SAME SEX RELATIONSHIPS

Artificial Insemination

 

The law specifically states who is considered to be the mother and father of the child, when the child is conceived through artificial conception with donated genetic material.

Changes were made to the Family Law Act 1975 some time ago that recognise the role of both partners as parents, in a same sex de facto relationship.

Female Same Sex Relationships

 

When a child is born to a female same sex couple, the law presumes the child’s mother to be the partner who carried the pregnancy and gave birth to the child.

The child is a child of both de facto partners, provided:

  • the same sex couple was a de facto couple at the time the artificial conception procedure was carried out; and
  • the non-birth parent consented to the carrying out of the artificial conception procedure.

Who provided the genetic material, or whether the genetic material is provided by several different people, is not relevant.

This means it is not relevant whether both donor sperm and donor ova were used, such that the child has no biological relationship to either parent.

 

Female Same Sex Relationships - Registering the Birth

 

Both same sex partners can be listed as “parents” on the child’s Birth Certificate.

Note though that only the partner who carried the pregnancy and gave birth to the child can be listed as the child’s mother.

In some Australian States, female same sex couples can have a child through a surrogacy arrangement.

In those circumstances both partners would also be recognised as the child’s parents under both State and Federal Law and both parents could be listed on the child’s Birth Certificate.

 

Male Same Sex Relationships

 

Even though the definition of “parent” includes heterosexual de facto couples and female same sex couples, it does not cover male same sex couples.

This is because the definition of parent refers to a child born to a woman. 

Accordingly, the definition of parent in the Federal Family Law Act 1975 and various State Acts do not assist male same sex couples who wish to be recognised as parents of a child.

Many Australian States do not  allow adoption by same sex de facto couples. 

Different laws apply in each State to surrogacy arrangements. 

Generally speaking, if  a male same sex couple has a child through a lawful surrogacy arrangement, the partners would be recognised as the child’s parents under State and Federal law and both parents could be listed on the child’s Birth Certificate.

 

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Content By:
Michelle Beatty
MRB LAW

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