If you are a transgender parent, you may want to understand how any change in your legal gender will affect your legal status as your child's parent. If you are conceiving a child, you may also want to understand whether your gender identity can be appropriately reflected on his or her birth certificate i.e. whether you will be recorded as your child's mother, father or parent. UK law does not address all these issues fully and, at least at present, this may mean that you do not have the correct parental title.
The simple answer to this is yes. Section 12 of the Gender Recognition Act states: The fact that a person's gender has become the acquired gender under this Act does not affect the status of the person as the mother or father of a child.
This was intended to protect the existing legal parenthood of trans parents who have children before they change legal gender. It means that you will remain your children's legal father if you become legally female, and you will remain your children's legal mother if you become legally male. It is not possible, under the current law, for your children's birth certificates to be reissued with your new name or gender identity.
That may not reflect your preference in terms of how you identify your name and relationship with your child, but you will not lose any legal status or rights in respect of your children as a result of changing your legal gender.
There is no clear provision for transgender parents who conceive after having transitioned. Our view is that section 12 also applies to parents who conceive after a gender transition, enabling you to claim the parenthood status you would have had under your previous gender. In other words, if you give birth you can claim to legally be a 'mother' (even if you are a man), and if you provide your sperm you can claim to legally be a 'father' (even if you are a woman). Although this interpretation of the law is not legally tested in the family court, we know that the UK Home Office accepts it in respect of recognising British nationality.
If your child is conceived artificially (through IVF, artificial insemination or surrogacy) then there are specific statutory rules on legal parenthood, and these may give you the opportunity of a different parental title. For example:
We think there should be more flexibility in the law to allow your identity as your child's mother, father or parent to be properly recognised and recorded on legal documents, such as your child's birth certificate. We hope that this will be taken into account as part of any review of the UK's gender recognition laws.
Have we answered your question? Would you like advice on your personal circumstances?
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