Pre-conception Agreements

25 Mar 2015

Rachel Shoheth - Family LAw Solicitor

There have been many changes over the last decade in terms of rights for same sex couples in terms of their relationship and being able to enter into a civil partnership or marriage.

The law is developing all the time and as scenarios arise we have to look at ways to overcome possible difficulties in more practical terms. That is especially true when looking to parental rights for same sex couples.

Under HFEA (Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990) there is guidance regarding parental rights when a process of artificial insemination takes place in a clinic or when the couple are civil partners or married. The difficulties begin to arise when couples have not yet entered in to a civil partnership but want to become parents and want the procedure to take place at home.

Under the legislation as it stands the donor party is not able to contract out of his rights in respect of any child. There are ways however to show the intention of all parties, at the time of conception, to inform the Court should any dispute arise in the future regarding child arrangements.

Only time and practice will show how this field will develop and the weight that Courts in the future will give to such documents. Courts have a wide discretion in cases such as this and it does not necessarily follow that a Court will uphold an agreement, much will depend on the circumstances at the time and what actions have been taken since entering into the agreement.

It is vital that parties see independent legal advice however to ensure that the agreement is as binding as it can be.