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Report of the Joint Committee on International Surrogacy to be debated in the Dáil today 

The Government must expedite legislation to end the legal limbo faced by couples and individuals who enter into international surrogacy, according to Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore.

Deputy Whitmore, who chaired the Joint Committee on International Surrogacy, will introduce the committee’s final report to the Dáil today.

“This July will mark one year since the cross-party committee completed its work and published its recommendations in a robust and well considered report. In reaching our conclusions, we took an evidence-based and compassionate approach to what can be an emotive and highly sensitive issue.

“At all times, we had regard to the rights, interests and welfare of children born through surrogacy – both in the past and in the future – as well as the intending parents and surrogates.

“To address legitimate concerns about international surrogacy, a number of safeguards are recommended. This includes a requirement for surrogacy to be legally permitted in the relevant jurisdiction and confirmation that the surrogate mother has provided her consent to the granting of a Parental Order.

“With assisted human reproduction becoming a complex and fast-moving area of healthcare, pathways to parenthood are evolving. However, Ireland has been a laggard in this area for some time and the resulting legal lacuna has had a significant impact on children born through surrogacy and their families.

“Even though the Government’s Assisted Human Reproduction Bill provides for domestic surrogacy, it ignores the reality that many couples or individuals will still embark on an international surrogacy journey. If left unregulated, this could result in children, surrogates and intended parents being exposed to exploitation.

“The obstacles created by this legal vacuum are considerable. If you are the parent in a couple who is not biologically identified as being connected to your child, you face numerous barriers, from travel restrictions to not being recognised as a next of kin in a medical emergency.

“Last December, the Government announced it had accepted the majority of recommendations in the committee’s report and had granted approval for policy and legislative proposals on international surrogacy – including recognition of certain past surrogacy arrangements. It is now proposed to insert these provisions, once approved, into the Health (Assisted Human Reproduction) Bill 2022.

“While this was a welcome development, those campaigning for State recognition and regulation of international surrogacy are understandably frustrated by the slow rate of progress since then. Today, I will be asking the Minister to accelerate the legislative process and set out a clear timeline to end the ongoing legal limbo faced by families.”

April 27, 2023

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