In an important ruling that creates an alternative path to parentage for couples who use assisted reproductive technology in their pregnancies – one that more closely tracks the reality of these families’ lives – GLAD secured an order of parentage for a Rhode Island non-biological mother who had initially sought a second-parent adoption.

When our client sought to adopt the child that she and her partner had planned together, and that her partner bore, the Family Court required the couple to post a newspaper advertisement to alert the sperm donor about the adoption they objected.

The requirement makes no sense in a situation where two women use an unknown donor to become pregnant. Also, it comes with a financial cost and risks disclosing private information relating to the couple and child. The notification is intended to alert someone who is a parent that a child is getting adopted. Because a donor is not a potential parent, it makes no practical or legal sense to provide notice of a pending adoption resulting from the donation of his genetic material.

In the context of asking the Court to waive the notification requirement, our clients argued that they should not have to adopt their child at all in order to establish the parent-child relationship between the non-birth parent and their child. Rather, they argued that Rhode Island law provides full protections for parent-child relationships that result from the very kind of family relationship presented by this case. The Court agreed.