Oireachtas committee set up to examine international surrogacy

Special committee to make recommendations for regulation of surrogacy arrangements

At present the surrogate mother, who gives birth, is considered the legal mother of the child under Irish law. Photograph: iStock

At present the surrogate mother, who gives birth, is considered the legal mother of the child under Irish law. Photograph: iStock

 

An Oireachtas committee is to be set up to examine the regulation of international surrogacy, to make proposals for new laws in the area to the Government in a number of months.

At present in Ireland there is no regulation of surrogacy, and under Irish law the surrogate mother, who gives birth, is considered the legal mother of the child.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly is progressing legislation to provide for assisted human reproduction, which will also set out under what conditions surrogacy will be permitted in Ireland.

However, currently most surrogacies involve parents entering into commercial arrangements with women outside of the State, often from countries such as Ukraine.

In a statement, the Government said it had decided to set up a special joint Oireachtas committee to examine the issue of international surrogacy.

The special committee will be tasked with producing a report within three months, setting out recommendations for the regulation of the area, at which point Ministers will consider what legal changes may be required.

Families have been campaigning for reforms of surrogacy arrangements in Ireland for a number of years. At present the intending mother of the child, who is not the birth mother, is not entitled to apply for a declaration of parentage under Irish law, even if she provided the egg used in the pregnancy and is the genetic mother of the child.

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said reform of the area must ensure “the rights, interests and welfare of all persons involved in international surrogacy” were considered. This included children born through surrogacy, surrogate mothers, parents and intending parents, she said.

The three-month timeframe for the committee, with an option for an extension, was “ambitious”, she said.