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Lesbian parents and sperm donors: Re G and Re Z

Date:25 OCT 2013

Natalie Gamble, Partner, Natalie Gamble Associates

The case of Re G and Re Z [2013] EWHC 134 (Fam), [2013] 2 FLR (forthcoming) hit the headlines in February 2013 with the Daily Mail front page about the High Court's 'landmark ruling' prompting public statements by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority and the British Fertility Society.  In the first decision of its kind, the court gave leave to two sperm donors (who had donated their sperm on a known basis to two lesbian couples) to apply for contact orders under s 8 of the Children Act 1989.  The men were given leave on the basis of the ‘connection' they had with the children, even though the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 said that (like other gamete donors) they were not to be treated as parents 'for any purpose'.

Natalie Gamble (solicitor for the lesbian parents in the case) discusses the facts, the law and the significance of the case for public policy on sperm and egg donation, and for future cases involving same-sex families.  She also discusses the complexity of fertility law cases (including cases involving donor conception, surrogacy and same sex parenting), noting that there is often an irreconcilable tension between the welfare approach of the family courts and the public policy objectives of the assisted reproduction legislation.

The full version of this article appears in the November 2013 issue of Family Law.