Page URL:

Irish Government advisor warns against failing to introduce ART legislation

21 November 2011
Appeared in BioNews 634

An advisor to the Irish Government on child protection has expressed his 'profound concern' that failing to legislate in the area of assisted reproductive technologies (ART) may result in children's rights being violated.

The Irish Times reports that Geoffrey Shannon warned that in the absence of new legislation, children born through international surrogacy arrangements may find themselves without a passport or not recognised as Irish citizens.

'There are huge vulnerabilities in not knowing your status in a country. Unless we set this out clearly, then it simply can't be in the best interests of any child and is a breach of virtually every international instrument that I know', he said.

Shannon added concerns that an absence of procedures similar to those used during the adoption vetting process could leave few safeguards against children born through surrogacy being parented by unsuitable people.

IVF is not provided by the public health service in Ireland but private clinics are permitted to offer the service. There is currently no legal framework to regulate ART but guidelines issued by the Irish Medical Council set out the conditions under which a doctor may provide such services.

A special commission established by the then Minister for Health and Children, Mr Micheál Martin, recommended in 2005 that the Oireachtas – the Irish parliament – should pass legislation to establish a regulatory body to regulate ART services in the country.

However, the Irish Times reports that documents obtained under freedom of information requests indicate that expected legislative proposals may be pushed back. The documents suggest the Irish Government only has funds for either introducing legislation on ART or abortion. But the newspaper quoted a spokesman for the Minister of Health, Mr James Reilly, who insisted legislation for ART remained a 'priority issue'.

Warning over lack of laws on assisted human reproduction
The Irish Times |  21 November 2011
3 February 2014 - by Antony Starza-Allen 
The Irish Government has agreed to put forward proposals for a wide-ranging bill that features provisions on surrogacy and parenthood for consultation...
10 June 2013 - by Dr James Heather 
The Irish Government is to appeal a recent court ruling that allowed the genetic mother of twins born to a surrogate to be listed as their legal mother on their birth certificates...
11 March 2013 - by Ruth Retassie 
The Irish High Court has ruled in a landmark case that a woman who is the genetic mother of twins born through a surrogate can be recognised as the legal mother of the children....
28 January 2013 - by Nina Chohan 
An Irish couple has brought a legal challenge against the State for refusing to remove the surrogate mother from their children's birth certificates and to register the genetic mother as a legal parent...
3 December 2012 - by Matthew Young 
Couples in Ireland undergoing IVF treatment will now be able to access tests to check for genetic and chromosomal conditions. Previously couples had to go abroad for the tests, which are widely offered in the UK, but they have now been licensed for use in two Irish clinics.
21 December 2009 - by Dr Nadeem Shaikh 
The Supreme Court of the Republic of Ireland has ruled that a woman may not use her frozen embryos after her estranged husband, whose sperm was used to create them, refused consent. Mary Roche, 43, and her husband Thomas had one child in 1997. They then turned to IVF treatment at the SIMS Fertility Clinic in Rathgar, Dublin, which produced six embryos. Three of the embryos were implanted, resulting in the birth of one child. The other thr...
16 November 2009 - by Nishat Hyder 
A couple from County Derry in Northern Ireland have taken legal action to halt the destruction of their embryos, currently being stored at the Royal Jubilee Maternity Hospital, Belfast....
15 June 2009 - by Heidi Colleran 
Ireland is being 'left way behind' in providing future sources of stem cells harvested from the umbilical cord blood of newborns, because of insurance-related policies preventing their collection. Professor Colin McGuckin, president of Novus Sanguis, an international research consortium on cord blood and stem cell research has called on Irish parents to sue the Irish Health Service Executive (HSE) when denied the service....
28 April 2008 - by Katy Sinclair 
By Katy Sinclair: The Irish Council for Bioethics (ICB) has backed human embryo research for the first time following a year of public consultation, and has called for a state authority to be formed to oversee the practice. In a report into stem cell therapies the governmental advisory body has...
31 July 2007 - by Sandy Starr 
A report on the circumstances surrounding the 2003 death of Irish IVF patient Jacqueline Rushton has been published. The report was commissioned by the Republic of Ireland's Health Service Executive (HSE), and written by Alison Murdoch of the Newcastle Fertility Centre and independent healthcare consultant Stuart Emslie...
to add a Comment.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions

Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.