Same-sex couples

Gay fathers

For gay fathers wishing to start a family together the world is a different place to the one it was even a few years ago. As society has changed and evolved, with families coming in all shapes and sizes, the law has also had to evolve.

Surrogacy
From 6 April 2010 the law changed, allowing two fathers to be named on the birth certificate, on the making of a Parental Order following a surrogacy arrangement. This has paved the way for gay fathers to start their own family and enabled couples to create their family with a genetic link, which is often something so desired.

The option of surrogacy is open to gay fathers both in the UK and internationally and we would advise you to undertake detailed research into the various options available to you.

Visit our surrogacy page

Co-parenting
A further option available is for gay fathers to consider entering into a co-parenting arrangement, whereby you parent a child with someone with whom you are not in a relationship. Given the various different frameworks for such an arrangement, it is important that it is set up correctly, ensuring that everyone has the same expectation of involvement with the child. Issues such as who the child will live with, financial responsibility, schooling expectations etc. need to be considered right at the outset. 

Visit our co-parenting page

Adoption and fostering
As further options available to gay fathers, adoption and fostering are also a consideration for having a family. Again we can discuss these with you and explain the process involved.

Visit our adoption and fostering page


Lesbian couples

If you are a lesbian couple wishing to start your own family together, there are a number of options for you to consider. We are able to provide you with clear and practical advice on the law and how this applies to your specific circumstances. 

Conceiving with a known donor
If you decide to conceive with a donor you know, it is vitally important to ensure that you all understand the role you each expect to play. For example, is the donor expecting to have a role in your child's life and to what extent? Do you wish for your donor to be a father figure and involved at all? We cannot emphasise enough how important it is to ensure that you all have matched expectations, as whilst we have seen many of these arrangements work well, others are not so successful. 

Civil partners/married
If you are in a civil partnership or married and you conceive at a UK licensed fertility clinic, or at home through artificial insemination, then the law will recognise you both as the legal parents and you will both be named on the birth certificate as such. This means that you will both have parental responsibility, providing you with the right to make day to day decisions about your child's life, such as consent to medical treatment or education. Your donor will not be a legal parent or have parental responsibility. However, the legal position of a known donor is fluid and there have been some recent cases through the courts which muddy the waters. 

Co-habiting
If you are not in a civil partnership or married and you conceive at home through artificial insemination, the birth mother will be the legal parent and the donor will be recognised as the other legal parent. This therefore means that the non-birth mother will not have any automatic legal relationship with the child, and the donor will have full legal parenthood, with all the rights and responsibilities.

If you are not in a civil partnership or married and you conceive at a UK licensed fertility clinic with a known donor, it is possible to sign election forms to enable both mothers to be recognised as the legal parents, with the donor electing to have no legal rights or responsibilities. However, it is worth bearing in mind that the law in this area is still evolving and any potential rights the donor may have are still to be tested through the courts. 

Donor agreements
If it is your intention that the donor will have no legal rights or responsibilities in respect of the child, you may wish to consider having a Donor Agreement prepared, setting out exactly the expectations of each of you and to record both your and the donor's agreement in relation to the child. 

Conceiving with an unknown donor 
If you decide to conceive with a sperm bank donor at a licensed UK fertility clinic then you will have full protection, whether you are in a civil partnership, married or co-habiting. You will both be considered the legal parents, named on the birth certificate as such and have full rights and responsibilities in respect of the child.

Visit our donor conception page

Co-parenting 
If you are considering entering into a co-parenting arrangement, whereby you intend to parent a child with someone without being in a relationship with them, it is important that the arrangement is set up correctly ensuring that everyone has the same expectations. Issues such as who the child will live with; financial responsibility; schooling expectations etc. need to be considered right at the outset.

Visit our co-parenting page 

Adoption and fostering 
As further options available to you, adoption and fostering are also a consideration for having a family. Again we can discuss these with you and explain the process involved.

Visit our adoption and fostering page