Posted on 03/07/2017 in Reproductive Medicine and Law

Legal Issues for Gay and Lesbian Adoption

Legal Issues for Gay and Lesbian Adoption

Since late 1970s, lesbians and gay couples started giving birth to and adopting children in same–sex marriage and relationship with the use of fertility assisted technologies like IVF. Same sex couples face a lot of legal issues when they plan to build a family with children. The rule that guides gay and lesbian adoption varies from state to state. Also, when a child is born into a gay or lesbian family, there are complexities of rules to follow regarding the parenthood, especially if the partners are not married.

However, because of the increasing need for adoptive homes and the increasing numbers of same-sex couples wanting to adopt, there has been a spectacular decline in anti-gay discrimination among adoption agencies and courts.

Gay and Lesbian Adoption

Rearing a child is one of a major life decision to take. So, if you plan to rear a child as a gay or lesbian couple, it is significant you know all the legal requirements before you make decision. There are a lot of gay and lesbian parenting groups in various mega cities within the country. Most of them offer advice to lesbian and gay couples planning to build family of their own. The National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders can also provide you with the needed counsel.

Lesbian adoption

Gay and lesbian couples are trying more and more to bring children into their relationship and home through pregnancy and birth. A lesbian couple would normally find a male sperm donor or visit a sperm bank for sperm that would fertilize the egg. One of the lesbian couple is made pregnant with the donor sperm. The other partner becomes a legal second parent through stepparent or second parent adoption although this type of adoption is not allowed in all the states.

Gay Adoption

Gay men or couples also become legal parents and bring a child into their home in the same manner as the lesbian couples. However, for gay men to achieve this, they need to go through surrogacy arrangement. One of the men donates sperm which is used to fertilize the surrogate mother’s egg during IUI procedure in traditional surrogacy while one of them provides the sperm which is used to fertilize the donor egg in gestational surrogacy arrangement.

Types of Gay and lesbian adoption

Adoption laws differ from state to state and there are a few states that do not allow lesbian and gay adoption as legally joint parents.

Single parent or individual adoption

To adopt in these states, gay and lesbian couples should consider adopting individually or going for international adoption.

Second parent adoption

Apart from individual adoptions, gay and lesbian couples can also go for second-parent adoptions and joint-parenthood adoptions. Second-parent adoptions allow a same-sex partner to adopt her or his partner’s biological or adoptive child without annulling the right of the first legal parent to the child.

One of the first second-parent adoptions conducted in the US took place in Alaska. The judge granted to the mother’s partner a right to the second parent without annulling the parental rights of the biological father of the child.

Second-parent adoptions provide legal security to children of same-sex parents. Such children are entitled to financial benefits. The adoption also provides them with inheritance rights, Social Security benefits, health insurance cover and child’s support.

Second parent adoptions safeguard the rights of the same-sex parent who is not the biological parent of the child. This is significant in the event that the couples eventually separate, and when the biological or the main adoptive parent dies, is debilitated or is imprisoned.

In a lot of states, stepparent, second parent or joint gay and lesbian adoption are not allowed. In Florida, for instance, homosexuals are not allowed to adopt a child. Second-parent adoption is also not allowed in Florida.

In states where same-sex marriage or complete domestic partnerships or civil union are allowed, Gay and lesbian couples are allowed to use the stepparent adoption process the same way as married heterogeneous couples. Domestic partner and civil union adoptions also are allowed to do second-parent adoption, but the process is frequently quicker and less expensive than second parent adoptions.

Joint parenthood adoption

Joint adoptions allow the two same sex partners to co-jointly adopt a child.

In states where second-parent adoptions are not allowed, same-sex couples are advised to prepare backup documentation to make sure that their parent-child relationship will be made legal. Some of the required documents are shared or joint-parenting agreement, a choice of the child’s guardian and powers of attorney.

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