Surrogacy is a wonderful option for those couples and individuals unable to conceive on their own. Unmarried men and women and gay and lesbian couples are finding they could be parents through the assistance of a surrogate. Surrogacy contracts are not enforceable in Ireland and there is currently no legislation in Ireland relating to surrogacy. However there are many countries offering the possibility of becoming parents through the assistance of surrogacy.
Before choosing the surrogacy route, intending parents are faced with a bewildering array of legal choices and scientific procedures.
The option of travelling to India is no longer available due to recent legislation in that country. However, the options of attending clinics in the USA, Canada, Mexico, Greece and the Ukraine are still available. All have varying pricing structures and procedures. The possibility of obtaining a Declaration of Parentage where there is no genetic connection between either of the intending parents and the baby, as in British Columbia and Ontario, reflect the liberal and advanced Canadian system.
The legal retainers or contracts between intended parents or surrogates are lengthy and incredibly detailed, with all eventualities including, for example, providing for a will to be made by the surrogate mother, making intended parents guardians in the event the surrogate mother does not survive the pregnancy. There will usually be a will by the intending parents appointing guardians in the event that they die before the birth. Their obligations pursuant to the surrogacy contract will survive their death.
Legislation is eagerly awaited from the Irish Government. The recent enactment of the Children and Families Relationships Act excluded the parts relating to Donor Assisted Human Reproduction and made no mention whatsoever of surrogacy. It is hoped that these omissions will be addressed in the not too distant future.