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Modern Families: Should Children Be Able to Have More than Two Parents Recorded on Their Birth Certificates?

Victoria University Law and Justice Journal (2015) 5 (1)

Monash University Faculty of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2016/5

15 Pages Posted: 3 May 2016 Last revised: 7 Dec 2016

Paula Gerber

Monash University - Faculty of Law

Phoebe Irving Lindner

Monash Univeristy

Date Written: 2015

Abstract

Same-sex couples are becoming parents in increasing numbers through the use of IVF and alternative insemination, and to a lesser degree through surrogacy and adoption. Often, these couples form their families using a sperm or egg donor whom they know, and with whom they have agreed will also be a parent to the child. In these circumstances, children may have more than two people who are their parents. Birth certificates have not kept pace with these changes in family structures. Although every Australian state and territory allows children with two lesbian mothers to have both mothers registered on their birth certificates, there is no provision allowing for more than two parents to be recorded. This article analyses the purpose of birth certificates, and the domestic and international law relating to these important documents. It considers what other countries are doing to ensure that children in same-sex families can have all their parents recorded on their birth certificates, and concludes with recommendations about how Australia should modernise its birth certificates to allow for the recording of up to four parents.

Keywords: same-sex families, same-sex parents, children's rights, birth certificates, LGBT, Convention on the Rights of the Child

JEL Classification: K100, K10, K19

Suggested Citation

Gerber, Paula and Lindner, Phoebe Irving, Modern Families: Should Children Be Able to Have More than Two Parents Recorded on Their Birth Certificates? (2015). Victoria University Law and Justice Journal (2015) 5 (1); Monash University Faculty of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2016/5. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2774018

Paula Gerber (Contact Author)

Monash University - Faculty of Law ( email )

Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3800
Australia

Phoebe Lindner

Monash Univeristy ( email )

Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3800
Australia

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