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About the All Families Are Equal Act, 2016

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About the All Families Are Equal Act, 2016

Ministry of the Attorney General

The All Families Are Equal Act, 2016 will change the Children's Law Reform Act, the Vital Statistics Act and 39 other statutes to ensure that children are treated the same, regardless of how they are conceived. The laws will also be amended to use gender neutral terminology, where possible.

Amendments to the Children's Law Reform Act

Rules of Legal Parentage

In cases where a child is conceived through assisted reproduction, the act provides that the parents are the birth parent and the birth parent's partner, if any, at the time of the child's conception. No court order will be required.


Up to four intended parents of a child born to a surrogate will be recognized without a court order if the following conditions are met:

  • The surrogate and the intended parent(s) received independent legal advice and entered into a written pre-conception surrogacy agreement.
  • The surrogate provided written consent to give up her parental status both before conception and seven days after the birth of the child.

Parentage Agreements

Up to four people will be able to be recognized as the parents of a child without a court order, if all parties entered into a written pre-conception agreement to be parents of the child together. The birth parent is required to be one of the parties to the agreement.

Posthumous Conception

A court will be able to grant a declaration of parental status to a deceased person in relation to a child conceived after their death.

The posthumously conceived child will be able to inherit and seek support from their deceased parent's estate, if the child is born within three years of their deceased parent's death.

Amendments to the Vital Statistics Act

Once the All Families Are Equal Act, 2016 is proclaimed, births will be registered based on the new parentage rules.   

The amendments also provide rules for determining a child's surname, in the event that there is a conflict between the parents.

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