Dispute with a known donor or biological parent

A dispute with a known donor or biological parent can raise complex legal issues under fertility and family law in the UK, including:

  • Legal status and identity of a known donor or biological parent.
  • Whether a known donor or biological parent is financially liable for a child.
  • Whether a known donor or biological parent should acquire or exercise parental responsibility for a child.
  • Whether a known donor or biological parent should spend time with a child or be involved in their care and upbringing.
  • Dispute about biological or legal parentage following a direct-to-consumer DNA test (e.g. application for a declaration of parentage to add or remove a parent’s name from a birth certificate).

Our specialist fertility and family law advice navigates many complex legal and wider issues or disputes associated with fertility treatment, donor conception and direct-to-consumer genetic testing. It creates bespoke legal and practical action plans about conception, family creation, biological and genetic identity and legacy. It also helps effectively navigate many complex fertility and family law issues. We can also:

  • Advise on issues and options for managing communication and relationships with biological parents, genetic half-siblings and other genetic relatives.
  • Create a tailored legal action plan to manage complex family situations and dynamics.

Our preeminent specialist legal expertise encompasses both fertility and family law, enabling us to effectively resolve disputes with a known donor or biological parent. We are at the forefront of this rapidly evolving and cutting-edge area of law and policy and we deliver innovative legal solutions.

If you require legal assistance or wish to discuss anything further please contact us.

 +44 (0) 20 7965 8399

Leading Cases

Louisa Ghevaert has dealt with numerous assisted reproduction and modern family dispute cases involving biological parents and known donors in the UK. Read more here.

Re X,Y and Z (Children: Parental Orders: Time Limit) [2022] EWHC 198 (Fam)an important legal ruling where the English High Court stepped in and granted parental orders to male same-sex intended parents (one of whom was a biological parent) for 3 surrogate born children conceived through egg donation, fertility treatment and surrogacy due to complex international conflicts of law between the US (California & Oregon), Denmark and the UK, extending the six-month statutory deadline for issue post birth and carefully navigating complex legal issues associated with the collapse of a US surrogacy agency, a pending criminal charge of assault against one of the intended parents and serious legal difficulties in Denmark where Danish authorities threatened to deport the children.

AB v CD, EF, GH & IL [2018] EWHC 1590 (Fam), representing an intended mother in international contested assisted reproduction and modern family law proceedings in the High Court concerning 2 surrogate born children. This case marks a legal first in the treatment of blended families in the UK following assisted reproduction, divorce, re-marriage, serious allegations of domestic violence and abuse as well as the legal status and identity of two surrogate born children, their biological, intended and social parents and arrangements for the children’s care and upbringing.

In JP v LP & Ors [2014] EWHC 595 (Fam),acting for the intended biological father in a high profile complex UK straight surrogacy dispute with his wife (who was neither a genetic nor a birth mother) and the surrogate (who was a genetic mother) following marriage breakdown and divorce and the surrogate (a close friend). This case established for the first time a legal framework for cases where the legal criteria for a parental order cannot be met, including wardship, and featured in The Telegraph, BBC News and Mail Online (6 March 2014).

News and Commentary

Click here to read more about our media and commentary work in relation to family and fertility law, policy and practice.

“Our Father, DNA testing & what do we mean by ‘parentage’? (by Louisa Ghevaert for Fertility Help Hub, a fertility lifestyle platform, 24 August 2022).

“Sperm Donor Dispute: Parental Responsibility, Child Arrangements Orders and Fragile X Syndrome” (Louisa Ghevaert Associates’ blog, 7 June 2022).

“Changes to Egg and Sperm Donor Anonymity Law in the UK”, Louisa Ghevaert Associates’ blog (24 May 2022).

“Netflix’s Our Father: DNA testing, paternity disputes and questions about biological and legal parentage”, Louisa Ghevaert Associates blog, (16 May 2022).

“International surrogacy law: existing conflicts unresolved” (BioNews, comment piece by Louisa Ghevaert, 14 March 2022).

“Declaration of Parentage: resolving family ancestry, questions about parentage and birth certificates”, Louisa Ghevaert Associates blog (30 November 2021).

“The global legal identity gap”, Louisa Ghevaert Associates blog (21 August 2020).

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