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To: Irish Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly

Equality for Children NOW!

The majority of LGBT+ couples and approximately one in six Irish heterosexual couples require Assisted Human Reproduction (AHR) treatment in order to be able to conceive a child. However, most children born through AHR treatment are left in an uncertain legal position without any functioning legal framework to establish a legal parent-child relationship with both of their parents. This has many practical impacts for the children of these families in areas such as; birth registration, citizenship provisions, childcare and/or educational provisions, access to social welfare, succession/inheritance rights etc.

Why is this important?

Last week, the Irish Government published a report on children’s rights and best interests in the context of assisted human reproduction, written by the Special Rapporteur for Child Protection, Professor Conor O’ Mahony. If adopted, the recommendations contained in this report would address numerous legislative gaps that prevent children conceived through AHR, from having a legal parent-child relationship with both the parents, who love and care for them on a daily basis.

Equality for Children are calling on the Government and Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly to immediately adopt and implement the recommendations made in this report. We urge you to sign our petition in order to push the Irish government to take the actions our children need!

More information about the report:

The report by Professor O’Mahony provides clear, practical solutions, which uphold the rights and best interests of children including their right to family life, identity and non-discrimination. The report recognises the reality of AHR treatment, which can often involve needing to access services abroad. The report also highlights the need for legislation to address the real-life circumstances of individual children including those already born, so they can establish a legal parental relationship to the parents who love and care for them daily.

It highlights the need to provide comprehensive legislation to cover areas such as; altruistic surrogacy in Ireland, the recognition of the rights of children born through international surrogacy, and crucially addressing the gaps in both the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 and the drafted Assisted Human Reproduction Bill by including children already born through surrogacy, children conceived using a known donor and children conceived outside of clinical settings.

The report acknowledges the distress caused to children born through assisted human reproduction and their families due to the absence of appropriate legislation “Children have been left in vulnerable legal positions for lengthy periods of time due to the failure of the Oireachtas to legislate to address their status.”

Ranae von Meding, CEO of Equality for Children says, “Last week’s launch represents another crucial step forward in our campaign. By adopting all of the recommendations in Professor O’ Mahony’s report, thousands of children in Ireland will finally be able to have a legal parent-child relationship with both of their parents, something that has been denied to them to date. This includes children born to gay dads through surrogacy, children conceived using known donors and those conceived outside of clinical settings left behind in the Children and Family Relationships Act, 2015”.

“Significantly, the report recognises the uneven impact the CFRA has had on children conceived outside of clinical settings and born to LGBT+ parents who cannot rely on the presumption of paternity/maternity as male-female couples can. This very principle has been a significant pillar of our campaign at Equality for Children, as it has effectively resulted in children of LGBT+ parents being discriminated against based on the sexual orientation of their parents.”

“We urge the Government to act swiftly and adopt all of these recommendations into legislation governing assisted human reproduction. It is almost 6 years since our country voted for marriage equality. We are still waiting for the legislation that will allow the children of LGBT+ parents to be treated equally."

“As it stands currently , in the vast majority of LGBT+ families, only one parent can be a legal parent. This must change. It’s not equal and it’s not what we voted for.”


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2021-05-06 23:24:13 +0100

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