opinion.

daisychain01 Sat 09-Apr-16 07:23:44

It wasn't a brave choice, it was best option self defence following the Daily Telegraph's actions

OK, but this makes it sound like he's guilty of something, having to defend himself. I guess thats the nature of public life and intrusive journalism. Poor guy sad especially after the MH challenges he describes in his life

daisychain01 Sat 09-Apr-16 07:25:49

I agree nutbrown, that's how I feel. And his humility is inspirational. I bet he wishes he could tell them to FO!

elQuintoConyo Sat 09-Apr-16 07:26:24

Putting the blame at the feet of women while creating a country-wide DNA database?


EdithWeston Sat 09-Apr-16 07:38:15

I think I meant 'defend himself and his family from intrusive attack' rather than anything that was meant to imply guilt.

Because it sounds as if this test wouldn't have been carried out, had not the press had a role in it. Because everyone directly concerned was happy their publicly acknowledged family roles. DNA shows only heritage, not whether someone is acting as a parent.

ForalltheSaints Sat 09-Apr-16 07:47:15

It seems that he has been forced into this. It may mean that some other people in the same situation find out who their biological father is, and I hope if this is the case that there is some peace and maybe even closure where this occurs.

BillSykesDog Sat 09-Apr-16 08:26:35

I am hugely opposed to the harvesting of infants DNA because of privacy issues and also because the issue of consent is important and to remove it for something as vital and sensitive as DNA retrieval which can be misused in so many ways is a chilling thought.

I don't think most parents would want it.

And before anyone says I must have something to hide, my children are the result of IUI and IVF and the chances of them having the wrong father is just about nil and even if it was the case would be clinic's fault, not mine.

BillSykesDog Sat 09-Apr-16 08:27:28

I think Welby and his family have handled this with enormous dignity though.

EsmesBees Sat 09-Apr-16 08:31:48

Agree, they have shown great dignity. I just heard him on the radio saying he is no longer the first Archbishop with Jewish heritage. Stuff like that must be hard to process.

charlestonchaplin Sat 09-Apr-16 09:04:03

His poor mother

But not his poor father (Gavin Welby)? Yet she knew (or should have known) that the identity of her son's father was in doubt.

I agree it is probably best that men who have doubts about their child's true paternity do tests privately but I think there needs to be greater awareness of this as an issue, and that the time to do a test is very early on.

elQuinto Who do you think is to blame if a child's paternity is in doubt? Whilst I think widespread DNA testing is not the way to go, such a scheme does not mean a DNA database will be created. Hospitals don't hold on to every blood and tissue sample they have ever taken. There are regulations and consents required for the holding of human tissue. Each DNA test could have the requirement of mandatory sample destruction afterwards.

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