In a recent High Court Judgement, Mr Justice Baker has ordered that known sperm donors can now apply to court for contact orders under section 8 of the Children Act 1989, even though they have no legal role as parents of their biological child.
Justice Baker ruled that two men, whose sperm were provided to lesbian couples with whom they were friends, could apply through the courts for contact. The men had had contact with the children after their birth but there was then a disagreement between the couples.
It was the introduction of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 which ensured that same sex parents were recognised as hetrosexual families.
Justice Baker refused to give the men permission to ask for residence orders in respect of the children but said they could apply for contact. The judge explained that when considering such requests, courts needed to take into account the person’s connection to the child and how much disruption could be caused by contact taking place.
It needs to be understood that at this stage the judge has only given the men permission to apply for contact, the case has not yet been heard as to whether or not contact will actually be granted and it is thought that agreement may be reached through mediation rather than the matter returning to court.
The case does however highlight the importance of the need for anyone using a sperm donor who is known to them, to seek the advice of a family lawyer who can draft an agreement between the parties setting out what has been agreed in advance.
If you require any advice regarding the above issue or regarding any family matter please contact our Family Law team on 0161 475 7676.