Nicola Scott

Consultant Solicitor

DATE PUBLISHED: 24 Jun 2024 LAST UPDATED: 24 Jun 2024

Pride Month: Spotlight on Fertility Law

As part of our series of blogs commemorating Pride Month, this article explores our fertility law services.

At Ellis Jones we are proud to closely support the LGBTQ+ community with family building; from planning fertility treatment to advising on surrogacy, donor conception, co-parenting and adoption arrangements to supporting parents where a dispute has arisen.

History of family-building for LGBTQ+ parents

We have seen a great deal of positive change over the last two decades – with many pathways to parenthood opening up for the LGBTQ+ community, where they were not so accessible previously.

Two of the most notable changes are in relation to the availability of treatment with donor gametes (sperm and/or eggs) and surrogacy, affecting gay couples and single people across the UK.

Donor conception

Treatment with donor sperm and eggs has been a popular choice for LGBTQ+ parents for many years.  However, it was not until clinical guidance changed in 2009 (switching the prerequisite for clinicians to assess any future child’s ‘need for a father’ to the ‘need for supportive parenting’ before offering treatment) that such services became more accessible to lesbian couples and single women (i.e. situations where there would not be a father involved in the upbringing of the child).   This shift in thinking led to many more fertility clinics readily accepting gay and single women as patients, now that they were not tied down by the perceived ideology that a child’s welfare would suffer without a present father.

We see many same sex parents embarking on treatment with donor sperm, whether through clinics in the UK (or abroad) or via informal home insemination.  Some conceive with unknown clinic donors and others opt to use known donors.  Thanks to the updated legislation in 2009, with the right planning, two women can exclusively share legal parenthood for a child they have conceived in this way, making this a tried, tested and secure route for lesbian families.


Surrogacy represents an increasingly viable option for many prospective parents in the pursuit of a family, but is especially significant for gay men who wish to share a biological connection with their child.  However, until 2010 it was not possible for gay couples to acquire full parental rights for their surrogate-born children, since the post-birth legal solution (the parental order) was only available to heterosexual married couples.

This naturally made it harder for gay couples to commission surrogacy, as their ability to resolve the legal issues was uncertain.  However, happily, since 2010 both gay and heterosexual unmarried couples have been able to secure their parental status via the parental order.  This welcome change expanded to single parents in 2019, bringing surrogacy law in line with adoption law and opening the doors to many more of the LGBTQ+ community.

We have helped hundreds of parents to navigate surrogacy (both within the UK and internationally) and the associated UK law; ensuring that their families acquire the legal recognition and security they need and deserve.

How can Ellis Jones help?

The above are just two examples of many options available to intended LGBTQ+ parents.  We are also pleased to offer legal services and advice in relation to co-parenting arrangements, adoption and fertility treatment and would love to help and advise you in creating or securing your family.

Our specialist solicitor, Nicola Scott, has 15 years’ experience in the field of fertility law and can be contacted via email or phone 01202 057850.

How can we help?

When you submit this form an email will be sent to the relevant department who will contact you within 48 hours. If you require urgent advice please call 01202 525333.

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