Artificial insemination: Artificial insemination or donor insemination (insemination) is a fertility procedure in which sperm is inserted via a fine catheter (tube) into a person's uterus directly. Artificial insemination also includes self-insemination where the parties use syringes to insert sperm into the uterus of a person.

Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART): Includes a range of medical methods used to circumvent human infertility, including in vitro fertilisation (IVF), embryo transfer, gamete intra-fallopian transfer, and artificial insemination.

Birth parent: The person who gives birth to the child. The birth parent may be the genetic parent, or have no genetic connection to the child, or may be a surrogate.

Cisgender: When a person is cisgender, they identify as the gender that matches the sex that they were assigned at birth. A cisgender woman is a person who was assigned female at birth and identifies as female.

Co-parent: In the past 'co-parent' typically referred to the partner of the birth parent, however there are many LGBTIQ families where there is no 'birth parent' at all. Co-parent is now a term used by any LGBTIQ couple or family who share the responsibility of caring for a child together. In LGBTIQ families there may be two, three or four co-parents depending on the family structure.

De facto relationship: Two people are in a de facto relationship if they live together as a couple and are not married or related to one another. In determining whether two people are living together as a couple, a court will consider a range of factors including the length of the relationship, degree of financial interdependence, existence of a sexual relationship, and public reputation of the relationship. LGBTIQ partners may be able to register their relationship under the Relationships Register Act 2010 (NSW). Registration generally gives a couple conclusive proof that they are in a de facto relationship, although some laws also require that the couple live together.

Donor: Because a sperm or egg donor may not be recognised as a legal parent of a child, this publication uses the term 'donor' to avoid confusion. However, it is understood that differing levels of relationship and involvement can exist between donors and children, with some donors regarded by the parties as a child's parent.

Family Law Courts: Both the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court can make decisions regarding parenting and property applications. The appropriate court in which to file an application will be determined by the nature of the application. Generally, applications filed in the Family Court relate to complex matters such as international abduction and relocation, special medical procedures, and jurisdictional questions. All other applications should be filed in the Federal Circuit Court.

Intersex: Intersex people are born with physical, hormonal or genetic features that are neither wholly female nor wholly male; or a combination of female and male; or neither female nor male.

IVF: In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is the process of fertilising eggs with sperm outside of the human body. Once the eggs are fertilised, the resulting embryos are placed in the uterus in the hope that a successful pregnancy will follow.

LGBTIQ: LGBTIQ is the acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer. In this publication we use the acronym to refer inclusively to people of diverse sexuality, diverse gender identity and expression, and intersex people who may or may not identify as being LGBTIQ or be in same sex relationships.

Lives with: A legal term referring to the person whom a child lives with, replacing the terms 'custody' and 'residence'.

Parenting orders: Orders made by a court concerning one or more of the following issues:

  • Who the child will live with;
  • The time a child will spend with another person or other persons;
  • The communication a child will have with another person or other persons; and/or
  • Other aspects relating to parental responsibility.

Parenting orders can be made by consent between the parties, or by the Family Law Courts in situations where the parties cannot agree.

Parental responsibility: A legal term that refers to the responsibility, authority and duty parents have in relation to children and their long term needs. It is presumed to be shared. Parents with shared parental responsibility are expected to make joint decisions concerning the long term needs of the children including but not limited to; health, education, living arrangements, name, overseas travel, religious and cultural upbringing.

Surrogacy: An arrangement whereby a person ('the surrogate') carries and gives birth to a child for a couple ('the intended couple') or an individual. The surrogate agrees to give the child to the intended couple or individual after the birth.

Time spent with: A legal term referring to the time a child spends with their parents. It has replaced the terms 'access' and 'contact'.

Transgender: When a person is transgender, they do not identify as the gender that matches the sex that they were assigned at birth. A transgender man is a person who was assigned female at birth but who identifies as a male.