A lesbian couple have become the first same-sex parents in Britain to jointly sign the birth certificate of their child. Natalie Woods and Betty Knowles countersigned the document after the birth of Lily-May Betty Woods. Lily-May was born after Woods from East Sussex became pregnant via a sperm donor.
They were able to take advantage of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 – which came into effect at the beginning of this month. It entitles people in same sex relationships to both be treated as equal parents of a child. Under the previous legislation, Miss Woods would have been the only one able to list herself as a parent on the birth certificate, while Miss Knowles would have had to go to court to be recognised as a parent.
Non-biological moms to appear on birth certificates in UK
Lesbian couples who have children through IVF will be able to name their partner as the second parent, under a law coming into force next month.
Under present legislation, the husband in a married couple using IVF is automatically added to the birth certificate. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 will extend the same right to lesbian couples undertaking fertility treatment, while single women will also be allowed to nominate their child’s other parent.
A spokeswoman for the HFEA urged couples to be aware of the looming law change before undertaking fertility treatment.
“Obviously the present rules are the present rules,” she said. “If a lesbian couple, for example, were thinking about having IVF treatment they might be better off waiting until April because the rules about who they can name as a second parent will make things easier.”