Politicians meet with LGBTQ+ groups to discuss Irish surrogacy legislation

Irish Families Through Surrogacy organised the demonstration outside Leinster House which saw government officials engage with concerned parties to discuss the Assisted Human Reproduction Bill.

Irish Families Through Surrogacy hold a banner alongside Roderick O'Gorman and representatives from LGBTQ+ groups as they met to discuss Irish surrogacy legislation outside the Dáil.
Image: Twitter: @rodericogorman

On Tuesday morning, November 2, a demonstration spearheaded by Irish Families Through Surrogacy (IFTS) was held outside Leinster House in order to express concerns over the future of Irish surrogacy legislation. This came after reports emerged stating that the forthcoming Assisted  Human Reproduction Bill (AHR), would not include provisions for international surrogacy, leaving thousands of families vulnerable and without legal protection.

IFTS supported by Rosanna Davidson were joined by families, their children, and representatives from other relevant organisations such as LGBT Ireland, Equality for Children, Rainbow Family Equality Network, Irish Gay Dads, NISIG and ILMI.

Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Intergration, and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman TD, met with demonstrators outside of the Dáil, and later tweeted about the “Importance of recognising families and international surrogacy and the forthcoming AHR Bill.”

He continued by saying that, “We’re committed to making progress on this.”

Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee TD, echoed this sentiment, stating that “The Government has committed to dealing with international surrogacy” and herself, O’Gorman and Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD, “will be bringing the proposals to Cabinet in the coming weeks.”

According to the IFTS, approximately 95% of Irish families who have used surrogacy have done so abroad, and legislation is needed to provide protection for parents and children alike.

One parent present at the demonstration, Gillian Lynch, said that at present, she is not recognised by the Government as her son’s legal mother.

“I can’t give consent, I’m not entitled to maternity leave, there’s loads of other issues that affect our family […] and we just really want our child to be treated equally and to have the same rights as every other Irish child.”

Another demonstrator, Brendan Spratt, similarly is not recognised as his son Theo’s parent. He said that at the moment, his best option is to become a guardian, but “guardianship relinquishes when Theo turns eighteen. So when he turns eighteen, in the eyes of the law we’d go back to being a legal stranger, and that’s just totally unfair.”

A letter outlining the concerns of affected parties was presented to government representatives outside of Leinster House, which was signed by solicitors, barristers and academics who also share their views.

Prior to Tuesday’s gathering, IFTS said that: “The AHR Bill requires comprehensive provision for international surrogacy and an appropriate route for the establishment of legally recognised, parental relationship for all existing and future children born through surrogacy. This is necessary to protect the welfare and best interests of all Irish children and their families in Ireland.”

It appears that the demonstration was a great success, with Government officials committing to progressing Irish legislation for surrogacy users. To find out more information about Irish Families Through Surrogacy, visit their Twitter and Instagram pages.

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