Lesbian couple told it’s ‘asking too much’ to both be named their child’s ‘natural parent’ – despite raising him from birth
A lesbian who petitioned a Northern Ireland court to be named on her son’s birth certificate has been told she cannot be considered the child’s “natural parent”.
The lesbian couple, named only as Ms R and Ms A to protect their identities, made an agreement with a man referred to as Mr P in 2014 that he would donate sperm for them to have a baby. The two mothers became civil partners after their son’s birth, but had agreed to co-parent the child.
Ms R is the child’s only registered parent on his birth certificate, an arrangement the sperm donor is content with, according to Belfast Live.
However, Mr P contested that he was to have some contact with the child after his birth and that he was due at least one visit.
But Ms R and Ms A challenged this, arguing in court that he was not recognised as the child’s parent legally.
The lesbian couple petitioned the court to have Ms A named on the child’s birth certificate, but Mr Justice O’Hara denied their request in his high court ruling.
O’Hara lambasted the three adults for their “appalling” planning, adding: “People put more care into arranging a holiday than these three adults did for [the child].”
The judge said the adults never had a definitive agreement on the role the sperm donor would play in the child’s life.
“It is appalling that the planning between three adults for something so important and long lasting was so inadequate,” he added.
UK government contests lesbian couple’s claim they are both their child’s legal parent.
In court, Ms A argued that she should be named as their child’s parent on his birth certificate and said refusing their application would be discriminatory.
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But Mr P, alongside the Department of Finance, the UK secretary of state for health and the attorney general, contested her claim.
In his final judgement, the judge said Ms A did could not be named as the child’s parent as she did not meet obligations set out under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008.
Because the couple did not have their child through a licensed fertility clinic, the judge declared that they were “asking much too much”.
Responding to a claim by Ms R that she and her partner were the child’s “natural” parents, Justice O’Hara ruled: “That is simply wrong – Ms A is not and cannot be the natural parent of C. Had she and Ms R taken one of the routes open to them they could have become the recognised legal parents.”
“By failing to do so they have lost that opportunity, at least so far as Ms A is concerned.”
He told Ms A that she could however apply for parental and shared residence orders.