The Bill is very permissive and adult-centered in its inspiring philosophy, but almost all TDs who spoke wanted it to go even further. For instance, the Bill allows for non-commercial or ‘altruistic’ surrogacy, which is banned in 28 out of 44 countries in Europe. The main complaint is that the Bill does not also allow for commercial surrogacy arrangements undertaken in the few countries where paying a surrogate is legal. All European countries, with the exception of Ukraine, Russia and Belarus, ban commercial surrogacy but some TDs are not happy with this.
For some poor women it would be a good source of income being paid in this way during a 12-month period that, according to the Bill, would cover not only the pregnancy and some time afterwards, but the period when she was trying to become pregnant.
Only two TDs, raised some questions about the new proposed legislation.
Peadar Tóibín (Aontú) said we cannot have a situation where children do not have access to the information about their biological parents or the mother who carried them. He criticised surrogacy because it splits motherhood between up to three women, i.e. the surrogate, the commissioning mother, and possibly a third person, which is the woman who sold or donated her egg. This could easily present identity issues for the child.
Deputy Tóibín also criticised the Bill for allowing for the pre-implantation diagnostic and destruction of embryos of children with disabilities.
Catherine Connolly (Independent) showed more familiarity with the details of the Bill than anyone else who spoke. She denounced that aspects of the proposed legislation that permit a for-profit approach to AHR.
Deputy Connolly lamented that “the legal vacuum is bad enough, but we also have an information vacuum. … We are utterly reliant on the companies that are making a profit for the information [about AHR] and we do not know the outcomes of these procedures.“
(A selection of articles on AHR can be found here).