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New Surrogacy legislation will protect the rights of children, and everyone involved in surrogacy in the past, present and future - Higgins

12th December 2023



The approval of new amendments to surrogacy legislation will protect the rights of children, and everyone involved in surrogacy in the past, present and future, according to a Fine Gael TD.

 

Fine Gael TD Emer Higgins has welcomed the news that Minister for Health received Cabinet approval for legislative amendments to the Assisted Human Reproduction Bill which will provide for International Surrogacy.

 

Deputy Higgins said “I know there’s a lot of unknowns still for couples going through surrogacy and families through surrogacy, but I am glad we now have a little more clarity”.

 

“The legislation proposes arrangements for future international surrogacy arrangements – namely that they will be pre-approved by the new Authority/Regulator, and that a post-birth Circuit Court process will grant a parental order. For retrospective surrogacies the High Court may grant a parental order on the basis of a number of criteria being met, including a determination by the Court that it is in the best interests of the child. This is a significant because currently both intended parents are unable to apply to the courts for a parental order – this will change under the new legislation and ensure both intending parents have full parental rights.  

 

“I was very honoured to serve as the Vice Chair of the Joint Committee on International Surrogacy. During our hearings, we heard from many incredible witnesses, legal experts, health professionals and most importantly people who had direct experience of surrogacy, including members of the LGBTQI community.” 

 

“For me their stories and their experience were incredibly powerful. For those families the lack of clarity and legal recognition has an impact on their daily lives when it comes to basics like permission slips for schools and a more profound impact when dealing with the bigger hurdle’s life throws at us all.” 

 

“Ireland is unique in what it aims to achieve – no other State has attempted to provide such a bespoke and comprehensive legislative solution to the issues arising from its own citizens engaging in international surrogacy.”

 

“These parents, many of whom live in our local community, have gone down the surrogacy route to become a family but are left in legal limbo because, in Ireland, we did not have adequate surrogacy legislation. Having legislation like this that recognises international surrogacy is vital for those families and future families who go down the international surrogacy route and I’m pleased that, at long last, we are one step closer to that. 

 

“The next step is for Committee Stage of this legislation to pass, which is due to commence in January” concluded Higgins.

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