UK Court of Appeal prioritises the interests of the child when considering parenting arrangements with sperm donors

On 14th March 2012, in A-v-B and C, a case concerning the parenting arrangements for a lesbian couple and a known sperm donor, the UK Court of Appeal found that the child’s interests should be placed first. A, the sperm donor and friend of the lesbian couple B and C, initially brought the case as he sought more contact with the child. The couple had agreed with A that he would have a minimal role in the child’s life following his birth to B. In order to appease B’s family, who was not accepting of her sexual orientation, A and B were married. They did not intend to cohabit, and B and C were agreed to be the primary caregivers. The court order stated that A’s involvement with the child would be—and would remain—secondary. He chose to appeal because if his role remained secondary, this could prevent more frequent contact in the future. The Court relied on Section 1(3) of the Children Act 1989 as a framework for informing the decision, but determined that it was a fact-specific case where generalised guidance would not be possible. The Court emphasised that the child’s welfare should be prioritised over that of the adults involved.





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