SUPREME COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA
535 Pa. 95; 634 A.2d 201; 1993 Pa. LEXIS 286
OPINION: NIX, C. J.
The factual circumstances of this case are as follows: On January
20, 1988, Jones filed a paternity suit against Trojak, alleging
that he was the biological father of Katie Jones ("Katie"),
who was born October 30, 1987. At the time of the child's birth,
Jones was still married to and living with William Jones. The trial
court ordered all of the parties involved to undergo blood tests
to determine paternity. Trojak objected, contending that Jones
failed to rebut the presumption of her ex-husband's paternity and,
therefore, blood tests were unnecessary. The trial court overruled
the objection, and the blood tests were administered. The results
from the blood tests indicated that William Jones could not be
the father and that Trojak shared genetic markers with Katie which
gave rise to a 99.9% probability that he is the biological father.
On October 26, 1988, the trial court found Trojak to be the biological
father of Katie.
… we now turn to the substantive issue of this appeal:
whether there must be a determination that a child born to a married
couple, living together at the time of conception and birth, is
not a child of the marriage before a blood test can be ordered
on a third party.
Trojak argues that there is a presumption that a child born to
a married couple is a child of that marriage and this presumption
remains unless rebutted by evidence from someone other than the
parties. Trojak avers that, in the instant case, the presumption
that William Jones is the father has not been overcome. To buttress
his position, Trojak refers to evidence indicating that Mr. and
Mrs. Jones have publicly held themselves out as the parents of
Katie, that William Jones took the child to the hospital and signed
as the responsible party and gave his consent to the Caesarean
delivery. Furthermore, Trojak submits that William Jones' medical
insurance paid the cost of hospitalization, that William Jones
is listed as the father on both the birth and baptismal certification,
and that William Jones has never publicly denied his paternity
of the child.
Jones contends that the trial court correctly ordered the blood
tests and admitted the results based upon the factual record indicating
that there was strong evidence  that
Trojak was the parent of the child. Also, because the trial court
found no intact family  considerations
were present, Jones avers that the presumption that her former
husband is the father of the child has been overcome and, therefore,
blood tests were properly ordered.
We adopt the approach taken by the Superior Court in Christianson
v. Ely, which mandates that before an order for a blood test is
appropriate to determine paternity the actual relationship of the
presumptive father and natural mother must be determined. 390 Pa.
Super. 398, 409, 568 A.2d 961, 966. In Christianson, a mother was
estopped from challenging the paternity of her husband without
exhibiting that he had denied paternity and refused to accept responsibility
for the child from the time he was reasonably aware of nonpaternity.
Id. at 410, 568 A.2d at 966. In Christianson, there was a question
as to whether estoppel could be invoked to prevent the blood tests
which were ordered of the putative father, presumptive father and
the natural mother. The Superior Court reasoned that, "where
the father has accepted the child and treated him as his own, he
may not thereafter, upon separation, reject paternity and demand
a blood test to rebut the presumption." Id. at 402, 568 A.2d
at 963. The Superior Court also concluded that the same must be
said regarding the mother. Id. "[A mother] cannot hold out
her husband to be the father and thereafter, upon separation, charge
a different man with paternity." Id. Depending upon the court's
determination as to the above-mentioned relationship between the
presumptive father and natural mother, the doctrine of estoppel
may apply. Id. at 403, 568 A.2d at 963.
A court may order blood tests to determine paternity only when
the presumption of paternity has been overcome. John M. v. Paula
T., 524 Pa. 306, 571 A.2d 1380, cert. denied, 498 U.S. 850, 112
L. Ed. 2d 107, 111 S. Ct. 140 (1990). This Court has held that
the presumption can be overcome by proof of facts establishing
non-access or impotency. Cairgle v. American Radiator and Standard
Sanitary Corp., 366 Pa. 249, 77 A.2d 439 (1951). However, under
certain circumstances, a person might be estopped from challenging
paternity where that person has by his or her conduct accepted
a given person as the father of the child. John M., 524 Pa. at
318, 571 A.2d at 1386. These estoppel cases indicate that where
the principle is operative, blood tests may well be irrelevant,
for the law will not permit a person in these situations to challenge
the status which he or she has previously accepted. Id. However,
the doctrine of estoppel will not apply when evidence establishes
that the father failed to accept the child as his own by holding
it out and/or supporting the child. Christianson, 390 Pa. Super.
at 409, 568 A.2d at 966. Only when the doctrine of estoppel does
not apply will the mother be permitted to proceed with a paternity
claim against a putative father with the aid of a blood test. Id.
Instantly, the trial court found that Jones had presented the requisite
clear, direct, convincing and unanswerable evidence to support
her claim that her husband had not accepted the child as his own.
Trojak cites our holding in John M. v. Paula T., 524 Pa. 306,
571 A.2d 1380, cert. denied, 498 U.S. 850, 112 L. Ed. 2d 107, 111
S. Ct. 140 (1990), to buttress his position that the presumption
that Katie is a child of the marriage has not been overcome. Trojak
fails to comprehend the important distinction between our reasoning
in John M. and the facts of the instant case. In John M., our rationale
grew out of this Commonwealth's concern for the survival of the
family unit. This Court believed that "the Superior Court,
in ordering the presumptive father to submit to a blood test at
the request of the putative father, over-emphasized the rights
and interests of the [putative] father and minimized the rights
and interest of others involved in and affected by its decision,
namely the mother, [presumptive] father, the family unit and the
Commonwealth." John M., 524 Pa. at 316, 571 A.2d at 1385.
We stated that "there is in short, a family involved here
. . . [a] woman and a man who have married and lived together as
husband and wife, giving birth to and raising four children." Id.
at 317, 571 A.2d at 1386.
In this case, however, we agree with the trial court and are convinced
that the facts indicate that the presumptive father and mother
repudiated their marriage vows long ago. Additionally, we have
evidence that the presumptive father did not accept the child as
his own. The circumstances before us, as found by the trial court,
are that the presumptive father has never financially or emotionally
supported Katie. Moreover, the trial court found that during the
time Katie was conceived, Jones was not sexually involved with
the presumptive father because he was impotent, and this testimony
was not rebutted by either the presumptive father or the putative
father. Thus, we agree with the Superior Court that there being
no intact family considerations present, a determination regarding
Trojak's paternity is necessary to resolve the child support claim
made by Jones.
 According to Appellee, this
strong evidence was that "(1) [Appellant] admitted plaintiff
told him that she was not having sexual relations with her husband
at or around the time the child was conceived; (2) Sexual relations
for one to two years prior to conception and during the time of
conception were admitted by both parties; (3) Appellant made regular
weekly payments for approximately two years of amounts of support
culminating in payments of $ 50.00 per week; (4) [Appellant] paid
other expenses, such as, school clothes, shoes, tuition and other
amounts denominated 'for Katie.'" Appellee's Brief at 18.
 The phrase "intact family" has
been used by our lower courts to describe a situation where the
presumptive father and natural mother live together as husband
and wife and accept the responsibility of parenthood. See Everett
v. Anglemeyer, 425 Pa. Super. 587, 625 A.2d 1252 (1993); Coco v.
Vandergrift, 416 Pa. Super. 444, 611 A.2d 299 (1992).