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Maternity investigation and confirmation of maternity

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According to the Maternity Act that entered into force on 1 April 2019, the person who has given birth to the child is always the child’s mother. If the mother who gave birth to the child has received assisted fertility treatment together with her female partner or spouse and the child was born as a result of the treatment, the parenthood of the second mother can also be confirmed based on an acknowledgment of maternity. This mean that maternity needs to be acknowledged and confirmed even when the parents are married to each other when the child is born.

Maternity can be acknowledged if the pregnancy started after 1 April 2019 through assisted fertility treatment using the donated gametes of an anonymous donor and the parents are able to present proof of consent for the fertility treatment. Maternity may be acknowledged in advance even during the pregnancy at a maternity clinic, or, if necessary, at the office of the child supervisor after the child is born. The child supervisor will send the documents prepared about the acknowledgement of maternity to the Digital and Population Data Services Agency, which will be responsible for the confirmation of maternity.

If the child’s mother received assisted fertility treatment together with her female spouse and the pregnancy started with the gametes of an anonymous donor before 1 April 2019, the matter can be processed in connection with the intra-family adoption by the adoption working group of the family law services. A separate appointment with the child supervisor may not be necessary. Even in this case, the parents must also present proof of consent for the assisted fertility treatment, a copy of which will be attached to the documents.

When maternity is confirmed, a legally valid relationship is formed between the mother who acknowledged her maternity and the child. The child will be a direct heir of the person who acknowledged her maternity, and the child may receive the last name of either mother or a joint last name. After the confirmation of maternity, the child will be entitled to receive child support from both parents until the child turns 18, and even after this, to cover education expenses deemed reasonable. The child is granted the right to communicate and meet with the parent with whom they are not living. Parents may act as the child’s official guardians jointly or with either of them as the sole guardian. A separate agreement document is required for joint custody if maternity is acknowledged only after the child’s birth at the child supervisor's offices. If maternity is confirmed based on advance acknowledgement of maternity, the person who acknowledged her maternity will become an official guardian of the child alongside the birth mother when the maternity is confirmed, and no separate document is needed.

If necessary, the parents may also agree on the housing and maintenance of the child or visiting rights at the child supervisor's offices. More information on these topics can be found on the family law services pages.

Acknowledging maternity in advance

1. At the maternity clinic

Maternity can be acknowledged during pregnancy at a maternity clinic if

  • the pregnancy started through assisted fertility treatment using the donated gametes of an anonymous donor and the parents are able to present proof of consent for the fertility treatment (to be attached to the documentation)
  • both parents agree on maternity and are present at the same time
  • the fact that maternity will be acknowledged at the maternity clinic has been agreed upon in advance
  • both parents have valid identity documents with them
  • there is no particular hurry to confirm maternity after the birth of the child
  • the language skills of all concerned parties are sufficient to acknowledge maternity
  • both parents agree on joint custody.

    The parents must fill in their personal information on the document for acknowledging maternity in advance on a computer, print out the document and take it with them to the agreed appointment at the maternity clinic. The form can only be signed only at the maternity clinic in the presence of a nurse. If the parents have passports or ID cards granted by a foreign authority, they should bring copies with them in addition to the originals. A copy (of the personal information page) should be attached to the documents to be sent to the Digital and Population Data Services Agency.

    The maternity clinic will deliver the verified and signed acknowledgment documents to the child supervisor of the mother’s home municipality, who will then send a notice of receipt to the parents. Incomplete or erroneous documents cannot be revised at a later date; instead, they need to be re-submitted in full.

    2. At the child supervisors offices

    Parents can acknowledge maternity in advance at the child supervisor's offices for special reasons, if taking care of the matter at the maternity clinic is not possible. The parents must have valid identity documents and proof of consent for the assisted fertility treatment, in addition to which the pregnant mother must have a maternity card granted at a maternity clinic (proof of pregnancy).

    Processing of the advance acknowledgement of maternity and confirming maternity

    If the child’s birth mother is not married to a man at the time of the child’s birth, the Digital and Population Data Services Agency will inform the child supervisor of the child’s home municipality of a child born outside of a marriage. The advance acknowledgement of maternity can be disputed or cancelled within 30 days of the birth of the child by the woman who acknowledged her maternity, the child’s birth mother or a man who considers himself to potentially be the child’s father. The dispute or cancellation must be lodged with the child supervisor in writing, for example by e-mail to lastenvalvoja.helsinki@hel.fi. The letter or e-mail must include the personal details of the concerned parties. If an advance acknowledgement of maternity is cancelled, the child supervisor will start investigating the maternity/paternity by contacting the child’s birth mother.

    If an advance acknowledgement of maternity has not been disputed or cancelled, the child supervisor will send the acknowledgment documents to the Digital and Population Data Services Agency 30 days after the child’s birth (this time period cannot be deviated from). The Digital and Population Data Services Agency then confirms maternity and sends the confirmation decision directly to the parents. The Digital and Population Data Services Agency takes approximately 2–4 weeks to process the documents.

    Investigating and acknowledging maternity after the birth of the child

    If the child’s birth mother is not married to a man at the time of the child’s birth, the Digital and Population Data Services Agency will inform the child supervisor of the child’s home municipality of a child born outside of a marriage. If a child’s paternity/maternity has not been acknowledged in advance during pregnancy, the child supervisor will send a contact and appointment booking request to the birth mother to investigate paternity/maternity. Investigating paternity/maternity requires both parents to visit the child supervisor in person. Usually, parents book a shared appointment with the child supervisor for the both of them, but the investigation can also be initiated by any involved party on their own.

    Processing and confirming maternity investigated after the child’s birth

    The child supervisor will send the prepared documents for acknowledging and investigating maternity to the Digital and Population Data Services Agency and send the decision directly to the parents. The Digital and Population Data Services Agency takes approximately 2–4 weeks to process the documents.

    Confirming maternity in court

    If investigating a child’s maternity has not been possible through voluntary measures, the child themselves, the child’s birth mother, or a woman who consented to assisted fertility treatment may take legal action to have the maternity confirmed in court. The child supervisor of Helsinki will take the matter forward on behalf of an underage child.

    Assisted fertility treatment undertaken alone

    If the child’s mother received assisted fertility treatment alone and the child was conceived using gametes from an anonymous donor, a decision to discontinue the paternity investigation can be made. However, the mother must personally visit the child supervisor to discuss the matter, and at the same time the mother must present a valid identity document or passport to the child supervisor. The mother must also present proof of consent for the assisted fertility treatment, a copy of which will be attached to the documentation. Forms Acknowledgement of maternity before the birth of the child (PDF, in Finnish)

    Forms

    Acknowledgement of maternity before the birth of the child (PDF, in Finnish)



  • 10.02.2022 17:11