As expert family solicitors for over 125 years, we have supported our clients through the continuing change in what constitutes a ‘typical’ family model. We are proud to support all kinds of families, including those who use sperm donors.
Our Sperm Donor Agreement Team are experienced in working with both donors and couples carrying the child. A Private Insemination Arrangement, or Sperm Donor Agreement, is a private arrangement between either a single mother or a couple and a donor.
“Annie and her team held my hand through the process, caught my mistakes and kept me focused on the essentials. It was a great relief to have their help.”
Sperm Donor Agreements are often arranged with couples who, for a multitude of reasons, may be unable to conceive a baby.
It is very important to understand who the “legal parents” are, or who has legal paternity, as this may have wider implications in the future, for both the couple and the donor.
The legal paternity depends on whether or not your arrangement falls into the conditions of Section 35 for opposite-sex couples, or Section 42 for same-sex couples, of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008. The conditions of the law are that:
- The mother is inseminated artificially. (This does not apply if she has intercourse with the sperm donor);
- The mother must be married or in a civil partnership at the time of insemination;
- The mother’s husband, wife or civil partner consented to the insemination.
If these conditions are fulfilled, then the mother’s husband is the legal father of the child OR the mother’s wife or civil partner is the legal “second parent” of the child and they can be recorded as such on the birth certificate. It is useful to have the above conditions recorded in an agreement. We are able to advise you on the drafting of such an agreement and the costs of doing so.
If your arrangement does not fall into these conditions, the sperm donor counts at the father. In that case, you should bear in mind that:
- The mother could go to the Child Maintenance Service for child maintenance or apply to the court for further provision of the child;
- The biological father could ask the court to allow him to spend time with the child, even if the mother does not agree;
- There is no option for contracting out of these rights and duties;
- If the mother still wants her partner to be the child’s father or second mother, the biological father has to agree to an adoption.
If the sperm donor does not count as the child’s father, he will have no rights to have contact with the child as a parent. If he wanted to make such an application, he would first need the permission of the Court before doing so.
Treatment in UK Licensed Clinics
If the artificial insemination takes place in a UK licenced clinic, different rules apply. The mother’s partner will legally be the father (if male) or the ‘other parent’ (if female) of the child if:
- The treatment took place in a clinic in the UK licenced by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority; and
- The partner did consent (and signed the consent forms at the clinic if they were not married or in a civil partnership with the mother) and
- The sperm donor singed the forms as a sperm donor (rather than as the mother’s partner).
These rules apply whether the woman uses an anonymous sperm from a donation through the clinic or brings along her own donor.
Book your initial consultation
At your consultation, you will discuss your unique situation with an expert family law solicitor. We will talk about your options and next steps, let you know the time frames we expect, and the estimated costs involved. We offer remote meetings by phone or video call if preferred.