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Lesbian mums legally recognised in South Australia

19 December 2011
Appeared in BioNews 638

Lesbian parents in South Australia who conceive through IVF can now both be registered on their child's birth certificate, after a new law passed to recognise female, same-sex couples as the co-parents of babies came into effect.

The new birth certificate will display the name of the birth mother alongside the lesbian partner who will be recorded as a co-parent. Previously only the birth mother would have been registered as the child's parent. Ian Hunter, minister for communities and social inclusion, said the law will now bring the state into line with other states in Australia.

The change, which came into effect under the Family Relationships (Parentage) Amendment Act passed last April, is designed to help eradicate some of the discrimination many lesbian couples with children born via assisted reproductive treatment say they face in South Australia.

South Australia's Greens Families and Communities spokesperson, Tammy Franks, who introduced the bill to parliament, said she was 'delighted' that the new legislation is now in force. 'This is a victory for common sense and decency', she said.

'Now both parents are recognised under law, removing the difficulties previously faced by non-biological co-parents such as consenting to medical treatment, signing forms for school excursions, or when travelling alone with their child'.

A co-parent will be recognised subject to certain conditions, including that the women were living together as a couple for at least three years and the child was conceived through artificial reproduction – although this does not include self-insemination.

The Act will also operate retrospectively so that non-biological mothers of children conceived in the last ten years can be included on birth certificates.

Lesbian and single women in South Australia who are not 'medically infertile', however, may still be denied access to assisted reproductive services.

Hunter is now campaigning for further changes in the law, which would allow fertile lesbian couples to access fertility treatment or adoption.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Jay Weatherill backs IVF for gays
The Australian |  16 December 2011
Lesbian mums get baby name rights
News.com.au |  15 December 2011
SA changes law for lesbian parents
ABC News |  15 December 2011
SA lesbian parents recognised
Sydney Star Observer |  14 December 2011
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