Estonia has 20,000 children whose father is not officially listed as a parent. The Ministry of Social Affairs is looking to change that by requiring the father to be listed on birth certificates.
Estonia has lacked the requirement for 20 years and in the Soviet era, too, mothers could simply add a random first name of a male, if it came to that, Postimees writes.
Tallinn Vital Statistics Office director Karin Kask says the current system occasionally causes confusion in western Europe, as adults who lack the name of their father have to present a birth certificate for some procedures.
"[In such cases,] we issue a certificate where we explain that there was such a rule in the Soviet Union," Kask said. She said since 1995, about 1,000 children are born each year who lack a notation on the name of their father on their birth certificate.
"Children have the right to both parents and the child cannot safeguard that right if the mother, either independently or with the father, decides not to list the father's name," said Hanna Vseviov, an adviser to the Social Ministry.
The idea to make the registration of the father's name obligatory was proposed in the green book on benefits for children and families being drafted.
Vseviov said that besides children, this would also safeguard the rights of fathers from whom mothers withhold the fact that they are mothering their child.
Editor: K. Rikken