BY STEVEN KING, MEMBER
A Non- Paternity Event (“NPE”) was originally the term used to explain the break in the paternal line for a male. In genetics and genealogy, the term signified that a person’s attributed father was not their biological father and that the family surname did not match the bloodline. Someone was presumed to be an individual’s father by the individual, the parents, their family or the healthcare practitioner involved. Today, the term is used more broadly to describe a break in the family line; for males or females with a misattributed father or mother. The acronym “NPE” is also used to describe individuals who learned they were conceived as a result of the event. Some also use the acronym to mean “Not Parent Expected.”
Non-paternity events may result from adoptions, donor conception, intercourse with multiple sex partners in close succession, non-consensual sex, medical errors and in certain cases of being kidnapped as an infant. In many cases, the non-paternity event is enshrouded in secrets and lies by the individual’s family and the individual does not know that they are the result of the non-paternity event.
With the advent of home DNA testing, troves of individuals are learning of a non-paternity event within their own families. The revelation or discovery of the NPE can have a life changing impact on the individual who learns that they are the result of the non-paternity event or misattributed parentage. Alarming numbers of individuals discover that their mom or dad, grandfather or grandmother was not who they were reported to be. In many cases, the individual welcomes learning their truths and finds the knowledge empowering. For others, it can be devastating and catapult the person into a complex psychological experience for which there are not adequate mental health programs in place at the present time.
Many individuals devastated by this experience find that the impact is compounded because their closest family and friends do not understand the implications of this discovery. Society, in general, has not fully accepted the value identity has for a person and so most do not know how to support a person who feels that part of their identity was taken away with the results of a test taken in many cases for entertainment. In addition, when a person with this experience reaches out to their newly determined biological family, they often times encounter rejection and are left to feel guilt and shame because of the events surrounding the non-paternity event when they obviously had no involvement in it but were created as a result of it.
The NPE Friends Community is a global network of support programs for those who are impacted by a non-paternity event. These programs include social media support groups, community awareness programs and additional resources for those impacted. We hope to increase awareness of this event and the impact on an individual. We promote open disclosure about a person’s identity by their family and are a developing programs to educate the public, including the mental health community, on the impact of this event on an individual.
I invite you to share this post with your family and friends to help promote open dialogue about non-paternity events. Let us all acknowledge the value that identity holds and realize that none of us have the right to withhold or deny information from an individual about their own individuality. More importantly, because a revelation of non-paternity event in your family is likely to emerge and may prompt someone to come knocking on your door, please be sensitive to the person impacted and understand that they are only trying to cope with learning that they were denied basic information about their own individuality, their own soul, their own being. Please remain mindful that they had no part in the events that created them and should not be penalized for the actions of those before them.
If you or a family member were impacted by a non-paternity event, the NPE Friends Community is available to assist you.
One can find us on Facebook at by searching for “NPE Gateway.” The Gateway is used for screening new member requests for entry into one of the NPE Friends groups best suited for their situation.
The NPE Friends Community is also associated with The NPE Friends Fellowship, a nonprofit organization to assist those impacted by this experience. https://www.npefellowship.org/