Huge increase in same-sex couples adopting is good news ‘for LGBTQ+ people and children’


A record proportion of adoptions in England and Wales involved same-sex couples in 2022.

In 2022, more than one in six (540 out of 2,950) adoptions in England were granted to same-sex couples – the “greatest proportion on record”, according to New Family Social, a charity that analysed data from the Department of Education.

That’s an increase of 17 cent on the previous year, and a huge leap from the one in 31 recorded in 2011.

In Wales, one in four adoptions in 2022 were by same-sex couples, the highest proportion of all UK nations.

Tor Docherty, the chief executive at New Family Social, said the news is “hugely reassuring, not just for LGBTQ+ people considering adoption but also for looked-after children”.

“These children’s needs are paramount in every adoption decision and LGBTQ+ people are an invaluable pool of potential parents,” Docherty added.

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“LGBTQ+ people can mistakenly think that their sexual orientation or gender identity will be a barrier in the approval process, but many agencies have come a long way in improving how they work with our community.”

The figures come at the start of LGBTQ+ Adoption and Fostering Week.

While the news is good in England and Wales, in Northern Ireland and Scotland the proportion of adoptions granted to same-sex couples was just one in 10 and one in 11 respectively.

Same-sex couples have only been allowed to adopt in Northern Ireland since 2013 (versus 2002 in England and Wales and 2009 in Scotland), and success rates have historically lagged. In 2018, the Department of Health said this could be down to the lengthy nature of adoption processes.

Docherty said it’s “less clear” why the “proportion of same-sex couples adopting in Scotland is much lower than in Wales and England”.

“We’re keen to work with agencies to see where good practice that works in one country can be used in another,” Docherty added.

Damian Kerlin, who has adopted twin boys with his partner, thinks the new statistics will make same-sex adopters more confident (Supplied)

Damian Kerlin, from Cardiff, is the parent of twin boys with his partner Andrew Taylor. The couple worked with Wales’ National Adoption Service which helped navigate the adoption process.

He thinks the increase in same-sex couples being granted adoptions is “incredible”.

“It makes me excited and I think it’s incredible,” Damian tells PinkNews. “It’s demonstrating to local authorities, agencies and people who make decisions that things are really changing,

“Visibility has always been an essential part of change for the LGBTQ+ communities and instilling confidence. When we adopted six years ago, there wasn’t as much visibility for us so it’s really nice to see those numbers.”

There is no data that represents single LGBTQ+ adopters, bisexual people in different gender relationships, and trans people in different gender relationships.

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