Subscriber OnlyLetter of the Day

Bill does not address the known dangers and exploitative practices of commercial surrogacy arrangements

The genuine struggles of gay people are being weaponised to push for legislation and silence opposition

Letter of the Day

Sir, – Today the Dáil will hear the Report and Final Stages of the Health (Assisted Human Reproduction) Bill 2022, a Bill proposing to legislate on fertility treatments such as IVF and egg and sperm donation. Worryingly, this Bill not only proposes to legalise domestic “altruistic” surrogacy but also international commercial surrogacy.

As a young lesbian, I am horrified that the known dangers and exploitative practices used in surrogacy arrangements have not been adequately addressed by the proposed Bill. This is due to a one-sided consultation, heavily weighted in favour of surrogacy, during the various stages of the Bill’s creation, especially during joint committee stages, where implied claims of homophobia were frequently made.

It is highly concerning that the commodification of women’s bodies and babies is being framed as a “gay rights” issue, and that opposition on this basis is being labelled as “anti-LGBTQIA+.”

As a same-sex attracted individual, I am acutely aware of the struggles and heartbreak faced by members of our community in achieving equal rights and recognition, particularly when starting a family.

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However, I firmly believe that leveraging our fight for equality to justify the commercialisation of surrogacy is both inappropriate and damaging. By the very nature of our sexuality, we cannot conceive biological children with our same-sex partners.

Surrogacy, particularly commercial surrogacy, remains a contentious issue globally, with many countries opting to outlaw or heavily regulate it due to evidence of exploitation, commodification of women’s bodies, and the potential for exploitation of vulnerable women.

Using the banner of gay rights to push through a practice that is banned in numerous countries undermines decades of positive lesbian and gay activism in Ireland.

Several LGBTQ+ and gay rights organisations have called for more lenient provisions in the proposed Bill on the basis that same-sex couples must be entitled to commission a surrogate.

Not all gays believe we are entitled to exploit women’s bodies for our personal desire to have a family or to make babies a product to be purchased.

We must not allow the legitimate fight for gay rights to be co-opted to advance practices that raise profound ethical and moral questions, exploit women in other nations, or create a world where children become a commodity.

Does it not trouble the general public, and indeed the gay community, that the genuine struggles of gay people are being weaponised to push for legislation and silence any opposition?

We saw this happening with the debates surrounding the “Hate Speech” Bill.

Access to surrogacy is not a human right, regardless of your sexuality, so why attempt to use our sexualities as a way to push laws that many of us may disagree with?

Not all gays support the commodification of women’s bodies and babies.

Not all gays agree with our community being used as a tool to create ethically dubious legislation. Not all gays agree with accusations of homophobia being used to shut down opposition to surrogacy. We are not your shield or tool to use in political debates. – Yours, etc,

ANNAIG BIRDY,

Not All Gays,

Dublin.