Surrogacy legislation passes in Dáil but some LGBTQ+ parents left in "state of limbo"

The long-awaited Irish surrogacy legislation passed through the Dáil, but left out important amendments vital to hopeful LGBTQ+ parents.

A gay couple standing in front of a window holding a baby in their arms.
Image: Via Pexels - Karolina Grabowska

The Assisted Human Reproduction Bill, a piece of proposed Irish legislation governing surrogacy and family relationships, passed through the final stage of the Dáil last evening, May 29.

The bill, which will now travel to the Seanad, seeks to “provide standards and regulation on reproductive healthcare and fertility technologies in Ireland.” As of now, there are no legal measures in Ireland that govern domestic or international surrogacy. 

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly praised the bill’s passage last night, acknowledging “the vast amount of work that has been done to get us here, especially the engagement by a range of stakeholders over many years.”

The Assisted Human Reproduction Bill will make “a real difference to the lives of so many families”, Minister Donnelly added. 

“I have listened to families and experts and I believe that the Bill and the amendments I introduced address many of the key issues raised,” he continued. 

Irish LGBTQ+ advocacy group Irish Gay Dads welcomed the much-needed legislation, but claimed that they were “dismayed by the exclusion of key amendments to ensure the Bill is inclusive for all families”.

In a statement responding to the Bill’s passage, Irish Gay Dads wrote that the approval of the AHR Bill “follows years of political pressure by advocacy groups, families and legal and medical experts petitioning the Government to legislate across the area of human reproduction and particularly domestic and international surrogacy”. 



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According to Irish Gay Dads, Irish LGBTQ+ advocacy organisations urged the Health Minister to consider a number of priorities in relation to the new legislation, including the best interest of children born through surrogacy, the recognition of foreign parental orders, guidance on commercial surrogacy, and the assignment of parentage/guardianship from birth for intending parents. 

Last night’s debate at the Dáil, however, resulted in none of these amendments being adopted alongside the new legislation, “leaving families across the country in a continued state of limbo”. 

In a statement following last night’s Dáil debate, Irish Gay Dads’ chairperson Seamus Kearney Martone said: “We are enormously disappointed and disheartened that important amendments to the AHR Bill were not accepted by the Minister for Health today at Report Stage. This legislation, although making important and welcomed advances for some families, leaves behind many and particularly current and future LGBTQ+ families. Many people have been campaigning tirelessly for many years to make equal change happen for all Irish families created or hoping to be created via international surrogacy. 

“Today makes the slamming of the door on that dream for many,” Martone concluded. 

The Minister for Health has announced his plans to give further consideration to some of the issues surrounding the legislation: “In this regard, I propose to bring forward an amending Bill in the Autumn”.  


Ranae von Meding, CEO of Equality for Children, attended the Dáil debate yesterday evening alongside her son Ali, who is one of the children who has now been left out of the legislation. She stated, “While we gladly welcome the progress that has been made with today’s report, we are once again left devastated to see so many LGBTQ+ families left out in the cold.”

“There is a long history of our community being the last to see full equality, and while many celebrated yesterday, for many more it was a very sad day. We look forward to speaking with Minister Donnelly, as he many times referred to engaging with advocacy groups. We urge him to accept our offers of a meeting to discuss next steps and how to ensure the next bill will not exclude LGBTQ+ families.”

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