Sperm donors win rights for contact with children

Posted by Catherine Morgan on
Two fathers, who donated their sperm have been given the right to apply for contact with their biological children in a recent landmark High Court ruling.

The two fathers were in a homosexual relationship. Father A agreed to provide sperm to his friends, D and E, a lesbian couple, on two occasions producing a daughter and a son. Father B agreed to provide sperm to X and Y, a lesbian couple who were friends of D and E, on one occasion producing a son.

There was an informal agreement put in place between the lesbian couples and the Fathers that they would have no parental title, no parental responsibility and no financial commitment.

The lesbian couples and the Fathers were all friends and there was regular contact between them and the children. Father A was involved in the arrangements before the birth and D and E had wanted their second child to have the same genetic background as the first. X and Y made it clear to Father B that they wanted him to be a role model for their child.

Both lesbian couples (D & E and X & Y) had exercised their parental responsibility to facilitate some sort of relationship between the children and their biological fathers.

The informal agreements broke down when eventually, Fathers A and B wanted more contact with their children. The two Fathers made an application to the Court for permission to apply for contact orders for the children conceived using their sperm after the lesbian couples had formed civil partnerships.

Following the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008, the Fathers were not deemed the legal parents of the children born after the lesbian couples entered civil partnerships and the law states that in this circumstance, the Fathers need the Court's permission to apply for a contact order before they could do so. Permission was applied for and granted.

Kimberlee James, a solicitor in Blake Morgan's Family Law team in Oxford, comments: "It is very important for donors and donees to seek advice on their legal position or potential legal position before they enter such arrangements as above so that the appropriate safeguards can be put in place or an informed decision can be made."

About the Author

Catherine is a Family Law solicitor and a Resolution accredited specialist, she advises clients in divorce/civil partnership proceedings, financial remedy negotiations and in private law Children Act matters, as well as Cohabitants' disputes and in drafting Deeds of Cohabitation and Pre-Nuptial/Post-Nuptial Agreements.

Catherine Morgan
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