UK child law and Parental responsibility

Essay by dsakelUniversity, Bachelor'sB-, April 2004

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In principle, the legal father of a child is the person who provides the sperm which leads to conception . Under s. 28 (2) of Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, the husband of a woman who is artificially inseminated is treated as the father of the child, unless it is proved that he did not consent to the treatment. Thus, in Re CH (Contact: Parentage) , a married couple tried unsuccessfully to have a child. They received fertility treatment together; and were eventually advised that AID would be the most appropriate procedure. After the marriage broke down, the mother sought to deny the husband contact, arguing that he was not the child's biological father. Judge Callman refused to accept this.

The Act also contains a provision which equates the position of a couple living together in a stable relationship outside marriage with that of a married couple. It is provided that where a sperm has been used "in the course of treatment services" provided for a man and a woman "together" under a licensing procedure established by the HF & EA 1990 then the man is treated as the child's father (HF & EA 1990, s.28

(3)). The real issue is whether the couple has embarked on a joint enterprise with the object that the woman should conceive and bear a child. Thus, in Re B (Parentage) , a man gave a sperm on the occasion of a visit to a hospital together with the mother. It was held that he and the mother had received treatment together. On the facts of the case, Barbie and Ken are in a stable relationship. Provided that the clinic, where the AID treatment took place, was licensed and that the couple sought the AID together (Ken consented to the AID), then...