Parenthood after donor conception: egg donors and egg providers

dandelion flowerUK law says that the woman who gives birth is the only legal mother of a child.  This gives egg donors protection against financial and inheritance claims, and means they have no parental rights or responsibilities.  If the egg donor and parent/s do not know each other, the legal position is straightforward.

Egg providers who are involved with the child
If the egg provider is involved with the child, perhaps because she is a known donor or the birth mother's partner, the law is more complicated.  The egg provider will not be the legal mother, but she could be the other legal parent if she is the birth mother's same-sex partner (find out more about parenthood for non-birth mothers).

Even if she is not a legal parent, she may build a connection with the child, and this might enable her to obtain the court's permission to apply for a child arrangements order which can gives rights of contact or residence.  There have been a few cases in which, based on the particular facts, biological parents who are not legal parents have been given such rights.  In the case of Re G (2014), the court gave rights of regular contact to a woman who had provided her eggs to her former same-sex partner. In the case of Re G and Re Z (2013) the court gave leave to two known sperm donors to apply for contact with their genetic offspring, even though they were not legal parents.

This an evolving area of law with some complex issues.  Find out more about known donor disputes and disputes between female same-sex couples.

Find out more about how the law on parenthood works if you are trans.


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