Proposed Legislation

No easy answers to surrogacy questions

Proposed legislation would ban commercial surrogacy within its jurisdiction

While fertility treatment began in the late 1970s, in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) was first provided in Dublin in 1985. Catholic Church teaching (donum vitae) was completely opposed to it.

However, the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists drew up a set of principles and rules, treatment progressed and the number of clinics offering IVF increased.

In 2000, the minster for health established the Commission on Assisted Human Reproduction. It completed an extensive report in 2005, and made 40 recommendations on all aspects of assisted human reproduction. All except six were unanimous.

“State regulation still remained on the back burner until surrogacy came back on the political agenda.

However, the moral status of the embryo, preimplantation genetic diagnosis, regenerative medicine, surrogacy and the legal parenthood of children born through surrogacy were divisive. Not too surprisingly, no legislation followed and this would have left a serious legal void, were it not for our membership of the European Union.

The European Community (Quality and Safety of Human Tissues and Cells) Regulations 2006 were incorporated as a statutory instrument by minister for health Mary Harney in 2006.

These govern all IVF clinics in Ireland. The Irish Clinical Embryologists Association was founded in 1998 to provide high standards of practice in clinical embryology.


State regulation still remained on the back burner until surrogacy came back on the political agenda. The latter followed to an extent from the rights of same-sex male couples to have children, and from the growing number of Irish couples who go abroad to avail of surrogacy services. A number of legal cases put assisted reproduction and surrogacy on the political agenda.

From the Irish Times Article by Evelyn Mahon

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