Plain English guide explains recent law changes
Pregnant Pause, Stonewall’s most recent plain English guide, offers practical advice for lesbians considering starting a family. It includes an explanation of recent law changes soon to come into effect – after tireless Stonewall lobbying – which make it far less complicated for lesbians to conceive. The free booklet, supported by The London Women’s Clinic, continues Stonewall’s commitment to communicating legal changes in helpful plain English guides so that lesbian and gay people completely understand where they now stand in the eyes of the law.
Stonewall lobbied for the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act to ensure that lesbians can at last approach fertility clinics without fear of discrimination. The requirement that fertility clinics consider ‘the need for a father’ will be replaced with ‘the need for supportive parenting’ from 1 October 2009. This means health professionals can no longer refuse to treatment to female same-sex couples and single women.
Furthermore, when a lesbian couple have a child, the non-birth mother no longer has to adopt the child in order to be named joint legal guardian on the birth certificate. If the couple are civilly partnered, or are conceiving via a licensed fertility clinic, this will now be automatic.
Ruth Hunt, Stonewall’s Head of Policy and Research, said: ‘As the law improves to provide further equality, knowing your new rights will help people make full use of the services they’re entitled to – and if discrimination occurs, the same knowledge can help them demand fair treatment. Now lesbian couples in Britain who make a considered decision to start a loving family will finally be afforded equal access to services they help fund as taxpayers. So life for lesbian families isn’t only fairer – it’s also much easier.’