Date Published: 3 April 2009
New act brings changes to legal parenthood
Same sex couples undergoing fertility treatment will have the right to name both partners on their child's birth certificate from Monday 6 April.
The new Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 will apply to both same sex and heterosexual couples who conceive using donor sperm or embryos. For unmarried heterosexual couples the male partner can state clearly that he intends to be the legal parent of any child who might be born.
This new legislation brings the UK's fertility law into line with equalities legislation by giving same sex couples the same rights to parenthood as heterosexual couples when registering their child's birth.
Welcoming the new legislation, Professor Lisa Jardine, Chair of the HFEA, said:
“The desire for a family and for an own child is a very powerful force, affecting people regardless of their sexual orientation or circumstance. Fertility treatment has helped many couples become parents. Until now, however, adoption has been the only route by which some partners have been recognised as legal parents.
We are now levelling the playing field. From now on, all parents regardless of their sexuality and status will now be named on their child’s birth certificate.
Society is changing and families are changing. People who previously had no hope of becoming parents now have that hope because new fertility treatments/technologies are developing all the time. This new legislation matches the framework for new scientific capabilities with people’s expectations about parenthood.”
Source(s): Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HEFA), UK