Skip to main content

LGBT paths to parenthood - Healthy body

The number of LGBT people becoming parents is increasing.

If you're thinking about having children, here's an overview of the various routes to parenthood available to you.

Donor insemination

This is where donated sperm is put inside the person who is going to carry the baby. This person can be single or in a relationship.

Donor insemination can be performed at home using sperm from a friend or an anonymous donor, or at a fertility clinic using an anonymous donor.

If you decide to look for donor insemination, it's better to go to a licensed clinic where the sperm is screened. This ensures that the sperm is free from sexually transmitted infections and certain genetic disorders. Fertility clinics also have support and legal advice on hand.

Lesbian couples who are civil partners at the time of conception and conceive a child through donor insemination – either at a licensed clinic or by private arrangement at home – are both treated as their child's legal parents.

Couples who are not civil partners at the time of conception but who conceive through donor insemination at a licensed clinic will also be treated as their child's legal parents.

But when non-civil partners conceive through donor insemination by private arrangement at home, the non-birth mother has no legal parenthood and will have to adopt the child to obtain parental rights.

For more information:

Co-parenting

This is when 2 or more people team up to conceive and parent children together. Co-parenting arrangements can be made between 2 single people, a single person and a couple, or 2 couples.

As a co-parent, you will not have sole custody of the child. It's advisable to get legal advice at an early stage of your planning.

There are many details to be worked out, such as what role each parent will take, how financial costs will be split, and the degree of involvement each will have with the child.

For more information, read about co-parenting on the Stonewall website.

Adoption or fostering for LGBT couples

LGBT couples in the UK can adopt or foster a child together. You can apply to adopt or foster through a local authority, or an adoption or foster agency. You do not have to live in the local authority you apply to.

You will have to complete an assessment to become an adoptive or foster parent, with the help of a social worker and preparation training.

For more information, visit New Family Social, the charity for LGBT adoptive and foster parents.

Find out more about adopting a child.

If you feel ready to adopt, find an adoption agency near you using the First4Adoption agency finder.

Surrogacy

Surrogacy is when someone has a baby for a couple who cannot have a child themselves. For the intended father, surrogacy can be a route to having a child biologically related to them.

Surrogacy is legal in the UK, but it's illegal to advertise for surrogates. No financial benefit other than reasonable expenses can be paid to the surrogate.

The baby is not legally yours until a parental order has been issued after the child's birth. Until this order is issued the surrogate has the right to keep the baby.

For more information:

Trans and non-binary parents

When it comes to adoption and fostering, trans people have the same rights as anyone else who wants to be a parent.

If you're considering starting treatment to physically alter your body or you've already started treatment, find out about the options for preserving your fertility from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.

Page last reviewed: 4 May 2020
Next review due: 4 May 2023