A lesbian couple who used a sperm donor to have children has succeeded in having the donor’s name removed from the children’s birth certificates.
A Queensland man who donated sperm to a lesbian couple will have his name removed from their children’s birth certificates in a first for the state.
The biological mother’s de facto partner will instead be listed as a parent under recent changes to state laws that give more rights to same-sex couples.
The case is a first for Queensland, after the couple applied to the Supreme Court in March to both be recognised as legal parents and have the two children’s birth certificates reflect this.
None of the people involved can be named under laws that protect the children.
They were conceived through artificial insemination before the Surrogacy Act 2010 commenced, according to the Supreme Court judgment published on Thursday.
Under the old laws the mother’s female de facto partner of 20 years wasn’t recognised as their parent.
The biological mother says she faced losing some social security benefits if she was classed as a single parent.
As a result the sperm donor, whom the couple found on a gay community website, was named as the father on both children’s birth certificates.
The man has since applied to the Federal Circuit Court to try to have contact with the children and didn’t consent to being removed from their birth certificates.
According to the couple, when approached as a donor he said, “I’m happy to put my DNA into the world but I do not really want to be a parent”.
However he maintains he always wanted a relationship with the children.
After a hearing in Brisbane on May 9 Supreme Court Justice Ann Lyons ruled in favour of the couple, saying she was satisfied they were a de facto couple who could both be recognised as parents under the new law, even retrospectively.
In a Queensland-first, she ordered the registrar remove the children’s father and record their non-biological mother as the second parent in the register of births.
“The register will now accurately reflect the correct parents for the children and the true nature of the relationship between (the couple),” she said in her written judgment.
The father’s legal bid to have contact with his children is a separate, unresolved case.