* Author Topic: LGBT Legal issues inc. Lesbian couples named on birth Certificates  (Read 90442 times)

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Offline NatGamble

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Hi CherryMarie

I know I'm going to risk sounding like a real doom-and-gloom lawyer, but your situation rings some alarm bells.  We've dealt with a few very nasty known donor disputes where the donor said he would like to be named on the birth certificate, and it was a warning sign that actually he wanted to be acknowledged as having a role/status within the family unit which was much more significant than the mothers envisaged.  Known donor dispute issues tend to revolve around the status everyone has in relation to each other, rather than how much contact the donor has, so if you have settled the regularity of contact it can seem like things have been agreed when in fact they haven't at all.

I would think very carefully about what you put on the birth certificate as this has huge legal implications.  However, even more importantly I would take this as an opportunity to think very critically about whether you really all want the same things (as far as you can tell at this stage).  It may be worth putting in place a written agreeement, or getting a third party involved in some way to help you plan this thoroughly.  If there are fault lines, this will identify them.

Have a read of this:  http://www.nataliegambleassociates.co.uk/page/Known-donor-disputes/92/

Sorry if this sounds negative - I really hope this works brilliantly for you as so many known donor arrangements do. I have just seen a few which have gone horifically wrong and it sounds like yours could potentially have the same seeds.  I really hope I'm wrong!

Natalie

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    Offline LucyandSuz

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    Hello, I'm just wondering if anyone can give me a little bit of advice. I am quite new to all this and am honestly a little confused. My partner and I are hoping to start trying to conceive with a known donor in the next few months, we have started chatting to a donor online and he seems decent and genuine and we are planning to meet with him soon to start talking things through.

    We are in a civil partnership and have been for nearly two years and we want my partner to be named on the birth certificate. We have told our prospective donor that we want him to have no contact with child and that we want my partner to be on the birth certificate and he is happy with all of this and obviously we will be conceiving through AI. Is it advisable to have a donor agreement signed and if so where can I get one, also would we need to make a will incase anything were to happen during childbirth?

    I have been told that as long as your in a civil partnership and conceive through AI that the non bio mother can automatically go on the birth certificate but how can you prove that this was the case when you register the birth of a child? Wouldn't you need a donor agreement to prove it?

    Thanks
    LucyandSuz

    Offline welshginge

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    I thought it was only if you use a clinic? I don't know but I'm sure someone who actually knows will be along soon! Welcome & good luck x

    Offline theish

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    Hi All

    Just joined the forum and had a question.  My partner and I were thinking of using an Irish clinic although we live in Northern Ireland (UK).  We are using a unknown donor from a euro sperm bank but want to know if we will face issues getting both our names on the birth certificate if we use an Irish clinic (not UK)? We are not in a civil partnership.

    Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance!

    Offline NatGamble

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    Hi guys and sorry for the late reply - just spotted your messages!

    Lucy and Suz - If you are civil partners, the register office generally doesn't need anything more than a copy of your civil partnership certificate to record you both on the birth certificate, and you don't need a donor agreement for this.  The value of putting a donor agreement in place (if you don't have a sperm bank donor) is to be absolutely clear about the status you will all have and how you intend things to work in practice - it can help avoid disputes later on.  There is more information about this at http://www.nataliegambleassociates.co.uk/page/lesbian_knowndonation/7/ which you may find helpful.

    Theish - If you are not in a civil partnership, you can only both go on the birth certificate if you conceive at an HFEA licensed clinic in the UK and sign the right forms before conception.  If you conceive in Ireland this won't work, so you would then need to go through a post birth adoption process to acquire parenthood for the non birth mum.  Alternatively, you could register as civil partners before you conceive - it then doesn't matter where in the world you conceive and you can both go on the UK birth certificate.

    Natalie
     

    Offline Beebo

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    I have just found this forum - wish I had seen it earlier!

    I am 37 and have been with my female partner 7 years. We are not civil partners. We have been ttc with a mutual long-standing gay male friend for 2 years. After much discussion over many months the agreement was that myself and the donor/father would be the legal parents, with my partner to have parental responsibility and the child to stay with the father 1-2 nights per week. What we would have wished for ideally would for all three of us to be legal parents, but the law does not allow this.

