Baby girl the first to have three legal parents on birth certificate

Della Wolf has become the first baby in British Columbia, Canada to have three parents listed on her birth certificate. BC’s new Family Law Act came into effect in March 2013 and aims to clarify who is a parent and who isn’t, as more families and individuals use assisted reproduction to have children. According to the Act, donors can be listed as additional parents if the parents sign a written agreement before conception. The new Act makes BC the first in Canada to legally recognize three or more parents on a child’s birth certificate.

Della’s parents, Danielle Wiley and Anna Richards, needed a sperm donor in order to become pregnant. They felt strongly about including a man who wanted to be a father to their child, rather than an anonymous donor. Anna’s friend, Shawn Kangro, said he would be interested in being a father to their child. Before conceiving, they created a written contract to outline their family roles and responsibilities: Wiley and Richards would have custody and financial responsibility for the child, and Kangro would be a guardian with rights to access. They also agreed that all three of their names would appear on the child’s birth certificate.

Although BC’s new Family Law Act allows for three parents, Wiley and Richards said that the process to gain a birth certificate hasn’t been a smooth one. They were unable to fill in the online form because it didn’t have space for a third parent to be listed. In the end, Vital Statistics sent them a new form.

barbara findlay, a lawyer who helped Della’s parents navigate the process (and who spells her name without capitals), says:

“The really big shift in the Family Law Act in terms of parents is how you decide who’s a parent. In the old days, we looked at biology and genetic connections. And that’s no longer true. We now look at the intention of the parties who are contributing to the creation of the child, and intend to raise the child. And that’s a really, really big shift.”

Read more about the legal implications of using a donor here.

Read more about Della’s family here.

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