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Surrogacy and the law

Minister’s rejection of amendments is troubling

Letters to the Editor. Illustration: Paul Scott
The Irish Times - Letters to the Editor.

Sir, – Your article “Minister and Senator trade insults over fertility legislation” (News, June 21st) curiously omitted the fact that the heated exchange happened over Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly’s rejection of amendments tabled by Senators Sharon Keoghan and Rónán Mullen to prevent anyone convicted of a child sexual offence or of a criminal offence against a surrogate mother from availing of surrogacy services. I doubt couples whose heartbreaking stories of infertility we’ve read in this newspaper during the months of deliberations on the Bill would be happy to be used to create such a loophole for abuse of children and women.

Our legislators should do better. – Yours, etc,




Co Dublin.

Sir-, – Contrary to Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly’s opinion, opponents of surrogacy do not “seek to control women”.

As a pro-choice feminist, I oppose surrogacy because it asks that women put their lives and health at risk to fulfil the desires of others, turning women’s bodies into a service and treating both mother and child as commodities. There is a huge power imbalance as surrogates are almost universally poorer and younger than those who commission them.

As Senator Ronan Mullen said in the Seanad on Thursday, “The reality of surrogacy is that it is the exploitation of the poor by the rich”. The exploitation of women and children is something every decent person should oppose, and something our government recognised less than a decade ago when Ireland criminalised the purchasing of sex.

It is clear that the Minister is determined to pass this legislation in the next few weeks. But the Health (Assisted Human Reproduction) Bill 2022 is a global first. Surrogacy is illegal across Europe, and no other country has attempted to legalise international surrogacy for its residents. For that reason it is vital that this legislation is robustly debated and all amendments to protect those most vulnerable in surrogacy – the mothers and babies – are considered. – Yours, etc,



Co Meath.