Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Sperm donors may seek contact with their children, court rules

Sperm donors can apply for contact with their biological children if they know the person who they donated to, a court has ruled.

The landmark case involved a male same-sex couple who donated sperm to two lesbian couples. One of the men was the father of two children of one couple, while his partner was father to one child being raised by the second lesbian couple.

The men both applied for contact with their children at a family court.

The women contested the application but eventually lost. The ruling means that sperm donors can apply for contact with their biological children. Kevin Skinner, a solicitor who represented one of the lesbian couples, told The Guardian: "The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 for the first time ensured that same sex parents were recognised in the same way as heterosexual families.

"Although the judge's decision makes clear that the family unit should be protected, the possibility of sperm donors being able to apply for orders will be a scary prospect for many parents, both gay and straight.

"What is crucial is that anyone planning on having a child through the use of fertility treatment should make sure that proper plans are in place before the process begins."

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