Peers vote to sideline role of fathers for IVF children

On 21 January Peers voted in favour of a change in the law which undermines the importance of the father to a child born after in-vitro fertilisation.

The law currently refers explicitly to a child’s ‘need for a father’, which doctors must consider before providing fertility treatment.

But the Government proposes to replace this with a reference to ‘the need for supportive parenting’ in order to give lesbians and single women easier access to IVF.

An amendment tabled by Baroness Deech to block the change and retain the requirement was defeated by 164 votes to 93.

To see how Peers voted on the amendment, click here.

During the debate, Baroness Deech told the House of Lords: “Keeping the requirement to have regard to the child’s need for mothers and fathers is an important case of non-discrimination. It is about upholding parenting and equal respect for both sexes in their roles.

“It is about avoiding the risk I have referred to on earlier occasions in this debate that scientific advances in fertility may dehumanise in particular fathers, who are reduced to mere sperm donors and who, having done their job, can go away with no regard to their vital importance in children’s welfare.”

Related Resources