Another blow to fatherhood: IVF mothers can name ANYONE as 'father' on birth certificate
02nd March 2009
Full article:- http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1158322/Another-blow-fatherhood-IVF-mothers-ANYONE-father-birth-certificate.html
Family values were under attack again last night with the news that single women having IVF will be able to name anyone they like as their baby's father on the birth certificate. New regulations mean that a mother could nominate another woman to be her child's 'father'. The 'father' does not need to be genetically related to the baby, nor be in any sort of romantic relationship with the mother.
Critics said a woman could list her best friend on the birth certificate. The word 'father' may even be replaced with the phrase 'second parent'.
The second parent, who will have to consent to being named, will take on the legal and moral responsibilities of parenthood.
This raises the spectre of a legal minefield in which female 'fathers' will fight for visitation rights and be chased for child support payments if their fragile relationship with the mother breaks down. The changes, due to come in on April 6, will apply to many of the 2,000 women a year who have IVF using sperm from anonymous donors.
The regulations are part of the controversial Embryology Bill passed by Parliament last year. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority said they will give lesbian couples in civil partnerships who undergo IVF the same rights as married heterosexual couples.
An unmarried man whose girlfriend has fertility treatment will also find it easier to claim full parental rights.
The new rules state: 'The women receiving treatment with donor sperm (or embryos created with donor sperm) can consent to any man or woman being the father or second parent.' The only exemption is close blood relatives. Critics said the change would lead to the role of father being downgraded to the one of godfather and warned that the child would be the one to lose out
Baroness Deech, a former chairman of the HFEA, said the practice would lead to the ' falsification of the birth certificate'. She said: 'This is putting the rights of the parents way above those of the child. It is absurd that anyone can be named as the father or the second parent.'
Dr Trevor Stammers, a GP and lecturer in healthcare ethics, questioned the strength of the relationships or friendships between the mother and 'father'. He said: 'There is no doubt from sociological evidence accumulated over the past few years that children do best in a two-parent married family with heterosexual couples being the married parents.
'It probably will be the child that is the loser but by the time we find that out, in 15 or 16 years, a huge amount of damage will have been done.'