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Parenthood rules could have far-reaching effects

by Access Legal

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The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 clarifies the rules on who are the legal parents of an artificially conceived child.

Under the new rules, a man who has fertility treatment with his unmarried female partner is not automatically the child's legal father. Certain paperwork must be completed to achieve this status.

The same applies to lesbian couples who are not registered civil partners, but lesbian civil partners have a greater claim of parenthood under the new rules.

In the past, the non-birth mother was not considered a legal parent unless she adopted the child or took other steps to acquire parenthood. Now, where a lesbian civil partner conceives by artificial insemination, the non-birth mother is presumed to be a legal parent.

The Act could have implications for people making their Wills, because a gift to 'my children' may no longer have the intended effect.

When making a Will, it is important to explain the circumstances of the birth of your children to your solicitor, to avoid problems later.

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