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demonstration Families gather outside Leinster House in call for International Surrogacy legislation

'Time has moved on, England legislated in 1985 for surrogacy and it is bonkers that in 2021 we have no legislation'

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Leinster House. Stock image

Leinster House. Stock image

Leinster House. Stock image

Dozens of families and their supporters have this morning gathered outside Leinster House to call for International Surrogacy to be part of legislation surrounding Assisted Human Reproduction (AHR).

The demonstration comes following reports in The Business Post that claimed that the government do not plan to include International Surrogacy in an upcoming their draft bill relating to Assisted Human Reproduction.

The proposed legislation would leave parents of children born through international surrogacy without any legal parental rights. At the rally led by Irish Families Through Surrogacy, Irish Gay Dads, and Equality for Children, protesters presented a letter to the Taoiseach and Ministers outlining their concerns.

The government have proposed creating a “dedicated Oireachtas committee” to consider the legal and ethical obstacles involved in international surrogacy. According to a spokesperson for Irish Families Through Surrogacy, 95% of Irish families who have pursued surrogacy have done so outside of Ireland.

Speaking to Claire Byrne on RTE Radio One from the protest, spokesperson Catherine Wheatley said they just want their children to be “afforded the same provisions as every child in Ireland and have a legal relationship with both parents.”

“There are ways forward... time has moved on, England legislated in 1985 for surrogacy and it is bonkers that in 2021 we have no legislation,” she said.

Catherine explained that the first commission was set up in 2000 however the issue has since been "kicked down the road.”

“We are worried, we are worried about the fact it is another committee. We’ve been put through ten committees.”

Former Miss World Rosanna Davison has shown her support for the protest despite being unable to attend today’s rally. The mum of three welcomed her first daughter, Sophia, through a gestational surrogate from the Ukraine in 2019.

Taking to social media, she explained to her followers how she is affected “As a mum of 3, I’m deeply concerned to read in last Sunday’s Business Post, that the Irish Govt is considering deferral of legislation for international & retrospective pathways to surrogacy.

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“If true, this will affect 100s of children & families across Ireland, including my own. Sophia & many other children will be left legally vulnerable & unprotected.”

“I’m adding my voice to the 100s of other voices supporting international surrogacy & retrospective pathways to parenthood so that no children are left out. It should be the legal right of my 3 babies that I can protect them equally.”

Rosanna went on to explain that she is not legally recognised as her daughter’s mother: “The heart breaking reality is that I’m not legally recognised as Sophia’s mother like I am to my twins, yet I am her biological mother. I can apply to be her legal guardian from age two to 18, but after that I’m a legal stranger to her.”

“Whilst I trust that doctors & caregivers will always put a child’s health & welfare first, it’s extremely worrying to know that I can’t consent to a vaccination or a blood test & I wouldn’t be considered her mother on medical consent forms,” she said, explaining that if her husband, Wes Quirke, Sophia’s only legal parent “were to become incapacitated or worse,” she would be considered Sophia’s guardian but not viewed as her parent or mother.

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