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Parental rights for female couples improved

  • Published: Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Female civil partners now have the same rights as heterosexual couples to register as parents of a child they conceived through fertility treatments.

New law gives equal parenthood rights to female civil partners

Register a birth or change a birth record

From 1 September 2009, female civil partners who give birth after using fertility treatment will be treated in the same way as married couples.

A change in the law means it will be possible for both female parents' names to appear on the birth certificate.

Before now, the female partner of a mother could not be registered as a parent on a child’s birth certificate.

Home Office Minister Lord Brett said: "It is vital that we afford equality wherever we can in society, especially as family circumstances continue to change. This is an important step forward in that process."

Head of policy and research at Stonewall, Ruth Hunt, said: "Knowing your new rights will help people make full use of the services they're entitled to. Now lesbian couples who make a considered decision to start a family will receive equal access to services they help fund as UK taxpayers."

"So life for lesbian families is not only fairer - it's also much easier."

Who is affected?

The changes to the law primarily affect female civil partners who use fertility treatments. Women in the UK may undergo fertility treatment without being in a formal civil partnership. If they wish to register their female partner as parent, they must give written consent to the clinic.

Women who have a child through informal artificial insemination may also register their female partner as "parent". However this is possible only if the women were civil partners at the time of the insemination.

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