From Genes, Marriage and Money to Nurture: Redefining Fatherhood

14 Pages Posted: 30 Oct 2015

See all articles by Nancy E. Dowd

Nancy E. Dowd

University of Florida Levin College of Law

Date Written: 2003

Abstract

Genes should not define fatherhood. This is wrong for men, and wrong for children. Genes define identity, but that link should be separated from the obligations and rights of parenthood. Specifically, I argue that fatherhood should be defined by doing (action) instead of being (status), with the critical component being acts of nurturing. In this essay I define in more detail this concept of fatherhood and its characteristics; discuss the consequences related to genetic ties; and consider the policy implications of defining fatherhood around nurture when genetic ties can be established for all children. It is critical throughout to remain cognizant of the diversity of fathers and the fluidity of fatherhood. Not all fathers are alike, and fatherhood is not a fixed state.

Keywords: fatherhood, genetics, family law, nurture, redefined fatherhood, parenting, legitimacy

Suggested Citation

Dowd, Nancy Elizabeth, From Genes, Marriage and Money to Nurture: Redefining Fatherhood (2003). Cardozo Women's Law Journal, Vol. 10, No. 132, 2003. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2682762

Nancy Elizabeth Dowd (Contact Author)

University of Florida Levin College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 117625
Gainesville, FL 32611-7625
United States
352-273-0930 (Phone)
352-392-3005 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.ufl.edu/faculty/nancy-e-dowd

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