Irish Cabinet to approve comprehensive new surrogacy and assisted human reproduction bill

The new AHR Bill will include provisions for international surrogacy agreements as well as people seeking retrospective parental recognition.

A new bill on surrogacy and assisted human reproduction is to pass cabinet today. The image shows two men holding a baby and feeding it a bottle. They are both wearing blue and white striped shirts and are sitting on a bed with soft toys. Both men have beards and are looking down at the baby. The baby is wearing a light blue jumpsuit and has blue socks on.
Image: alvarog1970 via Shutterstock

The Irish Cabinet is expected to approve a far-reaching new bill legislating for surrogacy and assisted human reproduction (AHR) later today, December 12. 

The AHR Bill, which is to be presented by Health Minister Stephen Donnelly, will govern all aspects of reproductive healthcare and fertility technology in Ireland, as well as issues of domestic surrogacy.

The bill, which passed through the Dáil in March this year, was paused to allow for amendments to be drafted to permit new provisions in respect of interdepartmental governance. With all committee-stage amendments now in place, it is expected to be ratified without further delay.

It is believed that no other state has attempted to provide such a bespoke and comprehensive legislative solution to the issues arising from international surrogacy.

As well as providing legislation for new surrogacy and AHR cases, the bill will also include provisions for retrospective surrogacies. Under these regulations, the High Court may grant a parental order if several criteria are met, including a determination by the Court that it is in the best interests of the child.

The new legislation will also provide protections and formal recognition for families who have already undertaken or will undertake surrogacy arrangements in other jurisdictions. The bill will also ensure that reproductive practices and related research are standardised and that necessary oversight is provided to ensure all conduct is carried out with appropriate consent.


Previous legislation has not provided provisions for international surrogacy arrangements. However, the new amendments will ensure such practices, in particular, that all agreements are pre-approved by the new regulator and that a post-birth Circuit Court process will grant a parental order.

Under current Irish law, the biological or genetic father of a child born through surrogacy may apply for a declaration of parentage, but the second parent is not entitled to apply for the same declaration of parentage, as they are not classed as the birth mother. The new AHR Bill aims to protect not only the safety and rights of the child but also all various parties involved in a surrogacy arrangement.

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