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9 February 2015

Sperm donor given parental responsibility

A father has parental responsibility if he is married to the child's mother, or named on the birth certificate (from 1 December 2003). Parental responsibility can, however, be granted by the court and in the case of JB v KS, the judge made a parental responsibility order in favour of a "sperm donor".

The mother of the child was a lesbian and the father was a heterosexual man, who “found it difficult to meet women and to develop relationships”.  The couple met on a website, with the intention of having a child together.

In 2010, the mother fell pregnant and gave birth to a healthy son.  Contact was initially agreed but broke down when the father began to present a “conventional heterosexual relationship” to friends and family.  The father claimed they were in a relationship and the mother found herself being introduced as his girlfriend when visiting his parents.

The father’s behaviour concerned the mother and contact ultimately broke down.  The father made an application to the court and one of the issues the court had to consider was whether to make a parental responsibility order.

Parental responsibility would give the father a right to be consulted on things like but not limited to, education and medical treatments and confirm his legal status as the child’s father.

The judge granted the order and cited a number of reasons in making his decision, including that it was agreed from the outset that the father would be known to his child and play a part in his life and that the father is unlikely to use the parental responsibility order to undermine the mother’s care.

The courts have been unable to offer guidance as to how to approach issues such as this and each case will be decided on its own facts but it is clear that the welfare interests of the child will always be paramount.

For help and advice on children matters, please contact Steeles Law’s family team on 01603 598000 or by emailing family@steeleslaw.co.uk.

*The information provided in this article is designed to provide useful information on the subject, not to provide specific legal advice.


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