The AHR legislation published recently provides a definite legal framework for future surrogacies – here in Ireland and abroad, according to a Dublin Senator. Senator Mary Seery-Kearney, who is the Seanad Spokesperson on Children, Disability, Equality, Integration and Youth said: “I welcome the amendments which will provide a clear process by which the parents of children born via surrogacy can ensure they will have life-long legal certainty in their relationship with their children. “As it stands, children born via surrogacy only have a right to a life-long legal relationship with their biological father. This means that when they turn 18, their mother or in the case of same sex male couples, their second father becomes a stranger to them in the eyes of the law.
“These amendments come as a relief to families who have faced this kind of legal uncertainty as they grow their families. Now, they can be reassured that in a very short time their family relationships will be normalised legally. “This framework reflects the exceptional work of the Joint Oireachtas International Surrogacy Committee whose recommendations gave needed protections to women willing to become surrogates, the needs of children born via surrogacy and legal certainty to intending parents.
“Legislative safeguards and standards are crucial to protecting all parties involved. The new pre- conception authorisation process will ensure informed and voluntary participation in surrogacy. Yet, clarification will still need to be sought from the Minister on the confinement of payments to reasonable expenses to prevent restricting international surrogacy avenues, especially for same-sex couples with limited family-building options.
“I want to thank the members of the Interdepartmental Group from Health, Children and Justice, the respective Ministers and the advocacy groups; Irish Families through Surrogacy and Irish Gay Dads, who worked incredibly hard to bring the recommendations of the Committee to reality and who laid bare their struggles to illustrate the clear need for these amendments. The AHR Bill is currently at committee stage and will hopefully progress in a timely fashion through both Houses so that this framework can be on a statutory footing before the end of this term.
“As we re-examine the definition of the family in the upcoming referenda, I am reassured that those who might otherwise have fallen outside even a new enhanced definition will have access to the protections of the constitution.”