Mum’s plea over baby’s father rights

Tammy Scott and her late fiancee, Peter Wilson.
Tammy Scott and her late fiancee, Peter Wilson.

A GRIEF-STRICKEN mother-to-be has called for the law to be changed so that the late father of her unborn child can be automatically named on the birth certificate.

Tammy Scott, 33, of Valley Bridge Parade, Scarborough, was devastated after her fiance of two years, Peter Wilson, died in July, just weeks after she told him she was expecting his first child.

Tammy Scott, 33, who is trying to get the name of the father of her unborn child, Peter Wilson, on the birth certificate, which is not permitted as he has died.  Pictures by Andrew Higgins  113632e  07/09/11

Tammy Scott, 33, who is trying to get the name of the father of her unborn child, Peter Wilson, on the birth certificate, which is not permitted as he has died. Pictures by Andrew Higgins 113632e 07/09/11

“I want our child to know who their father is when they look at their birth certificate,” said Tammy, who is four months pregnant.

“Peter never thought he would have children so was delighted when I told him I was pregnant. He was looking forward to being a dad so much,” she added.

But she was told she would need to go through a costly and traumatic process, involving DNA sampling and legal procedures, to get him named on their child’s birth certificate, as the couple were not married.

Peter believed he had a bad cold in the days before his death, but died suddenly of bronchial pneumonia and myocardial fibrosis. Tammy desperately gave her partner of three-and-a-half years heart masssage before paramedics arrived. “Before Peter went to bed he was saying it felt like a cold and he had a bit of chest pain,” Tammy said.

Tammy was initially told that it may be impossible to have Peter named on the birth certificate without exhuming his body so that DNA testing could be completed.

The coroner has now agreed to release Peter’s blood samples for DNA testing, but she still faces a lengthy battle to have him named on the document.

Tammy, a former electrician who is now on Jobseeker’s Allowance, says she cannot afford the process.

She has launched an online petition on the Government’s website, and is hoping to gain public support and prompt a re-think over the issue.

“Unmarried mothers are not treated fairly,” she added. “If you are in a same-sex partnership, civil partnership or married you do not face this struggle.

“We were planning to get married when we could afford it. Now it seems I will not be able to have Peter’s name on the birth certificate unless I can find a way of getting round all these barriers.”

A spokesperson for the Home Office told the Evening News: “If the mother was not married to the child’s father, and the father has died before the birth is registered, then the mother will need to register the birth with her own details as mother but omitting father’s details.

“She may then wish to apply to the courts for a Declaration of Parentage, or seek legal advice. If the Declaration of Parentage is granted she will be able to re-register the birth with the father’s details included.”

Tammy’s councillor, Colin Challen, has also pledged to take her case up with the Home Office.

He said: “I can understand why there have to be legal safeguards to ensure the correct details are recorded on birth certificates – to prevent fraud for example – but I cannot see why people like Tammy, who have already had to face such a tragic bereavement, need be dragged through it all again when their child is born.

“The government needs to recognise the tragic circumstances that lead to these situations.”

To sign Tammy’s petition visit http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/860