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The woman who has given birth to the child is considered the child's mother.

This also applies for medically assisted reproduction using a fertilised egg from another woman. A foreign decision or judgment stating that a woman who has not given birth to the child is the legal mother will therefore not be upheld in Norway. Pursuant to Norwegian law, maternity can only be transferred through adoption. The rules governing maternity are stipulated in Section 2 of the Norwegian Children Act.


The Children Act regulates the establishment of co-maternity in cases where lesbian couples have a child together by means of medically assisted reproduction in Norway or abroad.

The cohabitant or spouse of the birth mother may be granted the status of co-mother if:

  • she has granted her consent to the medically assisted reproduction,
  • the medically assisted reproduction has taken place at an approved medical institution in Norway or abroad, and
  • the donor’s identity is known. 

The co-mother is legally regarded as a parent of the child in the same way as the mother. Among other things, this is important when concerning the rules in the Children Act pertaining to parental responsibility, permanent residence, access rights and maintenance obligations.

A co-mother has the same right as a father to the parental benefit and the same duty to take the paternity quota of the parental leave. Pursuant to the Inheritance Act, the child is entitled to the statutory portion of the co-mother's property and the co-mother is entitled to inherit from the child.

The co-mother regulations apply to children born after 1 January 2009. For children born before this date, the mother's partner/spouse must establish parenthood through a step-child adoption. This also applies in cases where the requirements for establishing co-maternity are not met.