12:01pm Tuesday 22nd January 2013
By Harjit Sarang
More and more lesbian couples are using known sperm donors to create a family. At the time, they will have talked about the extent of involvement that the donor is to have in the child’s life but unless they have had legal advice, the couple and / or the donor, may find themselves in a situation that was not intended.
The parties are advised to take legal advice very early on in the process. It may be that the process they go through results in a legal position that neither party intended. For example, certain conditions need to be met for the non-birth mother to become the second legal parent of the child. The insemination also needs to take place in a certain way in order for the donor not to be the legal father of the child.
We would advise that you cooperate with each other to prepare a co-parenting agreement not only to confirm the intentions behind the legal relationships that are created but also to try and deal with situations that may occur unexpectedly.
A co-parenting agreement will be taken in to consideration by the court when trying to establish what was intended at the start of the process. When a child is born, emotions may change. It may be that the donor who agreed not to have any relationship with the child now wants to be involved. It may be that the donor who did not want to have any involvement is then served with an application for maintenance for the child as legal father of the child.
In order to prevent uncertainty, disagreement and disappointment, get full legal advice at the start of the process.
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