There are many options for same sex couples starting their own families, including in vitro fertilisation, donor insemination at a clinic, surrogacy or using a home procedure for donor insemination.

Nicholes Family Lawyers can provide advice in relation to the potentially complex legal issues that may arise in relation to starting families, as well as other family issues affecting the LGBTIQ+ community including parenting disputes, property settlements and Binding Financial Agreements.

At Nicholes Family Lawyers we have a specialist LGBTIQ+ group of lawyer’s led by Partner Bec Dahl with a particular focus on and insight into issues affecting LGBTIQ+ communities and the surrounding law.

Senior Associate Catherine Giles runs the LGBTIQ+ family law legal advice clinic at the Fitzroy Legal Service each month.

NFL Supporting Events

JOY 94.9

Partner, Bec Dahl, is part of the team on Family Matters on Joy 94.9 every Thursday night.

Family Matters is entertaining, informative and addresses the complex area of law surrounding Rainbow Families.

The program explores the unique hurdles the LGBTIQ community faces when starting and raising a family, from transitioning parents to the legal hurdles of being a donor.

If you missed an episode catch up on Family Matters podcasts here:  

The Equality Project

Nicholes Family Lawyers are proud supporters of The Equality Project.

The Equality Project is an organisation committed to bringing together LGBTIQ+ people with their allies to advocate for a better, more just, and fairer society for all.

In January 2018 Partner Bec Dahl and Managing Partner Sally Nicholes presented at the Equality Project’s Better Together Conference alongside Justice Alexandra Harland, Forensic Psychologist Robert Simon and Louise Johnson from the Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority. The national conference held in Melbourne explored current issues facing the LGBTIQ movement and focused on intersectional discussion. You can read more about the event on our blog.

In 2019 Bec presented at the 2nd Annual Better Together Conference which was held in Sydney. She participated in a panel discussion on LGBTI Families alongside Robert Simon and Alison Delpercio.

Dance Cats

Since 2015, Nicholes Family Lawyers have supported the Australian Same Sex Dancesport Championships through our involvement with Dance Cats.

Many of our staff and friends attended the event in February 2018 and enjoyed a night celebrating Australia’s diverse community, whilst witnessing a showcase of Australia’s best same-sex dancers compete for top honours.


TEN – First LGBTI Conference

Partner Bec Dahl and Managing Partner Sally Nicholes both presented at the Television Education Network’s First Annual LGBTI Legal and Regulatory Conference held in Melbourne in May of 2017.

On the first day of the conference Sally alongside Dr Michelle Telfer spoke on special medical procedures for transgender teenagers.

On the second day of the conference Bec addressed the issue of Domestic Violence in the LGBTI Community discussing the different forms of family violence and the impact of family violence on property proceedings.

This year’s conference will be held in Melbourne on the 29th of May.

Our Expertise

Donor Agreements

A man who donates his genetic material to a woman who is in a de facto relationship, is presumed for all purposes not to be the father of any child born as a result. This is regardless of whether or not the man is known to the woman and/or her partner.

Donor  agreements, although not legally binding, set out the intentions of parties as parents and/or sperm donors and the relationship (if any) the child will have with the sperm donor. Donor agreements can provide evidence of the intentions of the parties in relation to conceiving and raising the child and guidance to a court determining what is in the child’s best interests should a dispute arise between the mother and the sperm donor. It is very important that a donor agreement is entered into where a male provides his genetic material to assist in the conception of a child.  The bests interests of a child will, however, always prevail when a Court is making a decision about arrangements for a child.

Nicholes Family Lawyers work together with other professionals such as expert mediators and psychologists who have experience in LGBTIQ+ matters and are familiar with the special legal and non-legal issues parties are likely to encounter to help assist in developing and preparing such agreements and discussing future care arrangements of the child conceived.


In recent years, the law has changed so that a non-biological mother in a same-sex relationship can be legally recognised as a parent. Therefore, women in a same-sex relationship who undergo either IVF treatment or self-insemination to conceive a child, can both have the legal status of a parent. There is no longer any legal distinction between parents in same-sex relationships and parents in heterosexual relationships.

There are three important points to keep in mind when determining the parentage of a child born of a lesbian relationship:

  1. A woman who gives birth to a child  is presumed to be the mother of any child born as a result of the pregnancy;
  2. The birth mother’s female partner will be considered to be the legal parent of the child born, so long as she and the child’s biological mother were living together as a couple on a genuine domestic basis when the IVF/self-insemination was performed; and
  3. The female partner must have consented to the IVF procedure.

Therefore lesbian couples can now be recorded as the child’s parents on the birth certificate of their donor-conceived child. The birth certificate now refers to the biological mother as the “mother” and to her partner as a “parent”.

The sperm donor can also be listed on a child’s birth certificate as the father or on an addendum to the child’s birth certificate as “sperm donor”. When making these decisions, you should consider the legal implications including the effect on your dealings with government agencies such as Medicare, Centrelink  and the Passport office.  Nicholes Family Lawyers can provide you with advice in relation to these potentially complex issues.

Assisted reproduction / IVF

If you would like legal advice in relation to IVF, including your rights to include specific conditions in your consent to treatment, your right to vary your consent and the legal ramifications of various decisions, we will treat your enquiry with strict confidence.