    We tried to conceive at home with AI for a year and then went to a fertility clinic when this did not work. The clinic insisted that my partner and I sign forms that she and I would be the legal parents - if we did not, we would not be eligible for NHS treatment. This is not what we wanted, but we had no choice and signed. It was very frustrating to be coerced by the clinic into signing something which went against our wishes and agreement. We considered complaining or challenging the clinic's policy, but frankly time is not on our side and we decided just to get on with it. I have now had 4 failed IUIs and have just had one ICSI, waiting for the result.

    Our plan is still for the father to be named on the birth certificate. I do not know whether this will make the father a legal parent and cancel out the signed consent for my partner and I to be the legal parents, or whether the signed consent cancels out the parental responsibility which normally comes with the father being on the birth certificate.

    Can anyone shed any light? It's a legal minefield!




    Offline ♥JJ1♥

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    i can't help you but if they are correct in that you would be asking for treatment on the NHS with a known donor and yourself and this isn't permitted as it is ususally treatment for couples.  I have a known donor and have paid for all my treatment- did they permit you to use your donors fresh sperm or did he have to freeze it- they should have done under HFEA rules. I am sure that Natalie will be aline soon to advise you but can you add him to the birth cert if conceived through the clinic?
    Also not sure in your original plan if your partner can get parental responsibility- my friend donated to a civil partnershipped couple they both have to be named on the birth cert, even though he wanted to and they had agreed to, and he has no parental responsibility etc.

    Good luck with your 2ww

    Offline Beebo

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    Thanks for reply JJ1. Exactly, the clinic wild have seen me as single if we had not signed the consent forms for my partner to be the other legal parent - but I am not single! My partner and I live together, will be joint primary carers, attended all appointments together etc. Father did have to use frozen sperm.

    With your friends, they did have no choice because they were in a civil partnership. We had purposely postponed having a civil partnership because of this issue (still don't have one).

    It seems unfair that there is not greater legal flexibility given the disparate types of  alternative families out there. Either there should be provision for more than two legal parents, or clinics should allow the three (or more) prospective co-parents to choose which two of the three will be legal parents. In our case there were various reasons for us to come to our agreement - one being that the donor father is from an ethnic minority/different country, and us wanting the child to be eligible for a passport from his county of origin.

    Re our original plan, my partner could get parental responsibility through a shared residence order.

    Don't know if we would technically be allowed to put the father's name of the birth certificate now, but how would anyone at the registry office know? We would just turn up to register together....


    Offline ♥JJ1♥

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    As a single person you are not entitled to NHS treatment in most PCT's.
    Good luck hope that you find a way to resolve your issues.

    L x

    Offline NatGamble

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    Hi there and sorry for not having replied sooner.


    I can't really comment on the impact all this has on NHS funding but I can explain how the parenthood stuff works.  If you have signed the parenthood election forms at a clinic (and not withdrawn your election) before embryo transfer, then you and your partner will be the legal parents of your child.  In practice, there will be nothing to alert this to the registrar if you just go along and register the birth and tell him/her that your donor is the biological father, so it is highly likely you would be able to get a birth certificate showing you and your donor.  However, you will be making a false declaration of your donor's parentage, since he is not the legal father and is not entitled to be named on the birth certificate.  The birth certificate will also not reflect the true legal position, so could be open to challenge at any time e.g. if you and your partner separate or any of you fall out.  Things could get very messy later if there are any problems or if you want to take further steps to secure your partner's PR (e.g. by applying to court for a residence order).


    If this cycle doesn't work out, I would suggest that you set things up in the way you want for next time (and don't sign the parenthood election forms).  Your clinic should not be forcing you to dictate parentage in a particular way in order to access NHS funding - what a recipe for disaster!


    I would also always recommend putting something in writing between you where what you intend doesn't fit with the underlying legal position (ideally with legal advice, but in any event something).  It sounds like you have worked really hard to agree everything, which is always the very best advice, so do make sure you have it all recorded somewhere.


    I hope that makes sense.


    Natalie