Co-motherhood

Co-motherhood can be established only if two women have a child together through assisted reproduction

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Registered co-motherhood gives both the child and the co-mother a number of rights and obligations.

Co-motherhood means, amongst other things:

  • that the co-mother has an obligation to support her child
  • that the child and the co-mother have the right to inherit from one another
  • that the co-mother may have contact with her child
  • that the co-mother may share custody
  • that the child may take the co-mother's surname
  • that the child may obtain the same nationality as the co-mother, where the conditions are satisfied.

When co-motherhood is established, it cannot normally be changed.

Co-motherhood can be established only if two women have a child together through assisted reproduction (formerly known as artificial insemination). Pregnancy by any other means is not valid if a woman is to have co-motherhood. The rules also mean that where two women have a child together through assisted reproduction, the woman who is not the child's mother automatically becomes the child's co-mother.

When establishing co-motherhood, the procedure must begin before the treatment with assisted reproduction itself. By law, the treatment must also be carried out by a health professional or with a health professional having responsibility. It is irrelevant whether the treatment takes place within the private or the public sector, but it must be carried out in accordance with the rules laid down in the law on assisted reproduction.

Before pre-treatment with assisted reproduction begins, you must agree to the treatment and give your written consent. This is very important since otherwise later, when the child is born, problems may arise with registering co-motherhood of the child.

Before pre-treatment with assisted reproduction begins, you must agree to the treatment and give your written consent. This is very important since otherwise later, when the child is born, problems may arise with registering co-motherhood of the child.

If the donor is anonymous, you must complete the form ‘Consent and declaration of fatherhood or co-motherhood in assisted reproduction’ (Paragraphs 27 and 27 b of the Law on children), also known as form 8.

If the donor is known, you must complete the form ‘Consent and declaration of fatherhood or co-motherhood in assisted reproduction’ (Paragraphs 27 a(1) and (2) of the Law on children), also known as form 9. In the form you must state whether it is the donor who is to be the child’s father or whether it is the mother's partner who is to be the co-mother.

Regardless of which form you complete, it must be handed over to the healthcare staff at the healthcare establishment, who are to sign it and issue you with a copy.

If you are not married, you must complete and sign a declaration of care and responsibility in relation to co-motherhood as soon as the child is born. It must be completed and submitted digitally to the Agency of Family Law, together with the copy of your declaration of consent. You can also complete and send both the declaration of consent and the declaration of care and responsibility to the Agency of Family Law during pregnancy. If you do so, you must contact the parish as soon as possible after the child's birth to register co-motherhood.

Where co-motherhood is established in this way, you simultaneously gain joint custody of your child.

If the fatherhood or co-motherhood case is processed by the Agency of Family Law, the mother is obliged to state who the child's other parent is or may be.

On that form you may provide, as the mother, your information for the fatherhood or co-motherhood case.

The form may also be used in cases where the mother has been treated by assisted reproduction. 

Start Acknowledgement of co-motherhood

You may submit acknowledgement of co-motherhood in respect of your child. 

You must use this form if the mother was married or in a registered partnership with another person without being separated in the 10 months preceding the birth of the child.

Start Contesting registered fatherhood or co-motherhood

Even if co-motherhood has been established, the mother, father, co-mother or guardian of the child may, up to six months after the child's birth, challenge the registration of co-motherhood and request that the case been re-considered.

Start Resumption of fatherhood or co-motherhood case

In certain cases, a co-motherhood case may be resumed even if more than six months have passed since the child was born. It is a requirement that another possible father or co-mother must be informed in connection with the resumption.

If co-motherhood was registered previously or established by a court judgment, and the mother, the child or the child's guardian and the two women who were previously deemed to be the co-mothers agree that the case should be resumed, the Agency of Family Law may determine whether the case can be resumed. Resumption may only occur if it is reasonably claimed that a particular man could be the child's father or a particular woman could be the child's co-mother.

If co-motherhood was registered earlier or established by a court judgment, the mother, the child's guardian, the father or the co-mother may, within three years of the child’s birth, request that the case be resumed if information or circumstances come to light which can be assumed to change the outcome of the case. In processing the case, the Agency of Family Law will look at various factors such as, for example, how long it has been since the child's birth and how much contact there is between the co-mother and the child, etc. Furthermore, it will be relevant whether the child can be expected to have another father or co-mother if the case is resumed.

If the child is over three years old at the time of the application, the co-motherhood case could be resumed if very specific reasons can be stated for the request not being submitted earlier. In that case, the Agency of Family Law will assess whether the reasons are sufficient to resume the case. In addition, the Agency of Family Law will look at various factors such as, for example, how long it has been since the child's birth and how much contact there is between the co-mother and the child, etc. Furthermore, it will be relevant whether the child can be expected to have another father or co-mother if the case is resumed. Finally, resumption must not cause considerable inconvenience for the child.

There is an extremely restricted practice for resuming a fatherhood case where the child is over three years old.If you believe there are grounds for resuming a co-motherhood case, you must use this form.

Start Resumption of fatherhood or co-motherhood case

A man who has had a sexual relationship with the mother during the period in which she became pregnant generally has the right to have a test to establish whether he is the child's father.

A woman who gives consent to being the child's co-mother generally has the right to have a test to establish that she is the child's co-mother.

You may raise a fatherhood or co-motherhood case within six months of the child's birth.

Last updated: 12 December 2020