The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act

This Act is already in force and has had a substantial impact upon the LGBT community for lesbian or gay couples wishing to have children through fertility treatment.

What does the Act do?

The Act allows a lesbian couple (A and B) who are in a civil partnership at the time of placing the embryo or the sperm and eggs or of the artificial insemination of A, an automatic right to have both A and B on the birth certificate as parents, unless it can be shown that B did not consent at the time of insemination. This is obviously good news as the partner of the mother does not now need to apply to the court for parental responsibility.

Also, where the same lesbian couple (A and B) are not in a civil partnership, A is not married to the biological father at the time of insemination and B consents to the insemination of the child, then B can be placed on the birth certificate as the “other parent” instead of the father.

What does this mean?

As you can see, this piece of legislation ultimately benefits lesbian couples to a much greater extent than it will for gay men mainly due to the fact that the Act is to regulate fertility treatment rather than surrogacy or parental responsibility directly. The legislation should be hailed as welcomed progression in the area of family law for the LGBT community. However the law has now developed even further and has made important changes giving gay fathers greater protection.

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