Immediate support is needed for parents of surrogate born babies travelling home to Ireland, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Senator Mary Seery Kearney was speaking in relation to parents coming home to Ireland with their surrogate born babies who are obliged to book hotel quarantine and pay for it up front, and are being told they need to make an application to the High Court to be recognised as having exceptional circumstances such that it warrants an exemption.
Ukraine, a popular location for Irish couples for surrogacy, has been added to the State's mandatory hotel quarantine list.
Senator Seery Kearney said: “Mandatory Hotel Quarantine places an onerous additional burden on these parents, who are already at the end of an extremely long journey to bring their baby home.
“My husband and I have made that journey through Dublin Airport with our new-born baby. The thoughts of going to a hotel at that stage when all you want to do is bring your baby to the home you have dreamed of providing for it would be torturous. And that’s to say nothing of the expense. This is particularly an issue for parents travelling home from Ukraine at the moment, the main option for Irish parents going through the surrogacy process.
“Parents already apply for emergency travel documentation to be permitted to bring their baby or babies home, during which officials in the Irish Consulate or Diplomatic Mission review the legal documents relating to their surrogacy and vouch for the bona fides of the baby’s entitlement to apply for Irish citizenship, including DNA testing. This robust process could support the Department of Health in giving permission to quarantine at home for couples and their babies. We are talking about a small readily identifiable group of people and it would not be subject to abuse.”
Common sense approach
She added: “I appreciate that it is a difficult balance of public health and proportionality, and that hard cases should not make the law, but a common sense approach in such a clear-cut situation is needed to alleviate what is an already extremely stressful experience for these couples. Parents assure me that they are willing to give legal undertakings and whatever other assurances are necessary in order to be permitted to quarantine at home.
“These families have travelled out to Ukraine for the birth of their babies, leaving their homes ready for their return with a new member of the family. To be required to go to a hotel without all the necessary supports of a suitable bed/moses basket for a new-born, sterilisers, formula, changing mat, nappies, clothes, as well as everything else that might arise, is an additional and unnecessary stress as well as the expense of the stay in the hotel.
“This could be easily resolved. These parents are already at the end of an incredibly long and difficult journey, and urgent action is needed to support them. Ideally they should be permitted to quarantine at home but at the very least arrangements should be made to ensure they have access to all of the necessary supports and equipment they need at the hotel.
“Urgent action is now needed for these parents.”