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Polyamorous ‘throuples’ are offered IVF through UK clinics

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Polyamorous ‘throuples’ who want to start a family with three parents are offered IVF through UK clinics

  • Parents can benefit from IVF because it allows a baby to have two mothers
  • Care Fertility says a woman can deliver an egg fertilized by a man’s sperm
  • The embryo can be placed in another woman who carries the baby and gives birth
  • Lawyers say when relationships end, custody issues can arise

Polyamorous ‘throuples’ are offered IVF in clinics.

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), which now provides both fertility treatment and termination of pregnancy, says it is being approached by people who want to start a family with three parents.

Care Fertility, one of the UK’s largest IVF providers, is also happy to help.

Expectant parents may benefit from IVF, rather than getting pregnant naturally, as it technically allows a baby to have two mothers.

Care Fertility says that a woman can deliver an egg, fertilized by a man’s sperm, so that she is the biological mother of the baby.

In a clinic, the embryo can be placed in a second woman, who carries and gives birth to the baby, thus becoming the legal mother of the child.

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) says it is being approached by people looking to start a family with three parents (stock image)

Another option, Care says, is for a child to have a biological father, who provides their sperm as a donor through a fertility clinic, and a separate legal father, who is named on the birth certificate.

However, lawyers say that when relationships end, custody issues can arise. Victoria Maxwell, family and fertility law specialist at Bishop & Sewell, said: ‘We often help in disputes where two people disagree on decisions about how to raise a child.

“That’s hard enough—three people would create a whole host of problems. People in a polyamorous relationship who want to undergo IVF should also keep in mind that only one or two parents can be recognized as legal parents of a child.

“While courts can give different orders about who a child should live or spend time with, it is unlikely that someone in a polyamorous relationship will have a satisfactory outcome.”

BPAS Fertility brought up the topic of polyamorous parents at a meeting of the Progress Educational Trust, an infertility charity.

Marta Jansa Perez, director of embryology at the trust, said: “The meaning of a ‘partner’ needs to be reconsidered. We have patients who come to us in polyamorous relationships – how do we deal with the well-being of the child through that patient group?’

Expectant parents may benefit from IVF, rather than getting pregnant naturally, as it technically allows a baby to have two mothers (stock image)

Expectant parents may benefit from IVF, rather than getting pregnant naturally, as it technically allows a baby to have two mothers (stock image)

YouGov figures suggest that only about 2 percent of Britons are or have been in a relationship with two partners at the same time.

In Canada last year, three fathers won the right to have their name put on a birth certificate, but that is not allowed in the UK.

BPAS Fertility has not yet treated people in polyamorous relationships, but said it would consider doing so on a case-by-case basis.

dr. Jansa Perez wants the fertility regulator to reconsider its guidelines for “patients” and “partners” and a change in the fertility law, regulated by the Human Fertilization and Embryology Act.

She said: “We have received inquiries from individuals who are in a relationship that is not reflected in the language of the law.”

Clare Ettinghausen, of the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority, said it was looking at the law ‘to see how it could be more relevant to the reality of fertility treatments for patients in the UK today’.

dr. Debra Bloor, of Care Fertility, said: ‘We firmly believe that family is for everyone and we are committed to supporting those who seek our help. This also applies to women who are in a relationship with a partner who does not intend to be involved in their treatment or the education of a future child, and women who are in open or polyamorous relationships.’

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