Are You The Legal Parent Of Your Child?

Since the 6th April 2009 the law in Britain has changed to make it easier to be considered the legal parent of a child born through ART. This is especially useful for people who are not in a traditional style relationship, for example in a same-sex civil partnership.

Who Is The Mother?

· If you give birth to a baby you are considered the legal mother of the child, even if you have used a donor egg to become pregnant

· However if you are acting as a surrogate, you can transfer legal parenthood to the intended parents through a Parental Order or by agreeing to them adopting the child

Who Is The Father?

· If you are a married woman, your husband is automatically considered the father of your child even if ART used donor sperm and as long as you aren't legal separated. However, it necessary that your husband sign a consent form before you start having treatment to say he agrees

· If you are a woman with a male partner, and aren't married, but are using his sperm, he will automatically be the legal father of your child. Even if you aren't married or in a civil partnership and are using donor sperm he can still be considered the legal father of your child. However, you both must sign consent forms before treatment naming him as the legal father

· If your husband or male partner dies before you can have ART treatment with his sperm, he can still be the legal father of your child. However, he must agree in writing that you can use his sperm after his death and to being the registered father of your child

Who Is A Second Parent?

· If you are a woman in a civil partnership with another woman, you can both be considered to be the legal parents as long as you both agree in advance to this

· If you are a woman in a relationship with another woman, but are not in a civil partnership, you can both be the legal parents as long as you both signed consent forms before ART treatment starts

· If your partner dies after your embryo was created with donor sperm but before implantation, your partner can still be considered the legal parent as long as they agreed in advance. Your husband, civil partner, or other partner must give written consent to you having treatment after their death

· Since April 2010, men in a same-sex couple relationship can both become the legal parents of a child carried by a surrogate through the use of a Parental Order

What About Donors?

· Sperm donors are not considered the legal parent to any children they may have helped conceive providing that the donation took place in a licensed clinic

· Women who donate eggs are also not considered to be the legal parent of any child unless they are in a civil or similar partnership with the woman carrying the baby or later adopt the baby

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology (HFE) Act 2008 provisions only apply to couples who aren't married or in a civil partnership when they have fertility treatment in a clinic licensed by the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (HFEA).

Therefore if you are not in a conventional relationship, and are considering a surrogacy arrangement, ART by private arrangement or abroad it is very important that you ask specialist legal advice prior to treatment.

Otherwise, you may have problems acquiring legal parenthood after your child is born.

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