Gay Adoption: What Are My Options?

by | Oct 22 2020 | Family Law, Popular

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By Alex Ashcroft
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Gay Adoption UK | Read time 8 Minutes.

Gay adoption is a hugely popular option for LGBT couples looking to start a family.

As society’s attitudes towards the LGBT community grow, same-sex parents are becoming more commonplace. This article takes a specific look at gay adoption, what the process is and why it’s such a popular choice for gay couples.

We’ll cover the critical factors within the adoption process and what legal factors you may need to consider before you take the plunge into parenthood.

Gay Adoption UK - Gay-Couple-Looking-For-A-Gay-Adoption-UK

what are my other options?

Before we look at gay adoption itself, let’s take a look at what other parenting models there are for same-sex couples. There are multiple options for same-sex parents besides adopting. Which route you choose will depend on many factors, such as lifestyle and finances.

The four options (including gay adoption) are:

  1. Co-parenting
  2. Adoption
  3. Surrogacy
  4. Fertility treatments

what is co-parenting?

Co-parenting is an arrangement between two or more individuals who come together to parent a child. While co-parenting is most commonly for separated couples who continue to raise their child together, it’s slightly different for LGBT people.

There are several ways that co-parenting can come about, including:

  • When a couple gets divorced, but both parents choose to continue parenting their child together
  • When one half of a divorced couple has full custody of a child and meets someone else, and they choose to raise their child with their new partner
  • If a couple adopts a child and chooses to bring another partner into the relationship and they agree to share parental responsibilities equally across all 3 adults

Co-parenting isn’t exclusively an LGBT option, however, it’s one method that same-sex couples can use. In addition, several essential factors within a co-parent arrangement need to be considered, such as:

  1. Deciding if both of you are legally recognised as a child’s guardian
  2. How you will divide the financial costings (and with any other biological parents the child has)
  3. The exact responsibilities that each parent will undertake
  4. The level of involvement each parent will have with any children

The co-parenting agreements can be formal or informal, although a formal agreement won’t be legally binding. For more information on obtaining a legal child arrangement order, you can click here to speak to our LGBT Lawyers team today.

LGBT Lawyers a cute baby ready for gay adoption

What is a gay Adoption order?

An adoption order is a legal arrangement that assigns adoptive parents as the child’s legal parental guardians. The adoption order is the most permanent option for gay adoption and for adoptive parents to acquire full parental responsibility.

However, the process can be very complex and involves strategic factors that a court will consider before granting the adoption order. These factors can include the child’s needs, age, sex, background, characteristics, relationship with existing relatives, and entitlement to inheritance. Therefore, due to the complex nature surrounding adoption, the court will only grant an adoption order for the child’s best interest.

Seeking legal advice before acquiring an adoption order will ensure you can fully understand all of your legal documents, and you have support should anything go wrong. 

Additionally, it will help reduce the stress caused by the complex nature of the process. We offer expert family law services that can guide you through your gay adoption. Please click here to visit our family law page or contact us page.

did you know…

More than 6,000 children are adopted every year in the UK. Interestingly, according to 2019 figures, 12% of all adopted children in the UK went to same-sex families. This is an increase of 6% on the year before. 

GAY ADOPTION or Surrogacy?

Surrogacy is an arrangement between a couple and a surrogate mother who will carry the child. Surrogacy can be used as a type of gay adoption, as a gay couple can apply for a parental order to gain legal parenthood.

Bear in mind that there are complex legal issues within the process of surrogacy. Firstly, it’s illegal to have a commercial surrogate in the UK, so you can’t pay your surrogate for their services. Whatsmore, the surrogate is recognised as the child’s legal mother despite not being genetically related.

There have been various documented surrogacy cases within the UK where the intended parents have not received a child. This is because the surrogate has decided against the arrangement later within the process. But don’t let that scare you – surrogacy can be a great option instead of gay adoption, as your child will be genetically related to you.

Take a look at our article on same-sex parenting for more information on the surrogacy process.

LGBT Lawyers a gay couple with gay adoption

Gay adoption or fertility treatments?

IVF can be a complex and stressful process to go through, both emotionally and financially.

However, IVF has some major benefits over other methods of conception. The main reason for this is that the woman who gives birth to the child is legally their birth parent and automatically has full legal parental rights. Because of this, it is a common option for same-sex couples instead of gay adoption.

Same-sex couples commonly use the arrangement of donor insemination in a relationship as a conception method. IVF can also be an option for women who wish to have a child on their own. Within the UK all licensed clinics which specialise in donor insemination are regulated by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.

However, be aware that there can be complications.

A key factor of using donor insemination which you need to be aware of is that the decisions you make may have implications to who is defined by law as the parental guardian of your child.

For example, if you are a lesbian couple and partner A carries the child, but with partner B’s ovum, then partner A is the legal parent, but partner B may not be.

Similarly, if a gay couple chooses IVF with one of their sperm, then the donor from that couple is only the legal parent if the birth mother is NOT married or in a civil partnership. 

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