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Health Minister Stephen Donnelly
Assisted Human Reproductive Bill

Landmark surrogacy legislation passes final stage in Dáil

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly welcomed the move this evening, saying it will make “a real difference to the lives of so many families”.

LAST UPDATE | 29 May

A LAW THAT will grant children born via surrogacy a lifelong legal relationship with their mother or second parent has passed through final stage of the Dáil this evening.

The bill will now proceed to Second Stage in the Seanad ahead of the summer Oireachtas recess.

Currently there are no laws in Ireland governing domestic or international surrogacy.

The Assisted Human Reproduction Bill seeks to provide standards and regulation of reproductive healthcare and fertility technologies in Ireland.

It also deals with the issue of domestic surrogacy. 

Once the bill becomes law, it will also grant legal recognition for families with children born through surrogacy. 

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has welcomed the passing of the bill this evening, 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”.

He said it will make “a real difference to the lives of so many families”.

“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,” Donnelly said.

He also said that some of the issues that arose during Committee Stage require further consideration. 

“In this regard, I propose to bring forward an amending Bill in the Autumn.”

Speaking ahead of the Dáil debate this evening Ciara Merrigan, chairperson of Irish Families Through Surrogacy said today is a hugely significant day for parents across Ireland who have created their families through surrogacy and for future families who will have no choice but to pursue this avenue.

“We acknowledge the hard work done to date by the Government, which will enable children born through surrogacy to be viewed as equals in the eyes of Irish law,” Merrigan said.

She added however that there are still outstanding issues and some families who need “additional legislative cover”.

“We will continue to campaign on these issues and are heartened by Minister Donnelly’s reassurance that they will be addressed through a supplementary bill in September this year,” Merrigan said. 

Meanwhile, Fine Gael Senator Mary Seery Kearney also said the progression of the bill today is a “welcome relief” to the families waiting to apply for lifelong recognition of their parent-child relationships.

Seery Kearney, who has been a strong advocate for this legislation, said applications for parental orders – including her own – will hopefully commence this autumn. 

Seery Kearney has previously spoken publicly about her own experience of pregnancy loss and surrogacy.

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