, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 227-251

Lesbian and Gay Parents and Reproductive Technologies: The 2008 Australian and UK Reforms

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Abstract

This article analyses the laws that govern the allocation of parental responsibility for children conceived through non-coital reproduction by lesbians and gay men in England/Wales and Australia. In 2008 both jurisdictions introduced important reforms affecting this area of law, providing new options for the legal recognition of parent–child relationships in lesbian and gay households. However, the practical usefulness or effectiveness of the reforms may be limited by the excessive complexity or obscurity of the system of parental responsibility thus introduced. Furthermore, the reform Acts encourage the formation of some family structures—especially homonuclear families—while discouraging the emergence of more imaginative and cooperative parenting configurations at odds with heteronormative parenting scripts. Only through a clearer commitment to intentionality as a ground for the allocation of parental responsibility will future reform be likely to adequately protect the interests of lesbian and gay parents and their children.