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Equal birth registration rights for female couples

Equal birth registration rights for female couples

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 27 August 2009

EMBARGOED NOT FOR PUBLICATION OR BROADCAST UNTIL 00.01 ON MONDAY 31 AUGUST

Female couples now have the same rights as heterosexual couples when registering the birth of a child conceived as a result of fertility treatment.

From tomorrow (Tuesday 1 September), changes to the Registration of Births and Deaths Regulations 1987 mean female civil partners who use fertility treatment to conceive a child will be treated in the same way as married couples, with both female parents' names able to be included on the birth certificate.

In addition, female couples not in a civil partnership but receiving fertility treatment may also be registered as parents in the same way as unmarried heterosexual couples.

In both cases, providing relevant conditions are met, the female partner of the mother can be recorded as "parent" in the birth or still-birth registration and on any certificates issued.

Before this change, the mother's female partner could not be registered as a parent.

The changes to the regulations were approved by Registrar General James Hall earlier this year following Royal Assent for new parenthood provisions contained in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008. The Act's provisions only apply to female couples who have fertility treatment on or after April 6 2009.

Home Office Minister Lord Brett said:

"This positive change means that for the first time female couples who have a child using fertility treatment have the same rights as their heterosexual counterparts to be shown as parents in the birth registration.

"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."

Stonewall's Head of Policy and Research Ruth Hunt said:

"As the law improves to provide further equality, knowing your new rights will help people make full use of the services they're entitled to. And, if discrimination occurs, the same knowledge can help them demand fair treatment.

"Now lesbian couples in the UK who make a considered decision to start a loving family will finally be afforded equal access to services they help fund as taxpayers.

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

NOTES TO EDITORS

1. The section of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 which confers legal parenthood on the mother's female partner became law on April 6 2009.

2. The female partners of women who have a child through informal artificial insemination and were in a civil partnership at the time of the insemination may be registered as "parent". This does not apply to the partners of women not in a civil partnership.

3. The Act specifies that couples not in a civil partnership at the time of the treatment who wish a female partner to be regarded as a "parent" are required to give written consent to the UK clinic where they receive the fertility treatment.

4. The amendment to regulations will only apply to women who were in a civil partnership at the time of the treatment.

171/2009

Contacts:

Home Office Press Office
Phone: 020 7035 3535
NDS.HO@coi.gsi.gov.uk

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