Irish LGBTQ+ community welcomes amendments to new surrogacy bill

LGBT Ireland, Equality for Children and Irish Gay Dads have issued a statement on amendments to a new bill governing surrogacy and family relationships.

The image shows members of LGBT Ireland, Equality for Children and Irish Gay Dads during a briefing on the amendments to the new surrogacy bill. In the photograph three people are sitting at a table with a sign behind them which reads
Image: Equality for Children

Following last week’s announcement on December 12 that the government has approved the Committee Stage Amendments on the Assisted Human Reproduction Bill (AHR) governing surrogacy and family relationships, LGBTQ+ community organisations have welcomed the updated regulations but have also expressed concerns that the bill will still fall short of providing equal protection for same-sex families. 

In a statement issued on December 15, LGBT Ireland, Equality for Children, and Irish Gay Dads, who have been canvassing the government to provide a supportive legal framework for LGBTQ+ families, broadly welcomed the new amendments, saying, “The changes agreed on by the cabinet this week will mean that more families will be covered by the Children and Family Relationships Act and that, for the first time, there will be a law in relation to international surrogacy.”

Responding to the announcement, the three LGBTQ+ groups convened a briefing, which was attended by a number of Oireachtas members, including the Minister for Justice Helen McEntee TD, the Labour Party Leader Ivana Bacik TD, and the Chair of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on International Surrogacy.

They also subsequently met with the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, and other officials from his department. Emphasising the importance of the meetings, Pádraig Rice from LGBT Ireland explained, “This has been an important week for our campaign for equality for LGBTQ people and their children.” 

He continued, “We are using every opportunity available to us to ensure that this legislation meets the needs of LGBTQ people and our families. The equality the people voted for in the Marriage Equality Referendum in 2015 won’t be fully realised until this issue is resolved.”

Ranae von Meding from Equality for Children added, “Right now, the majority of children born into LGBTQ+ families are still prevented from having a legal parent-child relationship with both of their parents. We are very happy to hear the news that, after many years of campaigning by our advocacy groups, the Government intends to expand the Children and Family Relationship Act to include more families.” 

She continued, “We have always been outspoken in the need to ensure equality for all children born through donor-assisted conception, and we will continue working with the Minister and the Department of Health to ensure that as many families as possible are covered by these changes.”



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Voicing reservations about the amendments to the bill, Seamus Kearney Martone, from Irish Gay Dads, said, “Irish Gay Dads have a number of concerns about the Government’s surrogacy proposals. If they go ahead as planned, existing families could be forced to go through an expensive High Court procedure to both be recognised as parents. This is a real worry for many.” 

He further explained, “Looking forward, we also have a concern that prospective Irish gay fathers will be prevented from pursuing international surrogacy in countries like the USA. The Government’s proposals must be inclusive of LGBTQ people who have fewer options when it comes to international surrogacy.”

So far, the Health (Assisted Human Reproduction) Bill 2022 was passed at the Second Stage in the Dáil in March 2022. The revised amendments will now be debated in the Dail at the third stage. No date has been set for this.

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