Treatment of a single woman with donated embryos in the UK

  1.  libby baby

    Hi, I’m a single woman planning to become a single mother by choice. I live in Newcastle, 29 years old. I will be using donated embryos, but my question is: Will I be the legal mother of the baby-to-be? Who will be the legal father, if any, in my case? I’m concerned because I want my child to be mine, and if a man shows up in the future, God knows but I don’t want to share parenthood with an unknown man. I’ve heard British law is very strict on this matter, and that’s why I’m asking for it now. I’m not and has never been married.

    May 30, 2016 at 4:32 pm
    #9656 Reply
  2. Sandra F. Sandra F.
    inviTRA's Moderator

    Dear libby,

    According to the the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, the woman who gives birth is always considered to be the baby’s legal mother, even if you use donated embryos or eggs. The law only recognizes one person as the legal mother.

    When the woman giving birth is married, her husband will be presumed to be the child’s legal father unless there’s proof that he didn’t consent the embryo being transferred to his wife.

    If the woman is unmarried, the legal father or second parent of the baby will be the person who appears on the “consent of parenthood” forms. In the case of single motherhood, the woman who gives birth will be the legal mother of the resulting child.

    Nonetheless, I’m afraid the law is not so explicit when it comes to establishing who is considered to be the legal father in cases of single motherhood. There is a clear legal risk that the man whose sperm was used may be considered the father.

    This is the reason why couples donating embryos seek legal advice before deciding such fate for their unused embryos, this way satisfying himself about any potential to be recognized as the father of any child born if the embryo created from his semen sample is donated.

    I hope I have been able to help,

    Best regards

    May 31, 2016 at 6:19 pm
    #9658 Reply
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