Dilemma: I might not be my father's biological child

Katharine Whitehorn / 03 March 2016

A reader is devastated to find that she might not be her father's biological daughter and writes to agony aunt Katharine Whitehorn for advice.



Dilmma: questioning my parentage

Some years ago my mother told my sister that my dad did not think I was his child, unfortunately my sister told me and you can imagine how shocked and upset I was. 

When I thought about it, things started to fall into place: I am six years older than my sister but from childhood we were never treated the same. She was always the favourite, and it caused many secret tears when I was young. 

Now I am in my seventies and before I’m not here any more I need to know if it could be true. 

I have heard that hair and eye colour is a good indication if you belong to the same family. I am the only one with blonde hair and blue eyes, the rest of the family and people in old photographs are all dark-haired. 

If my dad was somebody else I will understand that there was a reason why I was treated differently and it was not my fault. Is the information about colours correct?

Katharine Whitehorn's advice

Colouring, I’m afraid, only establishes a probability, not a certainty; both my children had the same father but only one had red hair. I had an uncle, too, in an otherwise dark-haired family who looked like his father but had an inexplicably red moustache. 

The only way to be certain would be a DNA test with your sister, and you say you don’t want her to know you worry about this. 

It might help to talk it all over with a counsellor; which you can find through Relate.

Read Katharine Whitehorn on what she has learnt from years of reading about family secrets.

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