In recent years surrogacy has become a more popular route for people who would like to become parents: Social Science Assignment, UCD, Ireland
|University||University College Dublin (UCD)|
In recent years surrogacy has become a more popular route for people who would like to become parents. People are attracted to surrogacy for many different reasons, reasons such as infertility, same-sex couples, medical conditions, and as an individual who wants to become a parent. There are two types of surrogacies, traditional surrogacy, and gestational surrogacy. Traditional surrogacy is where the surrogate uses her own egg and gestational is where the surrogate uses the egg of the donor or mother-to-be.
When people embark on this route, they can choose to have a domestic surrogacy arrangement which is where everything takes place in Ireland, or they can do international arrangements, and this is where the surrogate conceives and gives birth in a different country. Altruistic surrogacy is another popular arrangement for people, but it is a little more difficult to come by as this is where the surrogate wants to help conceive on behalf of someone else without getting any financial reward.
Then on the other hand there is Commercial surrogacy which is where a surrogate gets paid to conceive and carry a baby to term. Surrogacy is a very delicate manner and there are many complications that can occur both legally and physically, some countries do not recognize this at all.
Surrogacy is not currently covered by any specific Irish laws. It is neither legal nor unlawful. The unique legal difficulties that emerge in surrogacy are not covered by current Irish law. Instead, the laws governing non-surrogate births address the status and legal rights of all parties involved. In other words, the surrogate mother is the child’s legal mother and guardian and is the one who gives birth to the child.
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Even if she is not the child’s biological mother, this is still the situation. The commissioning mother has no legal relationship with the child at birth because she is not regarded as the child’s “legal mother.” She has no authority to decide anything matters such as birth registration, Citizenship, travel documents, childcare, education, and many other factors of the child.
Similarly, because the commissioning mother does not in fact carry the child she would not be seen as eligible for maternity leave/benefits in Ireland, they would in fact not be entitled to any of the same factors that most new parents would be. In short, even if there is a genetic bond between the child and the commissioning parent this does not mean they are a legal parent under Irish law. Unfortunately, at this current time, the only way for the commissioning parent to have any parental rights is by adoption.
Irish legislation does not cover any issues that may arise when it comes to surrogacy as there is no legislation for surrogacy in Ireland. This means that when the baby is born the surrogate mother who births the baby is the legal guardian of the baby, even if the surrogate’s mother’s egg is not used – if said surrogate mother was married around the date of conception then in Irish law her husband is considered to be the father of the baby which would also give him legal guardianship.
This is set out in Section 46 of the Status of Children Act 1987. Due to the above points, the commissioning parents do not have the right to make decisions such as registering the child’s birth, getting citizenship or a passport for their child, or claiming social welfare such as child benefits. This is because the commissioning parents have no legal guardianship of the child.
If the couple is married or in a civil partnership, they must wait two years to seek guardianship or custody rights. This will show the court that the parent had everyday responsibilities in looking after the child. However, if the couple is cohabiting and not married, they must wait three years to do this. Surrogacy is an extremely expensive way to conceive a child but for some people it may be one of the very limited options e.g., a gay couple is limited to options when it comes to starting a family. The cost of surrogacy in 2022 according to can range between 30,000 to 150,000 euros depending on the country.
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Being a parent and the idea of having a child/family is what some wish for but it is not always an easy thing for people to achieve, some are met with much difficulty and may be unable to carry/have a child. Surrogacy allows some of these people to hope, it provides people with the opportunity of becoming a parent. To some the knowledge that by becoming a surrogate they would be bringing joy and fulfillment to other people and families; provides them with a purpose, an accomplishment that they were able to help those who are unable to have children. Surrogacy allows women that enjoy being pregnant to have the experience of pregnancy again, even when they have completed their own family. According to research done by Cambridge University in England.
It shows that when a woman decides to become a surrogate for others, a new bond is created, and a new relationship is formed, with many surrogates and commissioning parents keeping in contact with each other. On the flipped side of this, with surrogacy not only illegal in Ireland but also illegal in many other countries such as India, Poland, and Russia, many people are met with much difficulty in finding a carrier, which then costs a fortune.
The Irish Independent released an article on the 3rd of November 2022 where it tells of a Dublin father whose surrogate triplets were in Kenya and how he was forced to hand over almost 40k to the adoption agency, even after paying 50k, for them to release the triplets. After starting a GoFundMe page to raise money, it took 3 months for the triplets to get to Ireland (Bracken, 2022). This is just one of many recent stories that have come up and exist. They got no aid or support from the legal system in Ireland as the surrogate was not based in Ireland.
As surrogacy becomes more popular and there is more awareness of the matter, society will normalize it and it will be more widely accepted. People ultimately want a society where those who want to raise a family could feel supported and accepted, free of any discrimination or judgment. When it comes to assisted human reproduction, the Irish legal system is a bit superficial and regressive in some cases, it doesn’t support or give credit to how much advancement in this field has taken place and become a reality.
This is beginning to change though and as the Irish society becomes more accepting and progressive, they demand that the current legislation in this regard reflect ‘modern society. There have been recent campaigns to change legislation, demanding for it to allow for the recognition that not all families are made as traditional family units, but all should be viewed and accepted equally.
In recent news, it has been announced that Commercial surrogacy in Ireland is to be banned but permitted abroad in legislation likely to come before Cabinet for approval. This would be a huge development and step forward as this would introduce the possibility of international commercial surrogacy being recognized and introduced in legislation, resulting in the recognition of both Irish parents.
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