Investigating motherhood

According to the Maternity Act, the child’s mother is the person who gave birth to the child (Section 2). Another mother can be confirmed for the child based on consent to assisted fertility treatment (Section 3).

How is maternity investigated?

  • Maternity can be acknowledged at a maternity clinic before the child is born. Acknowledgement is possible if a certificate regarding the assisted fertility treatment issued by a fertility clinic can be provided and the consent to assisted fertility treatment was given after 1 April 2019.
  • A prerequisite is that no father can be acknowledged or confirmed for the child (the sperm donor has not given his consent to confirm paternity).
  • According to the Entry into force clause (Section 54) in the Finnish Maternity Act, the motherhood of another mother can be confirmed based on the consent to assisted fertility treatment when the consent to assisted fertility treatments was given after the act entered into force (1 April 2019). Consent cannot be supplemented after the pregnancy has already began.

Certificate of assisted fertility treatment

The Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health has issued instructions for fertility clinics on the information needed in the certificate of assisted fertility treatment (STM/1084/2019, pdf 216 kt).

Maternity clinic forms related to investigating motherhood

When the child is born, the form of custody is affected by whether the paternity of the child was acknowledged before or after the child was born.

If parents who have joint custody of a child get divorced, the parents must decide whether they will have joint custody of the child or whether one of the parents has sole custody. It is also possible for the guardians to share tasks. As the parents select the form of custody, they must assess their readiness to negotiate matters related to the child with each other. Regardless of the form of custody, the child has the right to receive maintenance from both parents and to meet both parents.

  • The parents decide together how to bring up the child as well as on the child’s care, education, place of residence, hobbies and other personal matters. However, the parent living with the child can decide on daily matters, nursing and care related to the child. If the child has two or more guardians, they may agree on sharing tasks with each other.
  • The guardian has the right to receive information regarding their child from various authorities.
  • If one of the child’s guardians passes away, custody remains with the living parent.

Parents can make an agreement regarding the custody of the child with a child supervisor or they can let the court decide. With the child supervisor, the parents can also agree on entrusting custody to another person in addition to the parents, such as a grandparent. Custody ends when the child turns 18 or enters into matrimony before that.

If the parents get divorced, they must decide which parent the child will live with. The parents may also agree that the child takes turns living with both parents, but the agreement must include which home is recorded as the child’s official place of residence. When granting housing allowance and child benefit, the child is considered as member of only one household.