Female Same-sex Couples Receive Increased Parental Rights

London, 8th September 2009

On 1 September 2009, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 came into force in the United Kingdom.  The Act provides female same-sex couples with the right to register both their names on the birth certificate of a child conceived as a result of fertility treatment, giving these couples the same rights as heterosexual couples.  

Under the law governing this field prior to the adoption of the Act, a mother’s female partner could not be registered as a parent. Sections 42 – 44 of the 2008 Act extend equal rights to female same-sex couples who were having fertility treatment on or after 6 April 2009.  

Section 42 provides that where a female civil partner gives birth to a child conceived as a result of donor insemination (anywhere in the world), she is the mother of the child and her civil partner will automatically be the other parent, unless the other civil partner did not consent to the mother’s treatment.

Sections 43 and 44 extend the provision contained in section 42 to same-sex female couples who are not civil partners.    

Speaking about the recent development ERT’s Executive Director, Dr Dimitrina Petrova, said:

“This is a significant development for the rights of same-sex female couples in UK law and one which will have a real impact on couples using fertility treatment to start a family.

“This is a welcome sign that the momentum which has been gathering behind attempts to achieve full equality for same-sex couples in the UK - which was given a boost by the enactment of the Civil Partnerships Act in 2004 – is still high.”

To read the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008, click here .