Sperm donors granted leave to apply for contact
In a groundbreaking judgement, the High Court has ruled that sperm donors known to the recipients may apply for contact with their biological children.
Mr Justice Baker yesterday declared that such donors could request contact under Section 8 of the Children Act 1989, even though they have no legal relationship with their biological offspring under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008..
The case of Re G; Re Z concerned two lesbian couples and one gay male couple, all in civil partnerships. One of the two men is the biological father of the two children of one of the lesbian couples, while the other man is the father of the other lesbian couple’s child.
The donations were reportedly made on an informal basis, with nothing put in writing, and the friendship between the couples broke down when the two men then wanted more contact with the children than had been agreed.
The men sought legal permission to formally apply for residence and contact with the children. The mothers opposed this, saying it would infringe on their family life.
Mr Justice Baker refused permission to request residence but said they could apply for contact as the men knew the two couples. He stated that when considering such requests, the courts needed to take into account such principles as the person’s connection to the child and how much disruption could be caused by contact. Courts should be cautious and ensure the existing family’s rights under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights were protected, he added. Article 8 governs the right to respect for ‘private and family life’.
Legal commentators said the case highlighting the need for anyone planning to use a sperm donor known to them to seek the advice of a family lawyer and draw up the equivalent of a prenuptial agreement, clearly setting out each party’s expectations of the arrangement in advance.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act allows same sex partners to register as the legal parents of a child conceived through donation, regardless of the biological father.
Photo by JosephB via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence
Share this post
Get free family law updates
Marilyn Stowe’s new book: expert advice on all aspects of divorce, from just 99p!
Divorce & Splitting Up by Marilyn Stowe is the essential how-to book for anyone who is getting divorced or splitting up from a partner. Read more >>
"A must buy that really opens your eyes to what is involved if you are considering or going through a divorce." - Amanda Brown
"This will answer your questions in a way that non-lawyers can understand." - Miss P.
"Don't get divorced without it. I read this book despite being divorced for more than 10 years. I wish I'd had this book to hand at the time. Great examples, simple to read and understand." - Jamie
"This really has helped me to see that there is light at the end of the tunnel and I will come out of it a stronger person." - J
Marilyn Stowe on SKY News & ITV This Morning
Subscribe & Follow
In the Media
Marilyn Stowe is the senior partner in Stowe Family Law, which has offices in Yorkshire, Cheshire and London. With more than 30 years’ experience handling divorce cases and family law proceedings she is regarded as one of the most formidable and sought after divorce lawyers in the UK. In 2012, Marilyn became one of the first solicitors to qualify as a family law arbitrator.
All persons mentioned in the scenarios are fictitious: details have been deliberately changed in order to protect identities and other confidential circumstances of my clients. All advice and information on this blog including posts written by guest authors, is given only as a general guide to the operation of the law on the date of publication. Readers must place no reliance whatsoever on the content of this blog and must always obtain their own legal advice. Marilyn Stowe, Stowe Family Law LLP and guest authors accept no liability whatsoever arising as a result of reliance upon its content.
Contact Stowe Family Law
These downloads accompany Marilyn Stowe's latest book: Divorce & Splitting Up: Advice From a Top Divorce Lawyer. After opening, right click to save to your computer.
For more free downloads, visit the Downloads section.