Finnish Maternity Act


I just came home from an IAFL-event (International Academy of International Family Lawyers) in Ibiza, Spain. There were lawyers from over 30 jurisdictions at the event informing each other and discussing similarities and differences in family law matters. One topic we discussed, and where the differences are quite big, was same sex marriages. Some countries do not acknowledge same sex relationships in any form, whilst Finland, together with the other Nordic countries have come a long way in granting persons living in same sex relationships rights, that can be compared with rights in a heterosexual relationship. One can mention the Finnish Maternity Act adopted in 2018 for example.


Based on the Finnish Maternity Act it is possible for a child to have two legal mothers. The mothers do not have to wait until after their child is born to confirm their maternity. A child may be assigned a second mother on the basis of consent to fertility treatment.


A woman who consents to having a child through assisted fertilisation can establish the maternity of both parents during pregnancy. Acknowledgement of the maternity of the unborn child is done by registration at the maternity clinic or at the child welfare officer. The person wishing to acknowledge their motherhood makes the notification in person and in the presence of the pregnant woman. It Is the same procedure for a man wanting to acknowledge paternity in cases where the spouses aren't married.


If the maternity is acknowledged before the child is born, the person who acknowledged the maternity will also become the child's guardian, once the maternity has been established. This means that the parties have joint custody of the child, unless otherwise stipulated or agreed.


The political landscape in many of the countries represented at the IAFL-event is very conservative compared to Finland or Sweden for that matter, but it seems as if legislative steps are taken in many countries to keep up with the fact that there are people living in same sex marriages and they do have kids, instead of trying to ignore this fact.