August 23, 2011

IconSperm donor removed from birth certificate in Australia

A court in the Australian state of New South Wales has ruled in favour of a lesbian mother who sought to remove the biological father from her daughter’s birth certificate.

The child was conceived in 2001 after the sperm donor – a gay man – responded to an advert from a lesbian couple who reportedly asked for an “uncle figure”. The three later fell out and the couple broke up after the girl was born.

Only two parents may be registered on a birth certificate under New South Wales law. The birth mother’s former partner therefore sought to replace the donor on the certificate in order to avoid “confusion with schools, hospitals and government departments”.

The father lost the case because he did not establish any contractual right to be on the child’s birth certificate when donating his sperm.

The ruling served to highlight “the inadequacy of laws dealing with multi-parent families,” said District Court Judge Stephen Walmsley, who also expressed his sympathy for the father. “No doubt a provision for registration of a third parent for a situation such as this one might be a neat answer to the problem this case presents.”

The donor broadly agreed with this assessment during an interview with radio station 702 ABC Sydney. “I think there should be three parents,” he said, “the two mothers and the father if the father wants to have involvement with the child’s life.”

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