New rules are due to come into force which will give same-sex couples the same rights to parenthood as heterosexual couples when undergoing fertility treatment.
The law states that both partners in same-sex couples will now be named on the child’s birth certificate, automatically recognising them as the legal parents of the child.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) said the decision to extend the law to include lesbian couples and single women brings the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 into line with equalities legislation.
The HFEA also believes it will make it easier for lesbian civil partners to get access to fertility treatment.
The new rules also state that the father or second parent does not have to be the birth mother’s partner.
Professor Lisa Jardine, HFEA chairwoman, said: `The desire for a family and for an own child is a very powerful force, affecting people regardless of their sexual orientation or circumstance.
`Fertility treatment has helped many couples become parents. Until now, however, adoption has been the only route by which some partners have been recognised as legal parents.`
She added that this new rule creates a `level playing field` for all couples.