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Same-sex marriage has been legal in Ireland since 2015. However, under current law, same sex couples who become parents are not automatically afforded parental rights. While a parent with a biological tie to their child can be listed on the child’s birth certificate as their parent, the other parent must obtain guardianship through the courts, a process that can be both time-consuming and costly, not to mention frustrating for everyone involved.
A new law recently announced by Ireland’s Health Minister Simon Harris would, on its face, prevent the discrimination LGBTQ+ families face when it comes to parental rights, allowing both parents in same-sex families who conceive using a sperm donor to be named on their child’s birth certificate. However, critics argue that the new regulations contain numerous loopholes that will only further the discrimination same-sex Irish parents face, particularly gay men who want to become parents.
While couples who use a sperm donor will be able to list both parents’ names on their children’s birth certificates once the new regulation becomes effective, the law does not extend to couples who use one of the men’s sperm and an egg donor, who conceive through in vitro fertilization (IVF.) The man who is biologically related to the child will still be able to list his own name on the child’s birth certificate but the non-biological father will still need to work through the legal system to obtain legal guardianship rights for the couple’s child.
The Irish government is touting this change as a win for same-sex couples. However, due to the limitations in the legislation described above, this “win” is limited in nature. An Irish non-profit advocacy group, Equality for Children, estimates that the new law will only protect approximately 50 percent of children born to LGBTQ+ couples.
At The Surrogacy Law Center, we offer caring and professional legal assistance to individuals and couples who want to start or grow their families. To learn more, contact us today!