The changing face of same sex marriage, parentage and IVF rights
Same-sex marriage around the world
The Finnish LGBT community is celebrating the news that on the March 1st Finland started to allow same sex couples to wed. Finland is now the 24th nation in the world to legalise gay marriage and is the last of the Nordic countries to grant same sex marriage rights, nearby Denmark being the first in the world to do so back in 1989.
While Denmark may have been the first, their move has been followed around the world. Britain is one of the 24 countries that have opened up marriage to same sex couples, although some regions such as Northern Ireland are still to grant these rights. This is despite the fact that Northern Ireland is in the top five English regions and UK Countries by gay, lesbian and bisexual population (2015). For the record, London has the highest LGB population at 2.6%. It is believed that the percentage is higher in London due to London’s younger age structure and ethnic diversity.
The push for greater marriage rights for same sex couples has in many countries been accompanied by increased parentage rights. For example in 2009, Britain changed the laws on rights for same sex female couples. Women in civil partnerships or marriage who conceive at a licensed fertility clinic or at home ensure that the non-birthing mother is the second legal parent. Non-birthing mothers in a couple that are not in a civil partnership or marriage just have to complete a simple form to be a legal parent, although the conception must take place in a licensed clinic and not at home (in both cases the donor has no legal parenthood status).
Fertility treatment as a same-sex couple
Of course such changes to rights are hard won, and while in cities such as London it is unlikely same sex couples will have difficulty accessing fertility services, this is not the same across the UK. Only recently (2nd March 2017) a lesbian couple claimed that they were denied fertility treatment by the NHS in Ulster due to their sexuality.