While there are no official figures on the number of LGBT headed families living in Ireland, we know that many LGBT people are parents and that increasing numbers of LGBT people are planning to become parents through variety of pathways.
Here we provide information on Assisted Human Reproductive (AHR) services, information on Fostering and Adoption, and links to information and support for LGBT parents.
There is no legislation in Ireland governing AHR and therefore there is no onus on clinics to provide AHR services to same sex couples and who AHR are provided too is determined by each clinic's ethical guidelines. However there are a small number of fertility clinics which provide fertility advice and services to same sex female couples, see useful links on this page.
There is no legislation in Ireland dealing with the situation where a child is born through surrogacy. The Department of Justice and Equality has published very useful guidelines in relation to citizenship, parentage, guardianship and travel document issues in relation to children born as a result of surrogacy arrangements entered into outside the state, see useful documents.
It is not possible for a couple not married to each other to adopt a child jointly. This applies to both opposite and same sex couples. However, it is possible for a single person to apply to adopt a child. If there is an existing relationship the partner will be assessed as a part of the adoption process. If the adoption goes ahead only the person who has applied to adopt will have legal rights in relation to the adopted child. If you are the adoptive parent you can make a will appointing your partner as a guardian and leaving custody rights to your partner in the event of your death.
If you are considering adoption contact a your Local Adoption Office in the HSE.
It is possible for same sex couples to apply to the HSE to foster a child. If you are interested in fostering, you should contact your Local Fostering Office in the HSE. (Links). The Irish Foster Care Association can also help with any enquiries you might have around fostering a child. See www.ifca.ie
Information and Support for LGBT Parents and their Children
There are 2 websites which provide legal and policy information for same sex parents and those planning parenthood. The Gay and Lesbian Equality Network's (GLEN) website provides information on the main issues in relation to family formation and the lack of legal recognition of same sex parenting in Ireland. Also Treoir, an organisation which provides information for unmarried parents,has just launched a section on their website for LGBT parents, which provides legal information on a range of issues from guardianship to parental leave. See useful links on this page.
To get an insight into the experiences and issues facing children of LGBT parents, Marriage Equality's Voices of Children report, outlines the findings of a consultation with a same group of adult children with lesbian parents. While the experiences of LGBT Parents and those planning parenthood are documented in the first study of its kind undertaken in Ireland, The LGBT Parenthood Study. See useful documents on this page.