The UK’s fertility regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, has published its annual report on statistics and trends in UK fertility treatment. One of the headline points this year is a 36% rise in the numbers of lesbian couples conceiving through IVF and donor insemination at UK fertility clinics.
As Natalie told the Independent and Family Law Week, the increase no doubt reflects recent changes to the law which have enabled lesbian couples to be named on birth certificates together, and enshrined equality principles in both service provision and NHS funding. We have come a long way since fertility clinics routinely denied fertility treatment to anyone apart from married couples, and the UK is now an excellent place to start a family together as a same sex couple.
For the increasing numbers of lesbian couples having babies, getting clued up about the law in advance is always sensible. Couples who both want to be legal parents need to conceive through a clinic or marry/register as civil partners before they conceive. The law dictates when and how information about clinic sperm donors becomes available. And for those conceiving with known donors (whether at a clinic or privately at home) there can be complex legal issues if the relationships do not work out as envisaged. There is a wealth of free information for lesbian prospective parents on our website.
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