Australian birth certificates: can my kid have two mums?

In the last few years there have been significant changes to laws relating to birth certificates and presumption of parentage.

Fortunately, all Australian states and territories now allow both women in a de facto relationship to be listed on their child’s birth certificate – if that child was conceived via artificial insemination or IVF.

However, the laws are slightly different from state to state making things a bit complicated; scroll down to your state and find out the key information as it applies to you:

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

Under section 11 of the Parentage Acttwo woman in a domestic partnership are presumed to be the parents of a child conceived using donor sperm, if the non-carrying partner agreed to the procedure. 

Additionally, the child is presumed not to be the child of the sperm donor.

This presumption applies a procedure involving:

(a) artificial insemination; or
(b) the procedure of transferring into the uterus of a person an embryo derived from an ovum fertilised outside the person’s body; or
(c) any other way (whether medically assisted or not) by which a person can become pregnant other than by having sexual intercourse with a person.

Under section 14 of the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act, both parents may be listed on the birth certificate, but a not a sperm donor.

New South Wales (NSW)

Under section 14 of the Status of Children Act two woman in a de facto relationship are presumed to be the parents of a child conceived using donor sperm, if the non-carrying partner consented to the fertilisation procedure. 

Additionally, the child is presumed not to be the child of the sperm donor.

This presumption applies to children conceived by a ‘fertilisation procedure’, which means:

(a) the artificial insemination of a woman, or
(b)  the procedure of transferring to a woman’s body an ovum (whether or not produced by her) fertilised outside her body, or
(c)  the procedure of transferring to a woman’s body an ovum (whether or not produced by her) or both the ovum and sperm to enable fertilisation of the ovum to occur in her body

Both female parents may be listed on the birth certificate, but not the sperm donor.

A birth registration statement (a legal document given by the parents to register the child’s birth) may include a declaration that the child was conceived using donor sperm (see section 22A of the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act).

Queensland (QLD)

Under sections 19C and 19D of the  Status of Children Act two woman in a de facto relationship or civil partnership are presumed to be the parents of a child conceived using donor sperm, if the non-carrying partner consented to the procedure. 

Additionally, the sperm donor has no rights or liabilities relating to the child.

This presumption applies to children conceived by:

  • artificial insemination; or
  • implanting an embryo or ovum in a person’s womb.

Both female parents may be listed on the birth certificate.

Victoria (VIC)

Under section 13 of the  Status of Children Act two woman in a relationship are presumed to be the parents of a child conceived using donor sperm, if the non-carrying partner consented to the procedure. 

Additionally, the sperm donor is presumed not to be the father of the child.

This presumption applies to children conceived by:

assisted reproductive treatment; or
artificial insemination. 

Both female parents may be listed on the birth certificate, but not the sperm donor.

A birth registration statement (a legal document given by the parents to register the child’s birth) may include a declaration that the child was conceived using donor sperm (see section 17A of the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act).

Tasmania (TAS)

Under section 10C of the  Status of Children Act two woman in a significant relationship are presumed to be the parents of a child conceived using donor sperm, if the non-carrying partner consented to the procedure. 

Additionally, the sperm donor is presumed not to be the father of the child.

This presumption applies to children conceived by a fertilization procedure, which means:

artificial insemination; or
the procedure of implanting in the uterus of a woman an embryo derived from an ovum fertilized outside the body (IVF).

Tasmanian legislation does not prevent two women from being listed on a birth certificate. However, unlike many other states and territories, the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act uses the terms ‘mother’ and ‘father’. Tasmanian same-sex attracted couples may have more difficulty registering the birth of their child, than couples in other states and territories.

South Australia (SA)

Under section 10C of the Family Relationships Act two woman in a ‘marriage-like’ relationship are presumed to be the parents of a child conceived using donor sperm, if the non-carrying partner consented to the procedure. 

Additionally, the sperm donor is presumed not to be the father of the child.

This presumption applies to children conceived by a fertilisation procedure, which means:

assisted insemination; or
assisted reproductive treatment.

In South Australia, the birth registration statement (a legal document given by the parents to register the child’s birth) must include the details of the biological parents , which means the person who carried the child and the sperm donor (see section 14 of the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act) . However, this requirement does not mean the sperm donor is legally recognised as a father, or will be listed on the birth certificate.

Northern Territory (NT)

Under section 5DA of the Status of Children Act two woman in a de facto relationship are presumed to be the parents of a child conceived using donor sperm, if the non-carrying partner consented to the procedure. 

Additionally, the sperm donor has no right or liabilities in respect of the child.

This presumption applies to children conceived by a fertilization procedure, which means:

artificial insemination; or
a procedure in which a fertilized ovum is transferred into the uterus (even if the ovum was produced by another woman).

Both female parents may be listed on the birth certificate, but not the sperm donor (see Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act)

Western Australia (WA)

Under section 6A of the Artificial Conception Act two woman in a de facto relationship are presumed to be the parents of a child conceived using donor sperm, if the non-carrying partner consented to the procedure. 

Additionally, the sperm donor is presumed not to be the father or have caused the pregnancy.

This presumption applies to children conceived by an artificial fertilisation procedure.

Both female parents may be listed on the birth certificate, but not the sperm donor (see Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act)

Final takeaways

This information is a handy fact-sheet, not legal advice. The law, especially family law, changes quite rapidly so please visit a lawyer to get detailed information relating to your circumstances.