Seanad debates reproductive health bill that would give paid leave rights to LGBTQ+ families

If passed, the bill would give reproductive paid leave to those undergoing IVF treatment and those who suffered an early miscarriage in Ireland.

A family of four playing outside in the grass: two dads, a son and a daughter with a rainbow pride kite. This story discusses today's debate on the reproductive health bill.
Image: Photo by PNW Production from Pexels

“One in six heterosexual couples and almost all of LGBTQ+ people need fertility assistance in order to conceive a child,” Ranae von Meding tells GCN, ahead of the reproductive health bill debate. “The fact that Ireland is one of the only EU countries with no state assistance for fertility treatment is a disgrace.”

Ranae is the CEO and co-founder of Equality for Children, an Irish non-profit fighting for equal rights for children born to LGBTQ+ families in Ireland. She is also a same-sex parent who conceived with her wife, Audrey, through reciprocal IVF.

Currently, there is no state funding for fertility treatments in Ireland, nor is there any right to paid leave for those who are undergoing these treatments or experiencing an early pregnancy loss.

“We need public funding now, not in another ten years,” says Ranae. “Every year that passes, people who cannot financially access private treatment are losing the chance to ever become a parent. That is inherently wrong.”

The bill that is being put forward would give reproductive paid leave to those who have suffered an early miscarriage. It would entitle those affected to 20 days of this paid leave, while 10 days of paid leave would be granted to those undergoing IVF treatment.

“Speaking personally, going through fertility treatment is incredibly difficult, not only financially, but also emotionally and psychologically,” Ranae tells us.

“Again, speaking personally, experiencing early pregnancy loss is devastating. Feeling supported during these difficult times through paid leave would make a very hard time even a little bit more manageable and it’s absolutely something we should be doing.”

The reproductive health bill is being put forward to the Seanad by a group of Labour senators today, 20 January, and will be live-streamed here.

For anyone who would like to learn more about growing your family, you can learn everything you need to know at this conference coming to the Red Cow Hotel in Dublin on 26 March, 2022.

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