Two lesbians have become the nation’s first homosexual couple to jointly sign a child’s birth certificate as parents.
But critics are concerned that the move has more to do with the rights of adults rather than the best interests of children.
Until recently birth certificates have recorded the names of a child’s biological mother and father, but now a new law permits two same-sex parents to be named.
Natalie Woods and Elizabeth Knowles jointly signed the birth certificate at Brighton Register Office after Miss Woods conceived via a sperm donor.
Critics have expressed alarm at birth certificates being tailored in such a way.
Baroness Deech, the chair of the Bar Standards Board which regulates barristers in England and Wales, warned that such birth certificates could undermine the child’s right to understand their identity.
Speaking last month Lady Deech insisted: “There is an issue of principle here, which is the truth”.
She added: “It puts the demands of the adults ahead of the rights of children to know and benefit from both sides of their genetic makeup.
“This is not a moral issue; it is about disguising true facts, and it is about confusing biological parenthood, legal and social parenthood.”
And Josephine Quintavalle, from the campaign group Comment on Reproductive Ethics, said: “Birth certificates should reflect how a baby is generated.
“In a culture that is obsessed with genetics, it is strange that when it comes to birth certificates we are prepared to forget all that.
“As much as you try to play around with the terminology, the biology reflects what has happened and one day the child will ask about their father.”
The 2008 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act allows homosexual couples to be jointly named on birth certificates.
Miss Woods, a homosexual activist, and Miss Knowles have described the signing as “quite a milestone”.
Last November the Government backtracked on plans to force single mothers to name the father of their baby on birth certificates.
And in December it was revealed that the Irish Government was working on allowing transsexuals to change their sex on their birth certificate.