By Lynn Kelleher
160 children born through surrogacy outside Ireland have returned on emergency travel documents with their parents in the last decade.
Figures from the Department of Foreign Affairs show that 23 babies born in Ukraine through surrogacy have flown back to Ireland with emergency travel certificates (ETCs) this year — with 159 babies arriving on ETCs since 2010.
Irish parents can pay up to €130,000 to have a baby through surrogacy in the US, but mainly they are travelling to clinics in the Ukraine, where the fees are €40,000.
At a conference this week, legal experts and Irish parents who have utilised international surrogacy will argue that the country’s proposed legislation will only cater for a handful of parents.
The proposals, in Part 6 of the General Scheme of the Assisted Human Reproduction Bill, are undergoing pre-legislative scrutiny.
One Irish mother, who had her three-year-old son through a surrogate in Ukraine, said very few couples will be able to avail of surrogacy in Ireland, under the proposed new laws, as they don’t cater for commercial or international surrogacy.
“Under that legislation, it is really for family or friends of the couple involved making their own private arrangement out of love,” she said.