Many surrogate children end up in legal limbo

In a story that contrasts with the optimistic surrogacy story in BioEdge last week, at least 15 children born to Irish couples who used overseas surrogates are stuck in a legal limbo. They are either stateless or unable to get an Irish passport. This conflicts with recommendations by the Commission on Assisted Human Reproduction, founded over a decade ago, which urged the government to regulate surrogacy. Many parents say the delays in resolving the legal status of their children cause them continual stress and are likely to require legal action.

One couple from Dublin in their 30s have been stuck overseas in India for several weeks. One of the parents, who chose to be unnamed, said: “We are tired and angry with the Irish authorities.” A 43-year-old man who had a child using a surrogate mother last year had to use his British citizenship to bring his son to his home country via Northern Ireland. “My child was stuck in India for five months in the end. I feel I was treated terribly,” he said.

Officials at the Irish Passport Office and the Department of Foreign Affairs say they must work within the law, which exists to protect children. “The passport is not a magic bullet – parents need to establish citizenship and guardianship for the welfare of the child. When that is established, that’s where we come in and issue a passport,” a senior official said. Another Dublin couple had a child via a surrogate in India, but their child’s status has not been regularised and she therefore remains stateless. ~ Irish Times, Nov 19

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