Last week the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority’s (HFEA) decided to permit the licencing of fertility treatment involving genetic information from three people. Professor Webley responded by explaining that the decision does not alter the legal position regarding who should be recognised as the parents of a child and went on to explain how it is decided.
“English law provides that the person who gives birth to the child is automatically the legal mother, and the man who undergoes fertility treatment with that woman is the legal father regardless of whether it was his sperm that was used to create the child,” she writes for the Huffington Post. She added that in case of same-sex couples, “a child will either have a legal mother or a legal father and the other parent will be termed their second legal parent.”
She continued: “The Children Act 1989 allows for multiple people to have parental responsibility for a child even if not as a legal parent.
“Legal motherhood is still firmly grounded in biology, however. But it is pregnancy rather than the origin of the egg that determines who is recognised as the mother. Consequently, a woman acting as a surrogate is regarded as the legal mother, not the woman who provided the egg. This remains the case even if the egg donor is the person who entered into the surrogacy arrangement with the surrogate and is the intended mother of the child.”