On 4th November 2019, Simon Harris signed the commencement order for parts 2 & 3 of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015, which will allow for certain same-sex parents to be recognised on their child’s birth cert from 5th of May 2020.


In a video statement shared by the Department of Heath, Minister Simon Harris says signing this commencement is “an important step towards equality in our country and it’s something I very much welcome and look forward to seeing it progressing.”


He continues by stating, “I will be the first to acknowledge that there’s more to do in this area. We now need to bring forward the Assisted Human Reproduction and regulate surrogacy in our country and IVF for the first time ever, and I also want to look at how we best support families who already have children in our country and has those children through surrogacy as well.” Watch the full statement below.


LGBT Ireland warmly welcomes the Commencement Order signed by the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, TD which will see Parts 2 & 3 of the CFRA commence on 5th May 2020. This will allow same sex female couples who conceived a child in a fertility clinic, to both be named as legal parents on their child’s birth certificate.


Parts 2 & 3 of the Act, the last remaining provisions of the 2015 law to be commenced, will enable vital systems changes to be operationalised including the establishment of the Donor Register and the system for registering births to enable two parents of the same sex to be registered. These changes go some way towards modernising the law and systems in Ireland to recognise LGBT+ families.


Many families won’t be celebrating


Ms Paula Fagan, CEO of LGBT Ireland did highlight that “there are many families who won’t be celebrating, as they will not be covered by this law which fails to meet the rights, interests and needs of children born to couples who didn’t access a clinic to conceive or who conceived through surrogacy. These families remain in legal limbo, which can have far reaching consequences for them, including in the areas of medical consent, citizenship, passports and inheritance.”


LGBT Ireland CEO Paula Fagan with Simon Harris


LGBT Ireland in collaboration with many of the families affected, have set out detailed legal proposals to Minister Harris and his Department which could recognise intended parents while also protecting every child’s right to information on their genetic identity, where available.


Paula Fagan, CEO also stated “We need further law reform in Ireland so that children can establish a legal parental relationship to both of their parents who care for them. This is in the best interest of children and needs to be urgently progressed”.


LGBT Ireland also noted that the Minister said he is looking at a process to consider the gaps feeding in to the Assisted Human Reproduction Bill and welcomed that.


Find out more about LGBT+ family rights on our Parenting Page, and read the Department of Health press release here