Gay father and lesbian couple in custody battle

Two children are at the centre of a tug-of-war between a homosexual father and a lesbian mother in a legal case that highlights the pitfalls of artificial insemination.

The children’s mother and her lesbian civil partner appeared in the Court of Appeal yesterday to challenge a decision that ordered the children to spend almost half the year with their father – a homosexual.

The children were conceived through artificial insemination, but the court heard that the father was more than just a sperm donor.


The lesbian couple claim that they are the main carers and that the children should live with them, with more limited contact with their father.

But the father disputes this. In 1999 the man, who is now 51-years-old, placed an advert in a prominent homosexual magazine saying that he wanted to be a father.

And yesterday Alex Verdan QC, the father’s barrister, argued that his client had always been clear that he wanted to be involved in the children’s lives and upbringing.


The lesbian couple replied to his advert and two children, who are now aged nine and seven, were conceived through artificial insemination.

But since then the father has been accused of trying to marginalise the mother’s lesbian partner.

Family campaigners have warned that the case highlights the damage that can be done to children conceived through artificial insemination.


Norman Wells, director of the Family Education Trust, said: “It’s always a recipe for disaster to try and create children to order by artificial means to satisfy the desires of natural parents who are unrelated and lack a shared commitment to parenting.”

Last November a senior Government parenting adviser claimed that lesbians made better parents than heterosexual couples.


But critics hit back and said that children need fathers. They also pointed to a wealth of studies which said children do best when raised by their married biological parents.