A court has ruled that sperm donors can apply for contact with their biological children as long as they know the person who they donated their sperm to.
Mr Justice Baker, sitting in the High Court, ordered that known sperm donors can apply for Children Act 1989 section 8 orders (residence, contact and other orders with respect to children) despite having no legal relationship with them under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008.
The landmark case concerned two men who were sperm donors for two lesbian couples, with whom they had been friends. All three couples were in civil partnerships. The men had requested contact with their offspring and had applied to the family court.
Family Law Week reports that the men 'applied for leave to make an application for residence and contact orders in relation to their respective children'.
The mothers of the children had contested the men's applications, opposing them on the basis that they would infringe on their family units.
However, Mr Justice Baker said both of the men could pursue their applications for a contact order, but not residence.
The solicitor acting on behalf of one of the women told The Guardian that the judges' decision will be a 'scary prospect' for many parents, 'both gay and straight'.
"The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 for the first time ensured that same sex parents were recognised in the same way as heterosexual families," Kevin Skinner said.
"Although the judge's decision makes clear that the family unit should be protected, the possibility of sperm donors being able to apply for orders will be a scary prospect for many parents, both gay and straight."
"What is crucial is that anyone planning on having a child through the use of fertility treatment should make sure that proper plans are in place before the process begins."
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