Surrogacy and privacy

 

Sir, – Evelyn Mahon is correct in her assertion that legislation as proposed in the upcoming Assisted Human Reproduction Bill will boost commercial surrogacy (“No easy answers to surrogacy questions”, Opinion & Analysis, July 18th).

There are many aspects of this legislation and the recently enacted Children and Family Relationships Act (2015) that will encourage prospective parents to travel abroad for treatment.

The absence of legislation in Ireland to date has been far from ideal; however, introducing regulation that erodes the doctor and patient relationship and intrudes into the privacy of individuals is unlikely to be acceptable to many.

Our organisation, the Irish Fertility Counsellors Association, has always advocated parents being open with their children who have been conceived using donor gametes (sperm and eggs) or surrogacy. This “talking and telling” approach should be done in a way that parents see fit, and we as an organisation have always offered support and guidance with this process. However, we know that only about 30 per cent to 40 per cent actually share this information with their children.

Legislation will require that clinics in Ireland record identifiable details of prospective parents attending for treatment with donor gametes on a central register.

Any child subsequently born with the use of donor will have an annotation on their birth certificate indicating that they have been donor conceived.

It is my belief that this will induce many to travel outside the jurisdiction for treatment in order to avoid this process, thereby, bypassing registration and making aspects of the legislation unworkable.

Furthermore, people travelling abroad for services, which are unavailable or unacceptable to them at home, may be more emotionally and economically impacted.

Legislation which makes it easier for children to know their genetic identity is to be welcomed, but if the unintended consequence is to encourage many prospective parents to travel abroad for treatment, it will negate the intention to ensure that all such births are registered in Ireland. – Yours, etc,

MARY McNEANEY,

Chairwoman,

Irish Fertility

Counsellors

Association,

Donnybrook,

Dublin 4.