Under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008, new rules apply for working out who can be recorded as the parents when the birth is the result of treatment on or after 6 April 2009.

The law applies to both heterosexual couples and same-sex female couples.

In all cases, the woman who gives birth to the baby is the mother.

Other factors decide who is to be legally treated as the father or second parent. The rules are too complex to explain here in detail but the factors that are taken into account include:

  • whether or not a couple are or were married to each other or in a civil partnership with each other – or if not, whether they had a parenthood agreement together at the time of the treatment
  • the date of the treatment
  • where the treatment took place
  • whether the treatment was carried out by a licensed person