The Assisted Human Reproduction (AHR) Coalition which 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, has called on the Government to implement the recommendations published today by the Special Joint Oireachtas Committee on International Surrogacy which has endorsed a wide range of recommendations to be included in the Assisted Human Reprodution (AHR) Bill, including;

Prospective International Surrogacy

  • 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.

Retrospective International Surrogacy

  • Any rules set out for prospective surrogacy cannot be applied strictly.
  • An individual applying for a declaration of parentage for retrospective surrogacy must have been an intending parent at birth to qualify.
  • Consent of the surrogate should be sought and produced to the court.

The Oireachtas Committee which was established to consider and make recommendations on measures to address issues arising from international surrogacy has spent the past three months hearing from experts in the legal and medical fields from Ireland and internationally, along with personal testimonies from affected individuals and interest groups.

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.

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

Speaking ahead of the gathering outside Leinster House, Chairperson of the Assisted Human Reproduction (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.”

Cohalan continued; “The current Government most recently commissioned a report to examine the rights and best interests of children in the context of donor assisted reproduction and surrogacy. The report which was drafted by Professor Conor O’Mahony, the State’s Special Rapporteur on Child Protection recommended to the Government to legislate for international surrogacy in Irish law as without it children and parents would continue to live in legal limbo. Today’s report by the Government’s Special Joint Oireachtas Committee once again commands the facts and leaves no doubt that international surrogacy must be regulated immediately.