Commonly asked questions

RFSL gets a lot of questions about family and parenthood. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions and the answers to them.

To find a co-parent

Question: I want to find one or more people to co-parent with. Does RFSL have a forum where I can get to know others with the same idea? 

Answer: No, RFSL doesn’t have such a forum and can’t provide that type of contact. On Facebook, however, there are many such initiatives. You can find them by searching words like rainbow families, co-parent or home insemination.  

Parental insurance

Question: Can you be on parental leave and get parental allowance before a related adoption is finished? 

Answer: Yes. The legal parent can forgo parental allowance to the parent who is to adopt. The person who is not the legal parent must fulfill at least one of the following conditions in order to get parental allowance: Be married to the legal parent and live with them or earlier have been married to, or had children with, the legal parent. An especially appointed guardian who has custody of the child can also get parental allowance without being the child’s legal parent. 

As of July 1 2019 the demand of earlier marriage or common children is taken out of the parental insurance. It was decided in parliament in November 2018. That means that a legal parent’s partner is comparable with a parent.

Question: Can more than two parents be on parental leave and get parental allowance for the same child? 

Answer: Yes. The legal parent can forgo days with parental allowance in favor of the parent who isn’t the legal parent. If there are two legal parents they can both forgo days. In that way four parents (two legal parents and two parents who aren’t legal parents) can get parental allowance, if they care for the child and don’t work. A maximum of four people can get parental allowance for one child. That’s because a child only can have two legal parents. The one who isn’t the legal parent must fulfill at least one of the following criteria in order to get parental allowance: Be married to the legal parent and live with them, or have been married or have had a child with the legal parent. 

As of July 1 2019 the demand of earlier marriage or common children is taken out of the parental insurance. It was decided in parliament in November 2018. That means that a legal parent’s partner is comparable with a parent.

Assisted fertilization at a clinic

Question: I want to carry my partner’s egg, can we do that at a clinic in Sweden? 

Answer: To receive an egg from a partner counts as egg donation in the eyes of the law, despite the fact that the egg comes from someone within the couple. 

Earlier the law has dictated that the egg should be the carriers own egg, if donated sperm is used in the treatment. Therefore assisted fertilization with both donated sperm and donated eggs hasn’t been permitted in Swedish clinics. As of January 1 2019 this treatment will be approved in Sweden. Who are eligible for assisted fertilization with donated gem cells only is up to each caregiver to decide, based on the principles in the healthcare act. That the treatment is medically motivated isn’t something that’s mentioned in the law, it is up to the fertility clinics to judge if a donation within a couple is possible or not.

Should you not be deemed eligible for this treatment in Sweden, donation of eggs within a couple is possible in many European countries, so it’s possible to travel abroad and have the treatment there, but it comes at a cost.

Question: How long are the county council’s waiting times? 

Answer: The waiting time from the referral to being summoned to the clinic to start treatment varies greatly between county councils. From 3-6 months up to several years. The waiting times are constantly changing depending on the number of donors and how many are waiting in each county council. For current waiting times, see the clinics’ websites. 

Question: Why is there a waiting time?

Answer: The long waiting times are mostly due to a lack of resources at the clinics. To some extent they can also, at some clinics, be due to a lack of donors. But the main reason for the current waiting times for publicly financed fertility treatment is that the resources are limited and that they can’t hire more staff and get larger premises. 

Question: Doesn’t healthcare guarantee apply?

Answer: No, healthcare guarantee doesn’t apply when you need donated gem cells (eggs or sperm) to get pregnant. But if you have your own eggs and sperm within the couple, then healthcare guarantee applies, i.e. you are to be summoned to the clinic within three months of the referral. 

Question: If you want more children, what rules apply for treatment? 

Answer: In Sweden all fertility treatments aimed at getting a sibling is financed by you yourself. That is because when you’ve had one child (or two if it’s twins) you’re no longer involuntarily childless. In Sweden it’s only possible for involuntarily childless couples and singles to get publicly financed fertility treatment. At most clinics, both public and private, the consensus is that your first child should be at least one years old before a trial for a sibling is started. If it’s the same person who is to get pregnant a second time, possible breastfeeding of the first child should be terminated before treatment starts. Read more about sibling treatment under the headline Assisterad befruktning på klinik.

Question: Can you do IVF with donated sperm at a private clinic? 

Answer: Yes, as of January 1 2019 private clinics are authorized to carry out IVF treatments with donated sperm.

In the past IVF treatments with donated sperm have only been carried out at public clinics. The only exception was the IVF clinic in Umeå. That was because the clinic was connected to a university hospital, which earlier was a requirement in order for a private clinic to be able to carry out IVF treatment with donated sperm.

Question: We are worried about the counseling at the fertility clinic! What questions are asked during these conversations? What if we’re not approved and can’t start the treatment!  

Answer: Exactly what questions are asked varies, but the special trial and assessment is based on the couple’s or the single’s capability of acting as parent during the child’s whole upbringing.

The assessment is made through a child’s perspective. The goal of the special assessment is to make sure that the future child/children will grow up under good circumstances.

To not pass the special assessment is rare, but it happens. If you fail you have the right to get information about why and what you need to change in your life before a future assessment. Oftentimes a new assessment can be done after a certain time, depending on the reason for failing. If you’re not approved you also have the opportunity to appeal the decision to the legal council at the National Board of Health and Welfare.

Read more about the special assessment under the headline Assisterad befruktning på klinik. 

Home insemination

Question: Is it legal to order sperm from a sperm bank in for example Denmark to inseminate at home? 

Answer: According to the law of genetic integrity, which is the law that regulates what is allowed and not when it comes to insemination and IVF treatments, frozen sperm cannot be brought into the country without the permission of the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare. Swedish clinics that buy sperm from sperm banks in for example Denmark, which private clinics do, need to apply for such a permit in order to offer insemination with donated sperm. Those who order sperm from a sperm bank are legally responsible for that the import and use is done in accordance with national legislation. It’s unclear in the legislation if it’s prohibited for private individuals to bring sperm into the country since the law is written with fertility clinics in mind. The short answer is therefore that it isn’t clear how the law should be interpreted for private individuals.

Family law

Question: We are two women who plan to have a child through the county council. I who am not to be pregnant, do I automatically become the parent if we succeed in having a child that way? We’re planning to get married.  

Answer: After a child that’s been conceived through assisted fertilization at a public or private clinic in Sweden is born, the one not giving birth to the child gets to sign a parenthood confirmation at the nearest social services’ office (the family court). So it’s not automatic. You will be summoned to the family court after the child is born, regardless of if you’re married or not. Bring the document “consent to treatment” that you signed at the clinic to this meeting. Read more about parental confirmation and consent to treatment under the headline Juridik – assisterad befruktning.

Question: We are two women who plan to conceive a child through home insemination. We have been told that my girlfriend, who is not going to carry the child, needs to adopt it to become its legal parent. Do we need to get married to adopt? 

Answer: No, but you have to live together. Earlier you had to be married to each other, but as of September 6 2018 it’s possible to adopt within a couple that lives together. Read more about related adoption under the headline Juridik – assisterad befruktning.