Nearly one in ten British fathers harbour doubts over the paternity of their children, according to new research from a YouGov survey of 5,266 parents on behalf of website

North East tops the figures, followed by Ireland and London

In some parts of the UK, the figure rises to almost one in five fathers who have admitted they are unsure if they are biological father of the children they are raising as their own.

On average, eight per cent of British men – around 1.2million – say they have worried about the paternity of their children.

Those figures rise to 16 per cent in Newcastle, London and Northern Ireland the research revealed.

However, in Yorkshire and Scotland, men were far less likely to question if they were the biological parent of their children – with just three per cent admitting to having doubts.

Three per cent of British women – (460,000 women) – said they were not 100% sure who the biological father of their child is.

The findings showed clear pockets of concern in some of Britain’s cities.

Fathers in the North East were the most likely to be unsure of male respondents representing twice the UK average.

Three per cent of mothers say that they are not 100% sure

Mothers in the North West were most likely to be unsure who the biological father of their children was with nearly 6 per cent (twice the UK average) admitting they did not know for certain.

Mothers who have never married were found to be the most likely to harbour doubts about the paternity of their child.

Around eight per cent – three times the national average- of unmarried mothers replied ‘yes’ to the survey.

While 18 per cent of fathers who are separated or divorced said they have questioned the paternity of their offspring.

Other factors including the age of the parents, occupation and marital status had a bearing on how confident they felt about their partner’s fidelity.

Men over 55 proved to be more secure in their family structure, with just five per cent of saying they were unsure of their child’s paternity.

However, the research showed that 15 per cent of fathers aged between 25-34 were most likely to have worries about the biological paternity of the children they were raising.

David Thomas MD of AlphaBiolabs said yesterday that ‘This information shows how large this problem is in the UK today. To know for certain the true biological paternity is vital, not just for the mother and the father, but for the child too.

‘Over the last few years as the price of paternity testing has lowered we have seen an increase in the number of paternity tests we carry out. This fact alone shows that the UK population has deep concerns about the biological paternity of children.

‘While it is important to know the true biological paternity of a child we recommend that people speak to an expert relationship counsellor before taking a test so they can understand the ramifications on their family unit if they receive DNA test results that they do not want’.

The total sample size was 5,266 UK parents aged 18+. Fieldwork was undertaken by YouGov between 13th – 18th December 2013. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).