The Children and Families Act 2015 introduced some rights for same sex parents and those planning parenthood. This included extending the right to apply for Guardianship to non-biological parents, provided they are married, civilly partnered or co-habiting with the child’s other parent, and they have been parenting the child for more than 2 years. The right to apply to Adopt was also extended to civil partners and co-habitants by the Act.
Provisions in the 2015 Act which will allow certain female non-birth parents to be recognised as legal parents of their children, come into operation on 4th May 2020. This will mean that female same-sex parents that meet these provisions will be able to be named on their child’s birth certificate. See our FAQ document in useful downloads for more information.
Guardianship is the collection of rights and duties that parents have, or can acquire, in respect of their child or children.
The biological mother of the child is automatically a guardian. The Children and Family Relationship Act 2015 introduced provisions which means that a spouse, civil partner or cohabitant (have to have co-habited with the other parent for over 3 years), can apply for guardianship provided they have shared parenting responsibility for the child for over 2 years. The applicant must apply to the District Court for Guardianship.
Assisted Human Reproduction Services
There is no legislation in Ireland governing AHR, although the Government have published draft legislation called the General Scheme for Assisted Human Reproduction 2017, which will regulate this area when the Bill is passed. In recent years, more clinics have opened up their services to same-sex female couples, however until the regulations are in place it is uncertain whether they can be legally obliged to do so. See useful links on this page for clinics who do treat same sex female couples.
There is no legislation in Ireland dealing with surrogacy, however the General Scheme of Assisted Human Reproduction 2017, does continue provisions to introduce limited surrogacy to Ireland. This legislation is at a very early stage of debate and will take some time to become law.
For those couples who have or plan to undertaken surrogacy abroad, 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 downloads on this page or visit Irish Gay Dads and Equality for Children for peer support and active campaigns in this area.
The Adoption Amendment Act 2017, commenced provisions in the Children and Family Relationship Act 2015, which allows for married, civilly partnered or co-habiting couples, to apply to adopt a child jointly. It is also possible to apply to adopt as a single applicant.
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
Treoir, an organisation which provides information for unmarried parents, has 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 downloads on this page.
LGBT Pathways to Parenthood – Proposals for Reform
A Guide to the Legal Recognition of Parenting Relationships for LGBTQ Families
Dept of Justice – Guide To Legal Issues In Relation To Surrogacy
54 kb | pdf
Voices of Children Report
3240 kb | pdf
Parts 2&3 of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 FAQ
Legal Pathways to Parenthood for LGBTI+ Families Webinar
Legal Recognition of Parent-Child Relationships in LGBTI+ Parent Families Webinar
COLAGE – Network For Children With LGBT Parents
HSE Becoming a Foster Parent – Leaflet
Treoir – Information for LGBT Parents in Ireland
We Are Family – Magazine For LGBT Parents
Live recording of Children and Family Relationships Act Information Event with FLAC
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