If your child is conceived through fertility treatment or a surrogacy agreement, the woman who gives birth to the baby is recorded as the child's mother. This is because the law states that the woman who gives birth to the child is always recognised as the child's mother. The man registered as the father will usually be the husband or partner of the birth mother, regardless of whether he is connected to the child biologically.
For same-sex female partners, a Parenthood Agreement is signed before the mother's fertility treatment begins. This means that the mother's female partner can then be recorded as the baby's parent on the birth certificate. A couple who arranges for a surrogate mother to carry a child for them is called the 'commissioning parents'. The commissioning parents can apply to the courts for the right to re-register the birth and be named as the child's parents. The document they will request from the courts is called a parental order. You should seek legal advice if you wish to apply for a parental order.
When the parental order has been granted, the court will notify the General Register Office, who will then re-register the birth. This new birth record will supersede the original.
You will not need to do anything further unless you would like to order a new birth certificate from the General Register Office. This will show the details of the commissioning parents, and note that they are the parents of the child.
If a child is conceived by fertility treatment and the biological father has died before conception, the birth will often be registered without the father's details. It can be re-registered to include the father's details. To do this you will need to contact the General Register Office for further guidance. They will ask you to provide the following:
- the man's written consent to the fertility treatment and to being named as the father in the child's birth registration (this only applies if the man died before 18 September 2003)
- the fertility clinic's written confirmation that the man's consent to being named as the father in the child's birth registration has not been withdrawn (this only applies if the man died before 18 September 2003)
- written confirmation that the fertility treatment happened, from a medical source such as the clinic or the mother's doctor
- the mother's written request for the man to be named as the child's father in the birth registration
- the man's original death certificate
- the original marriage certificate of the child's mother and father, where appropriate
Recording the man as a child's father in this way does not mean he will be treated in law as the child's father for any purpose other than registration. For example, it does not give the child:
- any legal status
- rights concerning inheritance
- rights concerning nationality
You should seek legal advice from a solicitor for more information.
For more information on treatment services and deceased fathers, visit The Human Fertilisation and Embryology authority website.