HC Deb 10 January 2000 vol 342 cc21-2W
Ms Shipley

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will take steps to amend the law relating to the registration of births of children conceived after the father's death; and if he will make a statement. [100620]

Yvette Cooper

I have been asked to reply.

The question as to whether a man can be named on a birth certificate as the father of a child conceived after the man's death is governed by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990. Among other things the Act provides that where the sperm of a man, or any embryo the creation of which was brought about with his sperm, was used after his death, he is not to be treated as the father of the child".

The legal status of children conceived using posthumous insemination was one of the issues considered by Professor Sheila McLean in the course of her "Review of the Common Law Provisions Relating to the Removal of Gametes and of the Consent Provisions in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990". Professor McLean recommended that consideration should be given to an amendment to the 1990 Act which would, in effect, permit the child to have a "legal" father where his sperm was used posthumously.

Professor McLean reported to Ministers in 1998 and we have since conducted a public consultation on the recommendations made in her report. We expect to be able to respond shortly to Professor McLean's recommendations, including our views on any possible amendments to the 1990 Act.