Commercial Surrogacy, Anonymous Egg And Sperm Donations To Be Banned

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that this is being done to assist children conceived through assisted human reproduction to find their donor if they wish.

Leo Varadkar at a news conference speaking about commercial surrogacy

Leo Varadkar has said that anonymous sperm and egg donations and commercial surrogacy could be made illegal in Ireland because of the state’s “history” with children’s rights. An Taoiseach said that “difficult decisions” would have to be considered in any new regulations for assisted human reproduction.

Varadkar stated that children conceived through fertility clinics should be afforded the right to know their donor/s. The AHR bill from 2015 sought to ban the use of anonymous sperm and egg donations, but these sections of the act are yet to be enacted. This bill would be the first of its kind in regulating assisted human reproduction in Ireland.

People who were historically adopted from religious institutions have struggled to trace their biological parents due to a lack of transparency in records from the institution. Mr Varadkar said: “There are many questions that will require decisions by us as to what will and will not be legal, including what forms of surrogacy, whether we will continue to allow the practice of anonymous donation of sperms and eggs.

“I can understand why people would want that to continue but if we are pursuing a child-centred policy, where children have the right to know who their parents are and that speaks to our history, perhaps that is something we should not allow. There are many difficult judgment calls and decisions.”

In this same bill, the government plans to ban commercial surrogacy. This bill would also make it an offence for an Irish solictor to advise a couple on the practice. It was found that Ireland had the second highest use of surrogacy after Israel in a survey conducted this year.

Commercial surrogacy is legal in some US states and countries including India, Russia and Ukraine, it is the practice of paying for surrogacy which differs from altruistic surrogacy where surrogate mothers may be reimbursed for approved expenses but payment of any other consideration or fee is illegal.

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