New mum cannot be listed as ‘father’, Court of Appeal rules

A woman who lives as if she is a man cannot be recorded as the father on her child’s birth certificate, the Court of Appeal has ruled.

The three judges upheld the High Court’s ruling from September, saying that the law requires those who give birth to be listed as mothers.

The baby would have been the first in Britain not to have a registered mother if the legal challenge had been successful.


The woman, known now as Freddy McConnell, gave birth in 2018.

After ‘transitioning’, McConnell retained her female reproductive organs and conceived via donated sperm and IVF.

She challenged the Government when she was not permitted to list her relationship to the child as “father” on the birth certificate.

But Lord Burnett said gender recognition law has not “decoupled the concept of mother from gender” and that “no-one else has that automatic parental responsibility, including the father”.


During the case, the Government argued that McConnell’s child has the “right to know the identity of the person who carried him or her”.

The judges said the original ruling did not violate McConnell’s human rights, adding that any change to the law would be a matter for Parliament to decide.

Lord Burnett denied McConnell permission to appeal to the Supreme Court, but she said she still intends to do so.


In September, the President of the High Court’s Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, ruled that anyone who gives birth to a child is a mother.

Judge McFarlane said: “It is now medically and legally possible for an individual, whose gender is recognised in law as male, to become pregnant and give birth to their child.”

But he added that: “Whilst that person’s gender is ‘male’”, their parental status “is that of ‘mother’”.

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