Families Through Surrogacy call for revision of draft Irish Assisted Human Reproduction legislation

Consumer group Families Through Surrogacy (FTS) has expressed disappointment at the Irish government’s current draft law on Assisted Human Reproduction in relation to surrogacy arrangements

The news comes as FTS prepares to host its third annual surrogacy conference in Dublin on March 11.

The consumer group told IVF Babble that surrogacy is becoming a more popular solution for Irish nationals to create a family. Not just for couples struggling with unexplained infertility, recurrent miscarriage or a medical condition preventing them carrying, but gay couples using such arrangements to have a family.

According to Sam Everingham, director of Families Through Surrogacy, Ireland has never had laws that might allow surrogates to carry a child for their friend, loved one or an unknown couple in need, but now in tackling domestic surrogacy, the draft bill replicates many of the mistakes other countries with altruistic surrogacy have made.

Sam said: “We hoped the new legislation might encourage Irish citizens to engage in at home to decrease the reliance on overseas arrangements. But the clunky processes and the exclusions proposed defeat that purpose. They have simply cut and pasted from other altruistic jurisdictions out-dated legislation, without doing their homework to look at what has worked and what has failed.”

While the Irish government have drafted new laws to legalise domestic surrogacy, they have made it clear they will not be criminalising overseas surrogacy ‘given the legal and practical complexity of regulating commercial surrogacy in other jurisdictions’.

Irish surrogacy lawyer Tracy Horan who deals with dozens of Irish surrogacy cases each year is also concerned, said: “I firmly believe that this bill in its current format is a huge step back for families whose only option of having children is through surrogacy.”  

The current Bill outlaws surrogates who use their own eggs and bans the use of donor embryos in surrogacy. It fails to address the need for an Irish NGO to facilitate screening and matching of Irish surrogates and intended parents, to provide the professional screening available in other countries.

Families Through Surrogacy’s March conference will bring together 24 speakers and panellists – parents and surrogacy experts globally – to discuss best practice in Ireland, US, Canada and Ukraine.  The event will explore how arrangements work in practice and the important legal requirements.

The conference will have a particular focus on a workable domestic surrogacy model for Ireland, led by Irish legal academic Brian Tobin.  

Sam said: “The government needs to immerse itself in the reality of surrogacy, the motivations of surrogates and the emotional, medical and logistic stresses that are part of surrogacy journeys, before finalising legislation that will have an impact on family formation for generations to come.”

IVF Babble contacted Ireland’s Department of Health for a comment but have yet to receive a response.

The conference will be held at Croke Park, Jones Road, in Dublin on Sunday, March 11 from 9.30am. For ticket details click here


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