Jenni BlissettAn application was made before the District Court of NSW in late 2011 to trace the name of the biological father with the name of a former lesbian partner of the birth mother.

This application was made by a former lesbian partner of the mother of a ten year old child.  The former partner and the mother chose to have a child by artificial insemination.  The mother and the former partner met the sperm donor via a newspaper advertisement.  The mother was inseminated.  A child was born thereafter.  The sperm donor was registered on the child’s birth certificate.  Indeed, the sperm donor had a close relationship with the child and contributed tens of thousands of dollars to the child’s welfare.

In 2008 NSW law was amended to permit two women whom had a child when in a relationship to have BOTH of their names placed on the Register of Births as parents of the child.

Because of this change to the law, the former lesbian  partner sought to have her name replace the sperm donor’s name on the birth certificate.  He opposed the application.

The Court held:-

  1. Under the provisions of the Status of Children Act, the rebuttable presumption in the father’s favour, that he is a parent is displaced by the irrebuttable presumption that because the child was conceived through a fertilisation procedure he is presumed not to be the parent;
  2. The clear words of the Births, Deaths & Marriages Registration Act shows only two people may be shown on the Register as the child’s parents.
  3. The sperm donor (biological father) agreed that there was no contractual agreement prior to the birth that he would be on the Register when he agreed to donate the sperm.

Whilst there might be conflicting views within the community as to who should be registered as parents, the law is clear.  The former partner was successful.

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