International surrogacy should be permitted under Irish law, committee recommends

International surrogacy arrangements should be permitted under Irish law, according to recommendations from a special Oireachtas committee.
International surrogacy should be permitted under Irish law, committee recommends

James Cox

International surrogacy arrangements should be permitted under Irish law, according to recommendations from a special Oireachtas committee.

The Committee on International Surrogacy, which was given three months after being established by Government, will release its recommendations on Wednesday.

Surrogacy in Ireland is currently unregulated.

This means that Irish children who are born through surrogacy to either opposite sex couples, same sex couples or couples/individuals who have medical and/or fertility challenges have no legal relationship with their parents once they arrive home to Ireland.

To be granted parental rights, the child's genetic father must complete a costly, long court process which can often leave the child legally vulnerable for years.

The child's mother or non-biological parent currently has no pathway to parenthood and is a legal stranger to their child.

The committee will recommend that a parental order system should be used to transfer parentage from the surrogate to the intended parents in international surrogacies.

The recommendations include the following:

  • International surrogacy arrangements should be permitted under Irish law once the agreement and process has taken place in a jurisdiction that does not prohibit the practice.
  • Independent legal, medical and psychological advice must be given to the surrogate and proof of the same offered to Irish authorities.
  • The agreement needs to be in writing and include a financial plan to include all payments to the surrogate, medical clinics and any other third parties.
  • A compensated model which follows the current framework in the AHR Bill is recommended by the committee which would see the surrogate reimbursed for reasonable expenses.
  • Once these steps are followed pre-conception the intended parents would need to submit proof of the same to the newly created AHHRA for pre-conception approval. Then a court application could be submitted where the surrogate gives her consent at a remote hearing between day 7 and day 21 after birth. Once complete a parental order could be issued to the intended parents.
  • It is recommended that the rules on citizenship in the case of children born through international surrogacy to Irish parents should be amended to offer citizenship arising from the parental order.

The AHR Coalition gathered outside Leinster House today with friends, families and supporters including Government ministers, senators and TDs along with members of the opposition parties to celebrate the overwhelming endorsement by the committee and its recommendation for international surrogacy to be included in the drafted Assisted Human Reproduction (AHR) Bill.

The AHR Coalition is made up of representative groups; Equality for Children, Irish Gay Dads, Irish Families Through Surrogacy,
The National Infertility Support Group, LGBT Ireland and Independent Living Movement Ireland.

Chairperson of the AHR) Coalition, Elaine Cohalan said: “On behalf of the AHR Coalition I would like to sincerely thank the committee for all their hard work and dedication to examine this important issue that affects so many families. For thousands of Irish families up and down the country, today is a moment to pause and celebrate.

"Irish parents who have had children via international surrogacy have been fighting for over 20 years for legislation to be brought in to recognise both parents of children born through surrogacy and ensure that their children are protected like any other Irish child in the eyes of the law.

"The Taoiseach Micheál Martin when Health Minister in March 2000 established a commission to examine the very same thing and since then it has been a continuous fight for legislation to catch up with modern Irish family planning."

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