Becoming a mum for the first time is many things. Exciting. Moving. Nerve-wracking! And one thing it shouldn’t be is complicated. If you are in a same-sex relationship, you will often need a bit of help creating your family, and it no doubt comes with many questions! Here we answer the most asked questions from our clients in a female same-sex couple.
Q: All we need is a sperm donor, right?
Luckily for lesbian couples, it is generally a bit easier to conceive a child through the use of just a sperm donor if there are no issues with fertility. However, there may be other assisted conception technologies required if the parent(s) run into fertility problems, which are not uncommon. This may require the use of donated eggs or potentially the use of a surrogate, and so we would always advise speaking to a regulated clinic before embarking on your journey.
Q: We have a friend who’s happy to be our sperm donor. Can we just do it ourselves?
Whilst this might be possible biologically-speaking, we would not recommend doing anything outside of a licenced fertility clinic. This is because using a licenced clinic brings certain legal protections alongside it, such as your partner being automatically recognised as the child’s second parent on birth, and extinguishing any parental rights or responsibilities of your friend as he will be legally considered to be a sperm donor. If you did the procedure yourself at home without any oversight, he would be legally considered to be the child’s father.
Q: My friend donated sperm to us and now he wants contact with the child, be we don’t want that. What do we do?
If you are already off down the road and you have hit a bump, we would always suggest trying to resolve the dispute by way of mediation before embarking on any court journey. Not only will that cause a lot of less stress and expense, but it will also help your relationship with your friend in the long run. The best way to avoid this is always to have an honest and frank discussion about everyone’s long-term expectations before you start the process.
Q: If we use a sperm donor, will he be the child’s father?
No, not if you use a licenced fertility clinic. Doing so unofficially will leave you open to the risk that the donor will be considered to be the legal father.
Q: We want to become co-parents with our friends who are a gay couple. Is that allowed?
Yes, entering into a co-parenting agreement is entirely lawful, although comes with a high legal risk as there can only be two legal parents of the child and it all depends on your relationship status.
If this option is the right choice for your family, it is important that you think carefully about the intentions post-conception and to make sure that everyone involved is on the same page. You should only ever enter into a co-parenting arrangement with people you know and trust, and only once you are all clear about the legal implications of doing so. We can assist with drawing up co-parenting agreements.
The top takeaway when using any form of assisted conception is to get legal advice before you embark on your journey so that you know exactly where you stand. This helps you to avoid any pitfalls and let you focus on the exciting part, becoming a parent!