The Government has tasked its special rapporteur on child protection to examine calls for improved parental rights for LGBT families using surrogacy and other forms of assisted human reproduction.
UCC law lecturer Conor O’Mahony has been asked to review issues relating to the parentage of children born to LGBT families using donor-assisted technologies and the legal position of their parents.
Minister for Health Simon Harris has signalled his willingness to amend forthcoming legislation on assisted human reproduction, based on Dr O'Mahony's recommendations.
Many same-sex parents will soon be able to register both of their names on their child’s birth certificate, but the change does not cover same-sex couples using surrogacy and some other arrangements to have children.
The change will come into effect when Sections 2 and 3 of the Children and Family Relationships Act are commenced on May 5th next.
LGBT families have lobbied Mr Harris on the issue, highlighting the practical realities for their situations.
A same-sex couple, for example, said one woman in the relationship had donated her eggs, which were then carried by the other woman in a successful pregnancy. The woman who gave birth to the child is considered the mother, but the other woman is not, despite having a biological connection.
Last December, the Ministers for Children, Health, Justice, Social Protection and Foreign Affairs met to discuss the issues, responsibility for which is spread across their departments.
They agreed the special rapporteur should examine the issues raised by LGBT families and report back with proposals in early 2020.
A ban on anonymous sperm donation, and the creation of a register for donor-conceived people, will also come into effect when Sections 2 and 3 of the Children and Family Relationships Act are commenced.