News in Brief: Lesbian Mothers Gain Further Recognition in the UK

The UK has adopted regulations that allow the lesbian partner of a woman who gives birth following ART to be recognized as a parent from the time of birth.  This is quite similar to the standard enacted by statute in DC and by case law in Oregon.  

The general idea in all these instances is the same.   If a married heterosexual couple used ART in order for the woman to become pregnant, the husband would be legally recognized as a parent of the resulting child.   This is not because we would assume that he was genetically related to the child.   Given the use of ART, it’s quite likely that would not be true.   (There is a presumption that when any married woman gives birth her husband is the father, but this can typically be overcome by DNA testing.)  

Anyway, as I discussed last week the ART presumption is more specialized.  It assumes the pregnancy is a joint project of husband and wife and that the idea  all along is that the husband will be a parent as will the wife.   And if that is the reasoning for a heterosexual couple, why shouldn’t it be the same for a lesbian couple? 

This is precisely the rationale that the Oregon court used to extend the presumption to lesbian partners and the new regulation in the UK appears to follow the same path. 

There is one noteworthy difference.    I wrote before about how the DC statute is more expansive than the Oregon case law.   The Oregon partners may need to be formally registered as domestic partners.   Under the DC statute, the relationship between the parties is irrelevant.  (This is a point I’ve been discussing at some length.  I expect to return to it shortly.)  

From what I can see (and I have not had a chance to poke around yet) the UK regulation falls somewhere between the two.  The women need not be parties to a formalized legal relationship but it does seem that the need to be a couple, whatever that means. 

I’ll be on the lookout for more details in the next few days.   Be good to understand the law a bit more clearly.


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