Legislation to create an authority to regulate fertility treatments, surrogacy to become law today

Ireland one of only two EU member states not to have a regulatory system in place

Infertility and domestic surrogacy legislation is set to reach its final stages in the Seanad and become law

Landmark legislation to deal with infertility and domestic surrogacy in Ireland is set to reach its final stages in the Seanad today and become law.

Ireland is one of just two European Union (EU) member states not to have a regulatory system in place.

The Health (Assisted Human Reproduction) Bill was published and introduced in 2022 and has taken two years to get through the Dáil and Seanad.

But it has taken more than 20 years to get to this stage. In 2000 then minister for health Micheál Martin established the Commission on Assisted Human Reproduction, which aimed to established how to regulate fertility treatments.


The commission reported in 2005 but it has taken almost 20 years since then to finally put a system in place. The one advantage of it taking two decades has meant it is seen as being much more progressive.

The referendums on marriage equality and to remove the Eighth Amendment on abortion have made the legislation somewhat less restrictive.

One of the main elements of the legislation is the establishment of the Assisted Human Reproduction Regulatory Authority (AHRRA), which will regulate technological advances in fertility and will also control fertility clinics which have up to now been unregulated.

‘Up to 2,000’ children born through surrogacy awaiting formal recognition of parentageOpens in new window ]

The legislation deals with domestic “altruistic” surrogacy, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis and embryo screening procedures.

A number of areas because of their complexity, including international surrogacy, are set to be dealt with in further legislation, with the emphasis on getting this legislation passed before the summer recess and the authority established.

The legislation includes a measure to allow the embryos of a deceased person whose partner survives to be used to achieve a pregnancy. But concerns have been raised that the legislation as amended, will only allow a female surviving partner use embryos and not a male. This is one of the issues expected to be considered in the debate.

The Bill clarifies the legal position of children born from fertility treatments and it aims to ensure research and new reproductive technologies are undertaken with a prescribed ethical context.

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran is Parliamentary Correspondent of The Irish Times