Same-sex couple both recognised as parents from birth in legal first for Ireland

The Cork couple were both recognised as parents of their twin children in a historic first for the country almost six years on from Marriage Equality.


Two women have become the first same-sex parents in Ireland to both be recognised as parents on their children’s birth certs from birth.

Niamh O’Sullivan and Geraldine Rea from Cork made history when both were registered as the parents of twin girls Réidín and Aoibhín on their babies’ birth certs, without having to go through a court process. 

“It is monumental for us and an historic step towards LGBT+ equality,” new mother Niamh told the Irish Independent.

The couple had been trying for a baby for two years before last summer, when Geraldine became pregnant with twins conceived through IVF.

The timing was perfect as it came just after the commencement of the new legislation in May 2020 which allowed certain same-sex female parents to be legally recognised as co-parents of their children. It should be noted that not all families meet the criteria for recognition. These include gay dads through surrogacy, couples who conceive through home insemination, couples who conceive abroad and children born abroad.

Parts 2 and 3 of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 allowed a birth mother, in this case Geraldine, and the intending parent, in this case Niamh, of a donor-conceived child who is born as a result of a Donor Assisted Human Reproduction procedure, to register with the Registrar for Births, Deaths and Marriages, as parents, and obtain a birth certificate which reflects this. 

“We were delighted when the legislation was enacted in May last year at a time when we were dreaming of becoming parents,” said Niamh to the Irish Independent.

“Little did we know then that fate would lead us to being the first to benefit from this new law.

“It is monumental for us and a historic step towards LGBT+ equality, as many children with same-sex female parents can finally vindicate their right to have their family recognised,” Niamh added.

“It’s a huge step forward in terms of rights for same-sex parents – that they can have legal recognition from birth for themselves and their children,” Chief Executive of LGBT Ireland Paula Fagan told RTÉ News.

“It’s hugely important for children to have a legal relationship from birth with their parents, with the ones who care for them and love them on a daily basis.”

If you would like to know more about this issue and the situation for LGBTQ+ parents in Ireland, follow and support the Equality For Children campaign which gives a voice to children and families in their fight for equality.

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