A Scots mum living in America has spoken of her heartbreak over a UK law stopping her teenage daughter from moving to the states to live with her.
Tracy Matthews, from Aberdeen, is the non-birth mother of two young Scottish girls by artificial insemination while in a same-sex relationship with the children’s birth mother, Mandy Anderson.
Tracy, 57, relocated to Texas two years ago and now has permanent resident status with new wife Erica, with whom she also has two sons, Nash and Colt.
But she is separated from 15-year-old daughter Skye, who remains in Aberdeen with birth mum Mandy, because the teen was born before a law change in 2008 which allows both same sex parents to be registered on a child’s birth certificate. is the child was born by assisted conception.
Skye was born in 2007, one year before the introduction of the Human Fertilization and Embryology Act 2008, which allows both parents to be registered.
Despite Skye being desperate to move to Texas to be with Tracy, the mum is unable to obtain a Visa for her daughter because she is not registered on her birth certificate.
Now Tracy has spoken of the ‘crushing’ separation from her daughter, as she fights for a change in UK law to allow her to be officially recognized as Skye’s mum.
Speaking to the Record Tracy said: “I can’t apply for a visa for Skye because I’m not on the birth certificate.
“If she was born just one year later this wouldn’t be an issue at all.
“They changed the law to say that both parents could be recognized through artificial insemination from 2008 onwards – but why not my child – born just one year before then?
“If we can’t change this then it will be crushing for us. Erica is American our boys grandparents live here. Syke wants to be here.
“But if we can’t fix this, we will have to move back.”
Mum-of-five Tracy, who also has a grown up biological daughter, Jay, still gets on well with ex-partner Mandy, who she was with for 13 years.
The couple’s other daughter and Skye’s sister, 21-year-old Megan, was the first child born through artificial insemination to a same-sex couple in Scotland.
Mandy told the Daily Record: “We still raise our kids together so Tracy is as much their mum as I am.
“The opportunities Skye can have in America are great – it is a different way of life.
“She wants to expand her horizons and it would be good for her to do that with her other parent.
“We are having to tell our daughter that while she should be able to do that, she can’t, because of red tape.”
Despite contacting lawyers and various organizations for the past two years, Tracy has been informed the only way for her to be registered on Skye and Megan’s birth certificates is by changing UK law.
She said: “We have been fighting this now for two years. We wrote to various organizations who we thought could help, but no one can.
“But I will continue to challenge this for my daughter.
Gordon MP Richard Thomson has been helping the mum since 2020 but was informed by the UK government that they have no plans to change the current law.
He said: “Tracy and her family have found themselves in the situation where the UK law as it stands prevents them from having their family recognized in law as they would wish it to be.
“It is frustrating that the UK Government appears to have no plans to amend the law relating to the registration of same-sex mothers to allow registrations to be carried out retrospectively.
“I’d urge the UK Government to reconsider, because while the numbers of people affected may be relatively small, both the practical and emotional impact on those who are affected such as Tracey and her family can be very significant indeed.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The Human Fertilization and Embryology Act 2008 makes provision on parenthood in cases involving assisted reproduction.
“The 2008 Act is a reserved matter for the UK Government and so any changes to it are for the UK Government and Parliament.”
A UK government spokesperson said: “Section 2 of the Human Fertilization and Embryology Act 2008 covers the provisions around same-sex female parenthood for partners undertaking assisted conception in UK fertility clinics licensed by the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (HFEA).
“This legislation took effect from 1 April 2008, and has no retrospective effect.
“Unfortunately, Mrs Matthews is therefore not covered by the provisions of the Act and there is no legislative mechanism to include her on the children’s birth certificates.
“There are no current plans to review the 2008 or 1990 HFE Acts.”
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