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Assisted Reproduction

Ireland Removes Surrogacy From Draft Of Family Law Bill

The Government has dropped plans to legislate for surrogacy as part of an overhaul of family law. File Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Disappointing news out of Ireland:

The Government has dropped plans to legislate for surrogacy as part of an overhaul of family law. The general scheme of the Children and Family Relationships Bill, a wide-ranging reform package published earlier this year by then Minister for Justice Alan Shatter, set out plans to ban commercial surrogacy and clarify the rights of children born through surrogacy. In a revised version of the scheme, published yesterday by Mr Shatter’s successor, Frances Fitzgerald, surrogacy has been removed altogether.

Ms Fitzgerald said this was because a Supreme Court decision on the issue was pending and that there were “critical issues needing to be resolved”. She added more policy work and consultation was required on the issue.

The Bill, designed to take account of the growing complexity and diversity of modern families, proposes key changes to the laws on adoption, custody and assisted human reproduction. Whereas existing laws state that only married couples or sole applicants can seek to adopt a child, the scheme published earlier this year extended the right to adopt to same-sex civil partners.

The latest version of the scheme goes further, by allowing cohabiting couples who have been living together for three years in a committed relationship to adopt children jointly. Ms Fitzgerald said it would be easier for unmarried fathers to become guardians automatically if they lived with the child’s mother for 12 months, including at least three months following a child’s birth. “This should particularly benefit young unmarried fathers who may not be in a position to live with their child’s mother for 12 months before the child’s birth,” she said.

Another addition to the draft law, which was approved by Government this week, is a provision to allow a donor-conceived child to trace his or her identity. Under the proposals, clinics and hospitals would be required to provide details of donors and children to a national register. As a result, future use of anonymous donor eggs or sperm would be banned.

The first draft of the Bill was published last February on the eve of a Supreme Court appeal by the State against a High Court decision that the genetic parents of twins born to a surrogate were entitled to be registered on the birth certificates as their legal parents. The legal definition of motherhood is central to the appeal. The seven-judge Supreme Court is expected to give to give its judgment next month.

The removal of surrogacy from the draft law will mean that the existing provisions, which provide for a father to secure parentage of a child born through surrogacy, if genetically linked to the child, will continue to apply.


One comment for “Ireland Removes Surrogacy From Draft Of Family Law Bill”

  • Elaine

    I passed my surrogacy program in Ukrainian center of human reproduction BioTexCom. I know that couples who had failed in other ivf clinics, were succeeded there, even after the first try. I have my beautiful daughter and very happy. Actually I can tell that every clinic has its pros and cons. As I understood my clinic is very popular among foreigners. Always when I came in clinic, it was full of clients from different countries. There were huge lines to doctor. Always we spent much time waiting the procedures. Clinic is not big and sometimes it was a problem to find a place to rest. And I remember their rude nurse)) But advantages of the clinic are more significant… As for surrogate mother, I wanted to choose it by myself. But doctor said that it was her job to find appropriate surrogate. Not important how she looks like, but they should check her health properly. I didn’t like it, but finally I was completely satisfied with doctor’s choice. Our surrogate was clever and handsome enough) I hadn’t any doubts that she was caring about our child.Surrogate mother is always under the control. Every month they take all analysis, make the tests, and do the ultrasound. Intended parents can come in clinic every month and control all the procedure. And It is a big pleasure to be present on ultrasound and see a baby) During the last trimester there are special nurses who watch the surrogate day and night. If intended parents cannot be present every month in clinic, managers send ultrasound by mail. As about me, I wasn’t very nervous thinking about surrogate. I was sure that she was in good hands) As for biological material, clinic positions itself as a clinic which works with fresh material, cause it increases the success. I read that during the defrosting material loses its quality. And they transfer blastocyst ( five days old embryo), It also increases the possibility of implantation. I read a lot of articles about it. Nowadays this is proven. Concerning visits, as I remember it should be 3 times. First to check your health conditions and signing the contract. Second time it was when surrogate was chosen and doctor should take our biological material. And the third one for child registration. But as I said it can be much more if you want to visit ultrasound)

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