A recent change in UK law means that women in same-sex relationships can now register both their names on the birth certificate of a child conceived as a result of fertility treatment.
Instead of the usual allocation of one mother and one father, one would suppose that the child would therefore have two mothers in the sight of the law. However, this will not be the case: a birth certificate will be used which, instead of having a ‘mother’ and a ‘father’ section, with have two ‘parent’ sections.
Nearly two years ago, Right Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, Bishop of Rochester, spoke out against plans to make IVF treatment available to single women and lesbians:-
Children need parents of both genders. Particularly, boys need fathers for the sake of security, identity and masculinity and relating to people of the same sex and the other sex. Having a child is not a right. What we have to do is consider the welfare of the child.
This statement prompted one critic, Jess Wood, to respond:-
If the Bishop of Rochester was a woman I don’t think he would make such an insensitive statement. Most women want to be mothers and lesbians are no different from any other woman.
With Bishop Nazir-Ali, I think we have to agree that the absence of fathers has a huge effect on social dysfunction. This is not to ignore the immense courage of single mothers who strive to bring up children alone, but become a single parent through force of circumstance is very different to deliberately setting out policy where the intention is to bring children into the world without a father in sight.