Can LGBT+ people adopt?

Yes. Since 2005, the Adoption and Children Act in the UK has allowed same sex couples, or people in a civil partnership to apply to adopt a child. Single LGBT+ people can also apply as an individual.

Whether you’re single and transgender, or gay and in a long term relationship, you can adopt.

LGBT+ people are protected against discrimination under the Equality Act which means an adoption agency cannot reject your application because of your sexuality or gender identity. This means that everyone who wants to adopt should be assessed fairly and on the same criteria.

How does it work?

Applications must be made through a certified adoption agency. They will then assess whether you can provide a suitable, stable home for a child.

This process takes a long while, but if you are deemed suitable, then an adoption panel will place you in a matching process, resulting in a child being placed with you. Depending on the result of this initial placement, you may then be able to apply to court for an adoption order.

It’s a complex process with many stages. A more thorough breakdown can be found at

Are adoption agencies looking for LGBT+ people?

In a word, yes. Several charities and agencies are actively looking for LGBT+ parents, partly due to a change in attitudes, but also thanks to special initiatives and government funding to encourage lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to adopt.

You can find a local agency through the Adoption UK agency finder.

Who can help me through the process?

Adoption can seem intimidating, especially for LGBT+ people who fear discrimination based on sexual preference or gender identity. But there are places you can go for support.

New Family Social is a charity funded by the government which helps existing and prospective LGBT+ adopters and their families. It works closely with adoption agencies and local authorities, and has a network of over 1000 existing families who support one another online and in person.

Stonewall is always there to answer questions about your rights. Its page on adoption provides detailed information, and if have any other questions you can call them or submit an inquiry. 

What else do I need to know?

There are certain criteria that all potential adoptive parents must meet before they can adopt. You must be over the age of 21, and you must be fit and healthy enough to cope with the rigours of parenthood.