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Rise in Same Sex Couples Using Fertility Treatments

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) issued a report last week on “Trends and Figures” in fertility treatments, which shows a significant increase in the number of same-sex couples starting families using fertility treatments.

The report suggests that the number of female same-sex couples seeking IVF has increased by one third over the year covered by the report, with donor inseminations up by 20%. The report also shows that 2% of all babies born in the UK were conceived using IVF techniques.

The family law which deals with the attribution of legal parenthood and Parental Responsibility is spread across various different statutes and is both complex and confusing. This is mainly as a result of the fact that family law has had to be amended on a piecemeal basis to reflect progress in scientific techniques and changing social trends, rather than being comprehensively reviewed and overhauled to reflect the very different position of science and social norms now, as against when the Children Act 1989 was drafted; more than 25 years ago.

The techniques used and where treatment takes place can have a significant impact upon which of the adults involved is deemed to have a right to have future involvement with a child. The legal position does not always accord with couples’ intentions, nor with a common sense guess as to how the law would apply in such circumstances. It really is vital for couples considering such techniques, whether in same sex or heterosexual relationships to do their research and make sure that they know how the law will apply to the child once born.

It is hoped that in due course the law surrounding modern parenthood and conception will be comprehensively reviewed and reformed, however any changes do not appear imminent.

For specialist legal advice please call the Family Solicitors at Slater and Gordon on freephone 0800 916 9055 or contact us online and we'll be happy to help you.

Cara Nuttall is a Family Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in Manchester.

Slater and Gordon Lawyers have offices in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Sheffield, Milton Keynes, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Halifax, Newcastle, Wakefield and meeting rooms in Bramhall, Cheshire.