International surrogacy to be included in long-awaited bill

International surrogacy to be included in long-awaited bill

Stephen Donnelly

Ministers will seek to amend landmark proposed legislation to include provisions covering international surrogacy arrangements, the government has confirmed.

The Health (Assisted Human Reproduction) Bill 2022 will regulate practices including gamete and embryo donation for assisted human reproduction (AHR) and research; domestic altruistic surrogacy; pre-implantation genetic testing of embryos; posthumous assisted human reproduction; and embryo and stem cell research.

The government says it will seek to introduce committee stage amendments inserting new provisions in respect of the regulation of international surrogacy agreements and the recognition of certain past surrogacy arrangements.

The amendments are informed by the recommendations of the Oireachtas joint committee on international surrogacy, which published a detailed report last summer.

Announcing the move, health minister Stephen Donnelly said: “This amending legislation will protect the rights and safety of children, their parents and all those involved in a surrogacy arrangement. Having met many of them, I know how long they’ve fought for this progress.

“I’m now referring the legislation to the Oireachtas committee on health and believe we will make further headway in January.

“In addition to the ground-breaking new surrogacy provisions to be added to the bill, it will also have the potential to provide hundreds of Irish families with a route to formal recognition by the State of surrogacy arrangements they have undertaken, or will undertake, either domestically or in other jurisdictions.

“My officials have engaged extensively with colleagues in relevant departments and the Office of Attorney General and I would like to acknowledge the collaborative and consultative approach adopted to develop this legislation.”

Justice minister Helen McEntee said: “The amendments approved by government set out an approach to international surrogacy and past surrogacy arrangements that meets the objectives and recommendations of the report of the special Oireachtas joint committee on international surrogacy.

“The new legislative provisions will prioritise the protection of the rights, interests and welfare of children and surrogate mothers, and will greatly benefit families with children born through surrogacy.

“I would like to acknowledge the extensive co-operation and engagement that has taken place with Minister Donnelly, Minister O’Gorman and their departments on issues relating to regulation of international surrogacy and recognition of past surrogacy arrangements.

“I would also like to thank all the families and advocacy groups who campaigned for years on this issue and who I have had the pleasure of getting to know. I look forward to continuing engagement with ministers as work proceeds on the Health (Assisted Human Reproduction) Bill.”

Children’s minister Roderic O’Gorman added: “This very positive step aims to provide a route to recognition of parentage for those parents that have already formed families through surrogacy and those that intend to do so.”

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