Journal Article

One, Two or Three Parents? Lesbian Co-Mothers and a Known Donor with ‘Family Life’ under Dutch Law

Machteld Vonk

in International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family

Volume 18, issue 1, pages 103-117
Published in print April 2004 | ISSN: 1360-9939
Published online April 2004 | e-ISSN: 1464-3707 | DOI:
One, Two or Three Parents? Lesbian Co-Mothers and a Known Donor with ‘Family Life’ under Dutch Law

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In recent years much attention has been paid to the equal treatment of same-sex couples in the Netherlands. This led to the introduction of registered partnerships in 1998 and culminated in the opening of marriage to same-sex couples on 1 April 2001. But what of the children being raised or growing up in these registered partnerships and marriages? How much attention has been paid to their rights to equal treatment? Since 1998 the Dutch government has taken a number of measures to give more legal protection to same-sex families and their children. However, the regulations introduced for this purpose turn out to be rather incoherent and do not yet guarantee full equality, in particular for the children concerned. This article discusses the problems that may occur in practice and suggests possible solutions in the context of a specific case that recently came before the Dutch courts which concerned a lesbian couple who had met a man willing to donate his sperm, on the condition that he could be involved in the child's life in the background and be known as the child’s father. The dispute centred on the question of which two of these three adults were entitled to become the legal parents of the child.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Family Law ; Marriage and the Family

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