Court rules surrogate mother must be named on birth cert

Court rules surrogate mother must be named on birth cert

The genetic mother of twins born to a surrogate has lost a landmark battle to be officially recognised as their mother.

The unnamed woman, whose sister gave birth to the children using the woman's embryos, first won the case in the High Court before being forced to defend it in the Supreme Court.

The ground-breaking case was taken after the chief registrar of births, deaths and marriages said he did not have the power to record the woman's name on the children's birth certificates.

In March last year, the High Court supported the woman's case, prompting the Government to appeal on the grounds that it would have massive consequences for women using frozen eggs donated to fertility clinics, among other issues.

The State claimed the transfer of parentage needed to be a public procedure, as in an adoption, rather than a private contract between two people.

Chief Justice Susan Denham told the Supreme Court the case dealt with complex social issues but that there was a lacuna in the law on the issue.

The case was heard by seven judges of the Supreme Court with a majority ruling in favour of the State.

Seven separate judgments were outlined in the court.

Judge Denham told the court that Irish law, as it stands, does not address the issue of surrogacy but there is nothing in the Irish Constitution to prevent reform.

She told the court that legislating for the issue was a matter for Parliament.

"The decision of the majority of the court is to allow the appeal," the judge said.

Marion Campbell, lawyer for the genetic parents, said the family was very disappointed with the decision.

"They (judges) have bounced it back to the Government. Legislation needs to be introduced. These the aren't the only families involved in this particular type of case," she said.

Legislation to deal with the issue of surrogacy in Ireland had been planned but shelved as the case went through the courts.

Ms Campbell urged action. "I expect them to get on board and get their act together," she said. "It might be a long time coming.

"These children are getting older. They need their legal position corrected."

Ms Campbell added: "Surrogacy is happening here in this country and it is happening internationally and children are being (left) very exposed because there is no legal framework in place in this country to cover their rights.

"It's about time the Government saw that and brought in the necessary legislation."

Ms Campbell said the family wanted thank relatives, friends, colleagues and their legal team.

Health Minister Leo Varadkar later outlined plans to introduce legislation.

"Legislation on assisted human reproduction, surrogacy and gamete donation is long overdue," he said.

"I intend to bring a memorandum for an Assisted Reproduction Bill to Government by year's end.

"I will consult with Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald, my Government colleagues and others on the preparation of this Bill.

It is likely to deal with the issues of legal parentage, surrogacy, egg and sperm donation, and other related issues.

"Our prime concern here is that any law protects, promotes and ensures 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 assisted reproduction."

More on this topic

Calls for surrogacy to be regulated in IrelandCalls for surrogacy to be regulated in Ireland

160 Irish children born via surrogacy in other countries160 Irish children born via surrogacy in other countries

New father Tom Daley to explore surrogacy in TV documentaryNew father Tom Daley to explore surrogacy in TV documentary


More in this Section

Fine Gael sees popularity boost in latest pollFine Gael sees popularity boost in latest poll

Dooley apologises as footage emerges of him with Collins in Dáil ahead of voteDooley apologises as footage emerges of him with Collins in Dáil ahead of vote

President Higgins and Defence Minister evacuated from hotel in Lebanese capitalPresident Higgins and Defence Minister evacuated from hotel in Lebanese capital

Gardaí appeal for help in search for missing man in GalwayGardaí appeal for help in search for missing man in Galway


Lifestyle

These are the nail hues to choose this season, says Katie Wright.Perfectly polished: 5 autumn/winter nail trends you’ll actually want to wear

This early 19th-century table is one of a number of Irish lots at Sotheby’s Style, Furniture and Ceramics sale in New York on Thursday (October 24).Irish lots poised to add bite to Big Apple sale

Something for all at Hegarty’s auction in Bandon, says Des O’SullivanSomething for all at Hegarty’s auction in Bandon

Des O’Sullivan gives a preview of the Irish selection on offer at two sales in DublinPreview of the Irish selection on offer at two sales in Dublin

More From The Irish Examiner