Joint Statement from: LGBT Ireland, Equality for Children, the National Infertility Support and Information Group, Rainbow Families Equality Network, Irish Gay Dads and Independent Living Movement Ireland
Government must act immediately on recommendations from Report reviewing Children’s Rights and Irish Law.
The publication this month of the Report by Prof. Conor O’Mahony, Special Rapporteur on Child Protection on the rights of the child in relation to donor assisted human reproduction (DAHR) is strongly welcomed by the LGBT Ireland, Equality for Children, the National Infertility Support and Information Group, Rainbow Families Equality Network, Irish Gay Dads and Independent Living Movement Ireland who have joined forces to form the Assisted Human Reproduction (AHR) Coalition Group.
The AHR Coalition Group is made up of organisations and support groups representing individuals and couples who have, or are planning to, access AHR treatment, including single people, couples from the LGBT+ community, disabled people and couples where a health or fertility condition is preventing them from conceiving a child.
The recommendations contained within the report provide clear and practical legal solutions, which uphold the rights and best interests of children including their right to family life, identity and non-discrimination.
In doing so, the report recognises the reality of AHR treatment which can often involve needing to access services abroad. The report also highlights the need for legislation to address the real-life circumstances of individual children including those already born, so they can establish a legal parental relationship to their parents who love and care for them daily.
The report also considers in detail the regulation of surrogacy including what form of regulation is optimal from a children’s rights perspective. In doing so, Prof. O’Mahony notes that “Ireland’s failure to regulate surrogacy to date has had negative consequences for Irish families, children and parents have been left in vulnerable legal positions for lengthy periods of time due to the failure of the Oireachtas to legislate to address their status” and calls for “an acceptance of the reality of surrogacy as an international phenomenon”.
Equality for Children Chairperson Elaine Cohalan supports this view, stating that “the Government needs to take on board Professor O’ Mahony’s advice to build on the learning from other jurisdictions by publishing AHR legislation that meets the highest international standards, protects all parties involved and makes provisions for both domestic and international surrogacy”.
Acknowledging that recent commencement of provisions from the Children and Family Relationships Act (CFRA) 2015 only provide for recognition of same sex female parents in limited circumstances, the report also recommends amendments to the 2015 Act so more families can avail of this legislation. This includes a recommendation that provision be made for second parents of children born through non-clinical procedures, to be able to make an application for parentage through the District Court. The report also recommends that retrospective declarations of parentage be provided through a Court process where a known donor was used, provided the donor does not object. These recommendations are vital to providing legal parental recognition for many more female same-sex parents not currently covered by the Act.
Ms Cohalan also called on the Government to include provisions in the forthcoming AHR Bill that allow for retrospective declarations of parentage in DAHR and Surrogacy cases, “our organisations support families who have been living in legal limbo for years, with only one parent recognised. This can have far reaching consequences for children and their parents including impacting on citizenship rights, healthcare, childcare, educational provisions, social welfare, inheritance and much more”.
Ms Gillian Keegan, representing the National Infertility Support and Information Group (NISIG), also warmly welcomed the report stating that “the Government should take on board Professor O’ Mahony’s advice in relation to applying learnings from other jurisdictions, providing adequate protection for all parents and children regardless of how, when or where they were conceived, ensuring the intended mother is the legal mother from birth and that provisions are made for both domestic and international surrogacy”.
LGBT Ireland, Equality for Children, the National Infertility Support and Information Group, Rainbow Families Equality Network, Irish Gay Dads and Independent Living Movement Ireland are jointly calling on the Government to ensure no time is wasted in implementing the recommendations from the O’Mahony Report and to also consider the recommendations by the Oireachtas Committee for Health submitted to the Department of Health in relation to the General Scheme of Assisted Human Reproduction Bill 2017.
Queries to: Elaine Cohalan, firstname.lastname@example.org
Full report: https://bit.ly/3mgqWeM
About the AHR Coalition
The driving principle behind the work of the Group is to ensure that equality is secured, and the human rights of children conceived using AHR, their intended parents and families are protected and advanced in laws or policies. The primary objective of the Group is to inform the development of laws or policies pertaining to Assisted Human Reproduction (AHR) from the perspective of the human rights and equality of children conceived using AHR, their intended parents and families.
Current membership of the AHR Coalition
Irish Families Through Surrogacy
Irish Gay Dads