Campaigners at Leinster House call for equal rights for children born through surrogacy

Representatives from queer groups such as Equality for Children, LGBT Ireland and Irish Gay Dads were present at the demonstration.

Surrogacy campaigners outside Leinster House.

On Wednesday, July 6, campaigners gathered outside Leinster House to call for equal rights for children born through surrogacy. The demonstration took place on the same day that the Joint Oireachtas Committee on International Surrogacy released a report outlining 32 recommendations that the Government will now use to develop the Assisted Human Reproduction (AHR) Bill.

Among those campaigning were representatives from the AHR Coalition including members of Equality for Children, LGBT Ireland, Irish Gay Dads, Independent Living Movement Ireland, National Infertility Support and Information Group and Irish Families Through Surrogacy. The groups met with politicians such as Táiniste Leo Varadkar, Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris, and Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly.

Speaking at the demonstration was Equality for Children CEO Ranae von Meding who told the crowd: “Today is a huge milestone for families across Ireland. Up until this point, there has been no protection and no legal recognition for children born through surrogacy.

“Children have been living in a legal limbo, and the children that you see here today are as deserving of the legal protection of both of their parents as any other child.”

She welcomed the new report published by the Oireachtas Committee and thanked them for working with open minds and open hearts to help progress the vital legislation.

Speaking exclusively to GCN, she added: “[The report] is overwhelmingly in favour of legislating for children already born through surrogacy and children who are yet to be born through surrogacy.”

Ranae continued: “Today is joyful and hopeful. It’s a day to celebrate, it’s a milestone. We also have so much further to go after today but it is important that we celebrate the wins along the way and today we’re just one step closer.”

Gearóid Kenny Moore from Irish Gay Dads also spoke at the event and to GCN, saying: “The report today is a really significant milestone. I mean, we started with Equality for Children and Irish Gay Dads three years ago, campaigning for the government to give us a framework under which international surrogacy could operate an ethical international surrogacy model, and today’s report delivers that.”

However, he did note, “It’s only a report, so we just need to get it over the line now as a piece of legislation in the House.”

As a parent who would benefit hugely from the legal protection, Gearóid also stated: “From an emotional perspective, that would mean everything because I’m in a situation where I’m at home with three kids, one of whom I have no legal relationship with.

“So just from an emotional perspective, being properly recognised as a family will be huge, but on a practical level, there are so many things I can’t do with my one-year-old daughter because I’m not legally connected to her. I can’t bring her to vaccinations, I can’t open a bank account or I can’t get her a passport,” he said.

Following the release of today’s recommendations and the demonstration outside Leinster House, the Government will now work to develop the AHR Bill which will hopefully provide full protection for children and parents availing of international surrogacy.

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