New parenthood laws

The law on legal parenthood following fertility treatment changed on 6th April 2009.

This was the first set of changes introduced by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology (HFE) Act 2008. Further changes to fertility law came into force on 1 October 2009.

The government has subsequently made changes to the way births to same sex couples are registered. From 1st September 2009 it was possible for both female parents’ names to be included on the birth certificate.

What do the changes to legal parenthood mean for patients?

How the change in the law around parenthood affects you as a patient will depend on your circumstances, but it primarily affects couples receiving treatment with donor sperm or embryos created with donor sperm.

Read our FAQs for patients to find out how this will affect you.

What does this mean for clinics?

From 6 April 2009 clinics are required to :

  • offer counselling about the implications of receiving treatment following consent to parenthood, prior to treatment being provided
  • provide appropriate information to patients and their partners about the implications of consent to parenthood.
  • obtain appropriate consent to parenthood before donor sperm is inseminated or before embryos created using donor sperm are transferred
  • notify patients or patient partners if consent to parenthood is withdrawn or changed.

Read our guidance for clinics and view the new parenthood consent forms:

Page last updated: 12 April 2009