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Friday 8 December 2023 Dublin: 9°C
Shutterstock/Anthony Cottrell

Clare woman secures legal rights over twins that were born through surrogate in India

The judge wished the couple and their two children ‘all the best and happiness’.

A CO CLARE woman has expressed her delight after finally securing legal rights over her two toddler twins that were born through a surrogate in India.

Outside the Family Law Court in Ennis, the woman in her fifties said “today is a very good day” after Judge Patrick Durcan made her a legal guardian of her three and a half year old twins.

The woman also called on Government to act now and introduce laws to regulate surrogacy in Ireland.

She said, “Being appointed a legal guardian is an interim measure until the Government deals with the legislation around surrogacy and that can’t be lost in all of this.

Today is a very good day for us but the Government still has to deal with the situation so people like us don’t have to keep going back into court to ratify our position.

The woman said that the planned legislation in the area “has been dropped on a number of occasions and there is still no sign of it . They need to bring in legislation and there are many families in the same situation as ourselves.”

The twin boy and girl were brought back to Co Clare three and a half years ago by the woman and her partner within a few weeks of them being born to the surrogate.

The twins were born through sperm donated by the woman’s partner while the eggs were donated by another Indian woman – not the surrogate – aged in her twenties.

The couple turned to having children through a surrogate after a number of failed attempts at having children through IVF.

There is no genetic connection between the woman and the children but her long term partner – who is also in his fifties – is the biological father of the children.

In obtaining guardianship, the woman will legally have a duty to maintain and properly care for the children and she will also have the right to make decisions about the childrens’ religious and secular education, health requirements and general welfare.

Speaking outside court, the woman said, “I am their mother. Today doesn’t take away from that but legally it does give me legal status to act for them if anything did happen to their father or if we were caught in a situation where consent had to be given quite quickly. I can do that now. It does mean a lot to us. It was a worry and a concern up until now.”

She said, “Today has alleviated our immediate concerns and worries.”

The children’s father echoed those concerns when he said it “was a terrible situation for everyone to be in if either of the children were faced with a life threatening situation and my partner couldn’t act for them”.

We are absolutely over the moon and the two are doing great. I was getting emotional inside in the court listening to the judge reading out the court order.

Earlier inside court, solicitor for the two, Shíofra Hassett said that the two have been in a happy relationship for 10 years and have been co-parenting the twins since they have returned to Ireland.

Judge Durcan said that he would make the order appointing the Co Clare woman as guardian. Addressing the two, he said:

I wish you all the best and I wish your two children all the best and happiness.

A spokeswoman at the Dept of Health said yesterday: “Officials in the Department of Health are currently drafting the General Scheme of legislative provisions on assisted human reproduction (AHR) and associated research, which will include provisions relating to surrogacy.”

She said, “It is envisaged that the General Scheme will be completed by the end of June 2017. Once the General Scheme has been approved for publication by Government it will be submitted to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health for pre-legislative scrutiny.”

She said, “The proposed legislation will take cognisance of the 2014 Supreme Court judgment in the MR & Anor v An tArd Chláraitheoir & Ors (surrogacy) case, which found that the birth mother, rather than the genetic mother, is the legal mother. It is envisaged that the legislation will establish a mechanism for transfer of parentage from the surrogate (and her husband, if she has one) to the intending parents.”

She said, “The intention of the legislation in this area is to protect, promote and ensure the health and safety of parents, others involved in the process (such as donors and surrogate mothers) and, most importantly, the children who will be born as a result of AHR.”

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