Bespoke legal arrangements’ may be necessary for children born through commercial surrogacy arrangements in other jurisdictions, Roderic O’Gorman (Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth) has told the Dáil (3 December).
The varying legal situations of children born through commercial surrogacy may require bespoke legal solutions depending on the way in which they have been conceived, the minister confirmed.
Answering a question from Kathleen Funchion TD, the minister said that surrogacy is complex but that legislative measures must also offer protection to the surrogate (birth) mother.
“That is really important,” he added.
“This person will probably be in another jurisdiction, and we have to be sure that protections are in place for her, and that the child conceived through surrogacy can seek to establish relations with his or her surrogate mother in the future if he or she wishes to do so,” the minister said.
Children born through commercial surrogacy may be left in precarious situations if their father has health issues which could leave them technically parentless in the eyes of the State, the TD added.
The minister responded that the Department of Foreign Affairs has published guidelines for intending parents pursuing surrogacy arrangements abroad.
Irish authorities require intending parents to provide a written undertaking that they will notify their local health centre of children's presence within two working days of their arrival in the State.
In addition, the genetic father is required to provide an undertaking that he will apply to the courts for a declaration of parentage and a guardianship order in respect of the child.
This ensures that his legal relationship with the child is established and that he can make decisions on behalf of that child. The intending father must also provide appropriate DNA evidence.
An intending mother of a child born through surrogacy is entitled to apply for guardianship of the child where she is married to, or in a civil partnership with, the child's parent or has cohabited with that parent, the minister said.
Funchion asked if pre-legislative scrutiny stage of the proposed Assisted Human Reproduction(AHR) bill could be progressed as a matter of urgency.
The minister responded that it is important to get this matter right, considering the complexity of the different situations.
The AHR bill does not address the area of international surrogacy, he added.