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(Family Division; Hedley J; 9 August 2007)
In a case in which a child had been born to lesbian civil partners using sperm from a donor who was the brother of one of the women, the court refused the father a parental responsibility order, but ordered contact four times a year, at least three of which were to be individual to the father and child rather than general family gatherings, on neutral territory, each to last for about 2 hours. The purpose of the contact was not to allow the development of a parental relationship and the father was not to seek to advance his paternal status during such contact; such a relationship would threaten the civil partners and would not be consistent with their autonomy as a nuclear family. The contact was intended to allow the child to picture the father as someone significant but not ordinarily important in his life, whom he could question to satisfy his own natural curiosity about the kind of man who had enabled him to be. A s 91(14) order was made for 5 years to give the family an extensive break from litigation.
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