Gay and Lesbian Parenting in the UK

Over the past few years there has been a steady increase in the number of gay and lesbian couples deciding to start a family. A 2013 study by the Office for National Statistics revealed that there were 12,000 same-sex couples raising children in the UK. There were 8,000 same-sex parents in 2011, 4,000 in 2010
 
 
However there are restrictive laws in the UK regarding surrogacy. The Gay Birthright UK campaign aims to raise awareness and open debate regarding the laws. The campaign is run by Rory and Nick who explain 
 
“As same-sex intended parents beginning our baby journey, we found that commercial surrogacy is illegal in the UK. This creates an array of uncertainties for both intended parents and surrogates.’
 
Our campaign is calling for a change in the UK laws. We want to see the legalisation of commercial surrogacy. We envisage the creation of a legal framework that fosters a fair and ethical basis for creating families through surrogacy and making it the safe, secure and loving place it should be.”
 
Rory and Nick also want to bring parity in terms of availability of IVF and fertility treatments for male intended parents in relation to that which is currently offered to straight and lesbian couples. To find out more about Gay Birthright and to read more articles about Rory and Nicks campaign visit www.gaybirthrightuk.com
 
As of 2009, gay women had the same rights in the UK as heterosexual women so it is legal to give birth from a sperm donation. In 2014 the first NHS-funded sperm bank opened which made sperm donation more accessible to lesbian singles and couples.
 
Some gay and lesbian couples team up to start a family choosing to co-parent. Co-parenting primarily involves keeping the person who donated the sperm or egg and surrogate involved in the child’s life as a third parent. The laws affecting the legal parenthood of sperm donors and non-birth mothers in lesbian couples vary. Co-parenting arrangements can be complex and legal advice should be sought.For more information on co-parenting see www.coparents.co.uk
 
For some people, adoption might be the route to parenthood. A gay or lesbian single person or same-sex couple have the same rights to apply to adopt a child in the UK as their heterosexual peers. At any one time there are around 4,000 children in England waiting for new families. The UK is one of only 14 countries where same-sex couples can legally adopt a child. Recent studies show that children adopted by same-sex couples are thriving. The study, carried out by Cambridge University suggests that adoptive families with gay fathers might be faring particularly well. For more information about fostering and adopting see www.baaf.org.uk.
 
LGBT adoption and fostering week ( 2nd – 8th March) is run by New Family Social and offers support to LGBT adopters and foster carers 
 

 

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