The reforms that came into effect in 2008 and 2009 meant that both mothers are now recognised as their children’s legal parents – you are legally obliged to provide your information to Births, Deaths and Marriages, just like any other parents.
For births that after 1 January 2010, lesbian couples can both be on their child’s birth certificate; the birth mother as ‘mother’ and the non-birth mother as ‘parent’. To do so, they must complete a Birth Registration Statement (BRS). The hospital, medical facility or midwife will give you the BRS when your child is born. Children born to lesbian couples before 1 January 2010 can have their birth certificates corrected to add the non-birth mother; read Recognising pre-existing families for information.
A guiding principle of Victorian law is that children conceived through donation in Victoria have the right to know their donor origins when they reach the age of 18, or before with parental permission or if found sufficiently mature by a counsellor. Historically, parents in rainbow families have tended to be much more open about their children’s donor origins than heterosexual parents. After all, same-sex couples and sole parents clearly require some assistance to conceive their children!
The Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (BDM) is responsible for managing information about children’s births and donors. For children conceived using Victorian fertility services, BDM receives their donor information from the doctor or clinic, and stored it in the Central Donor Registry. Those who conceive via home insemination must give BDM this information themselves – the parents through the BRS and the donor through a letter. This information is entered into the child’s birth record at BDM (but is not listed on the birth certificate). Read Donor information and registers for more about what is required, and who can have access to donor information.