In a groundbreaking ruling, a Hong Kong court has granted parental rights to a lesbian couple who fought for recognition of their child born through “reciprocal IVF”. This decision is being hailed as a major win for the LGBTQ community
Reciprocal in vitro fertilisation (RIVF) is a medical procedure that enables both women in a same-sex relationship to be involved in the process of conceiving a child and has played a crucial role in helping same-sex couples start families.
Last year, two women who underwent RIVF challenged the Hong Kong government after it only recognized one of them as the mother of their son, citing existing family laws. They argued that both women should have equal parental status.
In a ruling issued by Judge Queeny Au-Yeung at the court of first instance, it was determined that the government’s refusal to recognize both women as parents amounted to discrimination against their child. The judge stated that the child was being denied a co-parent genetically linked to them, which other children have.
The court’s decision now recognizes the woman who was initially denied legal status as a “parent at common law”. This ruling is seen as a step towards aligning legal recognition with the reality of diverse family structures.
The judge emphasized the importance of acknowledging the changing dynamics of family formation, highlighting that people now build families in various ways beyond traditional marriage or heterosexual relationships.
This victory marks a significant milestone for the LGBTQ community in Hong Kong and is seen as a positive step towards achieving equal rights for rainbow families.