Uk Child Law And Parental Responsibility

5094 words - 20 pages

In principle, the legal father of a child is the person who provides the sperm which leads to conception . Under s. 28 (2) of Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, the husband of a woman who is artificially inseminated is treated as the father of the child, unless it is proved that he did not consent to the treatment. Thus, in Re CH (Contact: Parentage) , a married couple tried unsuccessfully to have a child. They received fertility treatment together; and were eventually advised that AID would be the most appropriate procedure. After the marriage broke down, the mother sought to deny the husband contact, arguing that he was not the child's biological father. Judge Callman refused to accept this.The Act also contains a provision which equates the position of a couple living together in a stable relationship outside marriage with that of a married couple. It is provided that where a sperm has been used "in the course of treatment services" provided for a man and a woman "together" under a licensing procedure established by the HF & EA 1990 then the man is treated as the child's father (HF & EA 1990, s.28 (3)). The real issue is whether the couple has embarked on a joint enterprise with the object that the woman should conceive and bear a child. Thus, in Re B (Parentage) , a man gave a sperm on the occasion of a visit to a hospital together with the mother. It was held that he and the mother had received treatment together. On the facts of the case, Barbie and Ken are in a stable relationship. Provided that the clinic, where the AID treatment took place, was licensed and that the couple sought the AID together (Ken consented to the AID), then Ken would be regarded as the legal father of Seth. The anonymous donor, despite being the genetic father, does not have this legal status .Under s. 20 (1) of the Family Law Reform Act 1969, the court in any civil proceedings in which parentage is in question may on application by a party to those proceedings, or of its own motion, direct the use of scientific tests (blood testing and DNA profiling). .A direction will usually be made as the court generally takes the view that a child has a right to know the truth about his parents. In Re H. (Paternity: Blood Test) it was said that the child had a right to know that there were doubts about his paternity; the sooner the child was told the better. However the court may decide not to order a blood test where it will disturb the stability of the child's family unit. In Re F (A minor) (Blood Tests: Parental Rights) , the Court of Appeal refused to order a blood test, as it would destabilize the child.In the present case the court may direct scientific tests to be taken to establish Seth's paternity. If it is found that Malcolm is Seth's father, which means that he provided the sperm which led to conception, then Malcolm will be the legal father of Seth.Parental responsibility is defined by s.3 (1) of the Children Act 1989 . The nature and scope of...

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