Call for Irish law to allow ’goodwill payments’ to surrogate mothers

Irish people should be allowed make ‘goodwill payments’ to women willing to carry a baby for them in a surrogacy arrangement, according to Senator Mary Seery Kearney.

Such arrangements are banned in almost all European countries on the grounds that it exploits poor women and commodifies babies.

Speaking to Prime Time regarding upcoming legislation to enable both domestic and international surrogacy, the Fine Gael Senator said she is not in favour of commercial surrogacy, which involves an agency being paid to facilitate a surrogacy arrangement and hire a surrogate. However, she said there should be provision for a ‘goodwill payment’ to be given directly to the surrogate from the contracting couple. However, critics say a ‘goodwill payment’ is effectively a fee.

While the legislation is due to ban commercial surrogacy in Ireland, it is being debated whether it may allow Irish couples and single people to make commercial arrangements abroad and then bring a baby home.

If the bill does not allow it, Senator Kearney says there will be a demand for ‘hidden payments’ that could be used to coerce Irish applicants.