Feminist Legal Studies

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 227–251 | Cite as

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



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.


Australia Gay and lesbian families Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act Intentional parenting Parental responsibility Parenthood 



I am grateful to the anonymous referees and the Editorial Board of Feminist Legal Studies for their suggestions for improvement. Many thanks also to the organisers of the HFEA Workshop, Keele University, 30 March 2009, where an early version of this paper was presented.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of LawUniversity of ReadingReadingUK

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