Ireland Pushes For Surrogacy Legislature

Recently, the issue of surrogacy was brought to congress in Ireland. Historically, the island is not surrogacy-friendly due to their parenting and parental rights laws, causing many Irish residents to turn to International Surrogacy as a way of growing their families. However, with the recent invasion of Ukraine, many of those intended parents are now in a very difficult position.

The Current State of Surrogacy in Ireland

Currently, there are no laws regarding surrogacy in Ireland – it is neither legal or illegal. However, getting custodial rights of the child for its biological parents is a nightmare due to existing rules surrounding guardianship.

In Ireland, all laws regarding surrogacy are considered covered by laws regarding non-surrogate births. This means that the person who gives birth to the child is considered the legal mother. Any child born in Ireland through surrogacy would then be the legal child of the surrogate mother, not the biological parents. In addition, if the surrogate mother is married at or around the time of the birth, their husband is considered the legal father of the child. If the surrogate is not legally married, the biological father could be determined the father of the child.

So, according to Irish law, after the birth of the child, the biological mother will have no legal connection to her child and not be able to make any legal, school, or health choices until they can be adopted. In order to receive legal guardianship or custody, the biological mother would then have to prove to the court her involvement and importance in the child’s day-to-day life during the first two years. This is the lesser of the time periods, as if the couple is not married, the wait is longer.

In a surrogate situation, the biological mother would not be allowed to take maternity leave.

Another major issue is that if the parents decide to adopt the child from the surrogate, this must be done through the Adoption Authority of Ireland, which does not allow private adoptions. No private adoptions means that there is no guarantee that the child would be placed with their intended parents, as their adoption would be open to the public.

While there are some bills in the works for surrogacy, they only apply to altruistic surrogacy, where the gestational carrier is not paid.

What Happened?

Last month, the Oireachtas committee started to examine laws that would regulate surrogacy in Ireland. Senator Sharon Keogan was one of the vehement opponents of surrogacy, which unfortunately revealed a terrible bias in the process.

After being rebutted for her opinions regarding surrogacy by several of her committee members, it was expressed to her that her views were “bigoted”. Then, the review was suspended, as committee members felt that people had been waiting for a long time to have these issues reviewed and were instead becoming prey to a media frenzy.

We’ll keep our eyes on this story moving forward, and hope to see inclusive surrogacy reform for Ireland.

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