A life-changing surrogacy

Mon, Mar 5, 2012, 00:00

Sir, – Since Alan Shatter’s “guidelines” were introduced (Home News, February 22nd) there has been much discussion in the media about the lack of legislation and also the “abuse” of the surrogate mother.

I think it is very important for the public in Ireland to understand that the lack of legislation refers to Ireland and not the countries where surrogacy is legalised. Our daughter was born in India, a country most of us would refer to as Third World; however this Third World country is way ahead of Ireland in protecting the rights of the surrogate mother and the child.

Before being accepted into the surrogacy programme in India, Michael and I had to undergo rigorous investigations into our background. We met our proposed surrogate mother and her family. All proposed surrogates in India receive full and informed counselling prior to being accepted into the surrogacy programme. They also have their own legal team who translate relevant documents into their language. All must have previously given birth to their own child. All surrogates are housed before, during and after the birth of the child: this is for their welfare and that of the child. During this time the surrogate is not allowed to do manual work and they are provided with a balanced and nutritional diet and all medical attention they require.

During our surrogate’s pregnancy we received scans of our baby every two weeks. In addition we received a full medical and progress report on the health of the surrogate and the progress of the baby on a twice weekly basis.

Robyn was born at 32 weeks, weighing just 3lbs. She was hospitalised in the neo-natal unit for a week before being discharged.

Our surrogate was kept in hospital for five days after the birth, after which time she returned to the surrogate accommodation for four weeks.

Before leaving India with our daughter we had to present ourselves to the Indian ministry for foreign affairs for a further investigation into our situation. This is to prevent child trafficking in the eyes of the Indian law.

In terms of the surrogacy arrangement: it is all done before a team of lawyers, representing both the commissioning parents and the surrogate. All medical and associated expenses incurred prior, during and after the process are the responsibility of the commissioning parents.

The experience for both us and our surrogate has been life- changing.

Our surrogate now has a home and is able to provide an education for her two children. If this is abuse then, I am all for abuse.

In Alan Shatter’s “guidelines” he suggests commissioning parents leave their children abroad, while they, the parents return to Ireland to battle the courts for a declaration of parentage in the hope of receiving a passport and therefore a means of bringing their child home. In the case of an animal, at least it can be brought into the country and quarantined here.

Since returning to Ireland, we have been to court on several occasions. We’ve brought our lives and that of our daughter into the public domain in order to raise the profile of surrogacy and the lack of legislation in Ireland. Robyn is now 18 months old, to date she has no parents, no guardians, no citizenship and no passport. I think this clearly shows which is the Third World country! – Yours, etc,

CATHERINE MAYE,

Castlepark Road, Glasthule,

Co Dublin.