Amendments to surrogacy legislation which is due to be published shortly must give legal recognition to parents of babies born through surrogacy, a Dublin Senator has said. Seanad Spokesperson on Children, Disability, Equality, Integration & Youth, Mary Seery-Kearney hopes the forthcoming Assisted Human Reproduction Bill with amendments will be a watershed moment in regularising the legal relationship of parents and their children born through surrogacy.
Senator Seery Kearney said “I believe that the long-awaited amendments to the Assisted Human Reproduction Bill 2022 are due to be published shortly. “It has been one year since the Government approved proposals on international surrogacy. “Families who avail of surrogacy to have children are in urgent need of the framework and protections within the anticipated amendments and for those children already born via surrogacy.
“A precarious situation currently exists whereby if some terrible event denied a child born through surrogacy their biological father, the second parent currently has no legal relationship with their child, and that position must change with a pathway provided for regularising these lifelong relationships. “Second parents often have to rely on the kindness of strangers to allow them make decisions about their own children, or having to produce proof of court orders to enable them to prove they have the authority to make simple decisions.
“We have seen recently the publication of the referendum wording on the definition of the family. It is important to remember that for a family with two children – one born via their mother, and one born via surrogacy – the current family provisions in the Constitution extend only to that first child. “The proposed amendments would not cover surrogacy families despite their broad inclusive scope, so this presses why these amendments are especially required.
“I do hope that consideration has been fully given to surrogacy leave along the lines of maternity and adoptive leave. “Currently there are no provisions for intended parents of surrogate born children to take maternity type leave. While some employers have introduced their own bespoke provisions, many have not and parents of surrogate born children are obliged to take unpaid leave, give up their jobs or go back to work prematurely as nothing in law affords them state supported time with their children. “Any new legislative measures on international surrogacy must include the protection of the rights of all children born as a result of international surrogacy arrangements and also to safeguard the welfare of surrogate mothers.
“I also hope that a provision will be made to extend the IVF funding supports to families growing through surrogacy,” Senator Seery Kearney concluded.