Child Could Be First In England And Wales Without Registered Mother
Family law experts at leading national law firm Irwin Mitchell Private Wealth are calling for law reform following the case of a transgender man who gave birth to a child, who is fighting for the right to be recognised as the father on his child’s birth certificate.
The High Court this week heard the case of TT, who is looking to be registered as his child’s father. TT became pregnant ten days after completing his gender transition from female to male through a sperm donor.
Currently the Register General’s position is that a transgender man who conceives and gives birth to a child must be registered as the child’s ‘mother’, meaning someone who is living as a man and is legally recognised as male is required to register as a mother.
The case has brought calls from top judges in the family law sphere to change fertility laws, with Sir Andrew McFarlane, the judge presiding over the case, suggesting that the government review the 2008 Human Fertilisation and Embryo Authority Act.
The government is currently consulting on the Gender Recognition Act, which family law specialists at Irwin Mitchell Private Wealth argue is a step in the right direction but does not go far enough.
Expert Opinion“This case comes down to how serious the government is about respecting transgender parents’ ability to exercise their fundamental rights without discrimination, and about transgender parents being able to exercise their full right to private and family life.
“It should be the case that a parent who has legally changed their gender is then able to achieve the full range of benefits associated with that. We cannot endorse a cherry-picking policy, in this case for transgender parents and the birth certificate. The Gender Recognition Act 2004 rightly allows individuals a legal route to acquire gender, but we must not then fall short of allowing people to affirm their rights.
“The case this week is a pioneering litigation, but it is part of a wider and deeper effort to push for law reform on a variety of fronts for transgender people. If the parent loses this case, they will then have to wait for an appeal. This will not help parents in this difficult position now who will rightly feel that they have a lack of autonomy and an inability to define their relationship with their child – something non-transgender parents will never face.
“On the whole and as in many areas of family law, the legislation has a very long way to go before it becomes compatible with today’s modern society. There is always improvement to be made in the law for transgender people, a group already so marginalised in society, so they can feel their voices are heard. It would be a travesty if we continued to ignore them.” Scott Halliday - Senior Associate