LGBT+ Parents Not Seen As Equal To Straight Parents In Ireland

Despite recent reports, proposed changes to the Children and Families Relationship Act will not cover all lesbian parents.

Female same sex parents at home with their daughters, one a baby in arms and the other a toddler playing on the couch

My name is Ranae and I am the same as you. However, if you are straight, I’m not seen as your equal. Neither is my wife. You see, we are a married same sex couple. Despite the passing of Marriage Equality in 2015, we are not treated the same as straight married couples.

We have two beautiful daughters conceived through Reciprocal IVF (my wife’s eggs, and I carried the babies!) Ava is two and our youngest, Arya, is eight weeks old. Our girls are biologically my wife’s, but I gave birth. Because of this, I am seen as their mother under the Irish law. And Audrey, whose DNA is coursing through our children, is seen as a legal stranger. I am married. Yet I am viewed as a single parent. If something were to happen to me, it is unclear who would be ‘next in line’ to our children. It might not be my wife.

There is new legislation coming soon, which will allow for some female same sex couples to gain equal recognition as parents to their children. It has been reported in the media as a big step forward for equality.

However this is a lie.

It is not equality. Because it’s not for everybody. It is only for a select few who meet the very narrow criteria. It will not apply to my wife and I because we did treatment abroad and because we did Reciprocal IVF. It will not apply to many other same sex families. I am happy for those who will be covered under the legislation, but how can it be fair to say that some children are allowed to have their parents recognised and others are not?

Under this new legislation they consider my wife as an ‘egg donor’, which is outrageous. We used her genetic material to conceive our children. Isn’t that what heterosexual couples do when doing IVF? They use their spouse’s genetic material to conceive? The only difference here is our gender. Does that sound like homophobic discrimination to you? Because it sure does to me.

Female same sex parents on the couch at home, their toddler daughter in the middle holding her newborn sister

All I want is for our daughters to be treated the same as yours. No more and no less. Just as equals. I will fight until I have no breath left in me. I will fight for our children. I will not stop until we are all equal.

The early days of parenthood are tough without having to contend with all of this. Trying to recover after a birth is hard enough. And we haven’t had a chance to slow down. People keep telling me to take it easy and to leave all of this until another time. But I can’t. How can I possibly stop fighting this, when our children are not safe? I am only doing what any other Mama would do. I am making sure my babies will always be secure and protected.

And I’m doing this so that our children will grow up in a country that values each citizen equally regardless of the sex of their parents.

© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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