Newly compiled figures show that at least 57 babies born to a surrogate mother have been brought to Ireland by Irish couples since 2008, according to The Irish Independent.
The true number for foreign surrogacy may be much higher, given that the compiling of figures has been based on emergency travel certificates, a document required of parents bringing a child into Ireland, but not mandatory for all countries of origin. Thus, while researchers have been able to look at children originating in India, for example, no accurate figure can be ascertained for the United States, where a baby is in receipt of a passport when born. Both countries are known to be popular destinations for couples seeking surrogacy arrangements. Similarly, no accurate figure is possible in the case of domestic surrogacy, though anecdotal eveidence exists to point to the practice here.
The number of Irish families linked with the latest figure is 43, given that sets of twins and triplets were part of the study.
The research into overseas surrogacy comes as Ireland moves to enact legislation towards regulating surrogacy and banning it as a commercial activity outright.
The proposed legislation has drawn fire from family advocacy groups such as Mothers and Fathers Matter, which stated that, in its curent form, it will “devalue the importance of mothers and fathers in the lives of children” by allowing two men or one man to use a surrogate to have a baby and then the child without a mother.