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Starting a Family in a Same-Sex Relationship; What are your Options?

Gemma Davison from Spratt Endicott Solicitors provides some insight on the legal options for anyone in a same-sex relationship in the UK considering starting a family.

Deciding when is the best time for you and your partner to start a family can be difficult and for same-sex couples there is the additional question of how to start your family. There are numerous options which you may wish to consider, including:

  • Adoption
  • Surrogacy
  • Sperm Donation
  • Co-Parenting

The decision ultimately lies with you and your personal preference/circumstances. While there are several options available to you, you may need to consider the following factors which apply however you decide to create your family, including aspects of same-sex family law.

The legal differences in parental status

It is important that when starting your family, you contemplate how you and your partner or spouse will be recognised as a legal parent and have parental responsibility for that child.

If you’re using a sperm donor, the method used to conceive, whether or not the donor is known to you and whether there are one or two legal parents at the time of conception will impact upon legal status. For example, if the sperm donor is anonymous then that donor will not have any legal status for the child, however in circumstances where the sperm donor is someone you know this will not necessarily be the position. This area of law is complex and fast moving. It is crucial to understand exactly who and how you want to be legally recognised as a child’s legal parent before conception.

If you have a surrogacy arrangement, then a Court Order – called a Parental Order – must be applied for once the child is born in order to end the legal status of the surrogate and ensure the intended parents become the child’s legal parents.

Practical Arrangements

The finances and logistics of child care are often a concern for parents to be. You may need to consider your career; including considering leave, flexible working requests and time off for appointments.

If you enter into a co-parenting arrangement (for example a lesbian couple who conceived via a gay friend donating his sperm, and you wish to raise the child together with the three of you as parents) careful discussion will need to take place about how each of you view your role in raising your child together. It may be helpful to draw up an agreement reflecting your intentions and plans. This could, for example, involve looking at the amount of time the child shall spend with each of you, decisions about school choices, health care and religion may need to be considered.

Protecting your family’s future is a key consideration and you may need to make financial provision for your child through health insurance, life insurance, writing a will and appointing a Guardian.

For more information on family law, please visit the experts at Spratt Endicott Solicitors.


Written by Gemma Davison

Gemma Davison is a recommended lawyer in The Legal 500 UK 2017 and has been named as a ‘Next Generation Lawyer’. Qualifying as a Solicitor in 2009, she is a Resolution Accredited Family Law Specialist. Spratt Endicott Solicitors is a leading Oxfordshire Law Firm that provides a full range of legal services to both commercial and private clients.

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