Press Release For Immediate Release


Dublin, Friday, 14th October 2022: Today, three LGBTQ+ advocacy groups are calling on the Government and the Oireachtas Committee on Health to ensure that children born to same-sex couples are treated equally in the eyes of the State. Equality for Children, Irish Gay Dads and LGBT Ireland are advocating for recommendations from the final report by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on International Surrogacy and by the Government’s own Special Rapporteur for Child Protection, Professor Conor O’ Mahony, be included in the final Assisted Human Reproduction (AHR) Bill currently being discussed by the Oireachtas Committee on Health.

Since all same-sex couples require some form of donor assisted human reproduction (DAHR) procedure to conceive a child themselves it is imperative that legislation on assisted human reproduction is inclusive of all LGBTQ+ families. Unfortunately, however, the majority of children born
into LGBTQ+ families are still prevented from having a legal parent-child relationship with both of their parents.

The AHR Bill which is currently before the Oireachtas Committee on Health offers a chance for many Irish LGBTQ+ families to finally have equal rights afforded to them as all other Irish citizens enjoy, namely by addressing key areas including;

● Bridging the gaps in existing legislation in the Children and Family Relationships Act, (CFRA) 2015, which has created numerous problems for existing and prospective same-sex female led families in Ireland because of the narrow framework and definitions for children born and
conceived in line with the Act.

● Retrospective recognition of the children, and their families, already born throughinternational surrogacy.

● Full legal recognition of all children born through international surrogacy.

● Pre-birth determination in relation to parental rights.

● That a high standard be applied when evaluating surrogacy destinations and providers to ensure that all parties to the surrogacy arrangement, i.e. egg donors, surrogate mothers and Intended Parents are making fully informed decisions, based on independent medical and legal advice.

The current CFRA Act has left hundreds of children of same-sex female couples in legal limbo with no way to establish a legal relationship to both of their parents, who love and care for them on a daily basis. The consequences can be far reaching for families in this situation, particularly when children are sick, need to establish citizenship, require legal documents such as a passport and when it comes to tax status, inheritance and in the event of marital breakup. Consequences can be even more devastating in the event of the death of the child’s birth mother leaving the child and their second parent to deal with the courts to establish a legal relationship with the risk of wider family members contesting the same.

There is no surrogacy legislation in Ireland. 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 non-biological parent currently has no pathway to parenthood and is a legal stranger to their child.

The LGBTQ+ community has had to fight tooth and nail at every juncture for equality in Ireland, with the struggle to be seen as equal citizens continuing to this very day. The decriminalisation of homosexuality only took place in 1993. Back then, Ireland was an outlier when it came to LGBTQ+
rights. Since then we have made important steps towards a truly equal society for all Irish citizens, regardless of their sexuality. In 2010 same-sex couples had for the first time the ability to have their relationship recognised by the State with the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010 however this legislation did not take into account the children of these families until 2016. The Marriage Equality referendum in 2015 resulted in a first for any nation to have same-sex marriage legalised by popular vote, with the approval of 61% of Irish voters. This led to the thirty-fourth amendment of the constitution and Marriage Act 2015.

It is estimated that up to 10.8% of the adult population in Ireland (405,500) identify as LGBTQ+. According to the 2016 census, there were 6,034 LGBTQ+ family units in Ireland. That’s 12,068 people in Ireland in cohabiting same-sex relationships. 591 of these family units had children. With the
average number of children per family standing at 1.38, it can be deduced therefore that, in 2016, there were 815 children (under 18) in Ireland living with their LGBTQ+ parents. It is generally accepted that census figures relating to the LGBT+ community are lower than the reality due to underreporting. With the passing of the Marriage Act 2015, the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 and greater social visibility of LGBTQ+ families, we expect this census 2022 data to increase significantly. Earlier this year, independent research by iReach Insights revealed for the first time the public’s opinions on the topic of surrogacy in Ireland. The survey questioned a nationally representative sample of Irish adults (1,002 voting age people) during the month of May 2022. The results reveal an overwhelming majority, 81%, support the inclusion of international surrogacy in the Assisted Human Reproduction (AHR) bill. This jumps to 87% support amongst all females and again to 87% amongst adults aged 25 – 34 years old.

Over two thirds (68%) of adults feel strongly about the inclusion of international surrogacy in the AHR bill. The majority (80%) of adults think all Irish children should have the right to a legal relationship to the person that is genetically their mother or father. The results mirror those of the 2013 Constitutional Convention which resulted in a vote of 81 to 12 in favour of changing Irish law to incorporate the rights to parentage, guardianship, and upbringing of children. The convention was tasked with debating the rights to parental relationships in the context of LGBTQ+ relationships.


For more information, please contact;
Shane Lennon on 087 900 0320 or [email protected]