FAQ on birth registration and parental orders

What will happen when a same sex couple registers the birth of a child?

The General Registry Office (GRO) is the government agency responsible for the registration of births in England and Wales. The GRO have advised that the new provisions for registering the birth of a child born to female couples will mirror the existing ones for heterosexual couples. From 1st September 2009 it will be possible for both female parent's names to be included on the birth certificate (due to an amendment of the Registration of Births and Deaths Regulations 1987).

The same rules will apply in Scotland and Northern Ireland, although the design of the birth certificates will be different.

When a couple register the birth of their child, the Registrar may ask questions to correctly establish legal parentage, but evidence will not be required routinely.

However, if there is a dispute about whether either partner provided the right consent, or if one partner withdrew consent, the Registrar may ask for evidence to determine the correct position.

For further information, contact the General Registry Office, the government agency responsible for registering births.

Parental Orders

A Parental Order transfers parenthood from a surrogate (and her husband or partner if she has one) to the couple who commission the surrogacy arrangement. Parental Orders are currently available to married couples only.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 enables same sex couples and unmarried couples as well as married couples to apply for a Parental Order. This part of the Act will come into force in April 2010.

The Department of Health has started a consultation (closing on 23 November 2009) on the regulations that are necessary to set out the processes for the court to grant Parental Orders.

See the Department of Health website for further information about this consultation.

More parenthood FAQs

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Page last updated: 02 September 2009