Recognising international commercial surrogacy arrangements, where women in foreign countries are paid to have babies for Irish parents, could be “difficult to justify”, according to an options paper drawn up by officials for a special Oireachtas committee. Some European countries ban all forms of surrogacy.
It says: “Commercial surrogacy raises complex ethical issues and concerns about commodification of children and exploitation of surrogate mothers. These issues are heightened in international surrogacy, especially where intending parents from a wealthy country such as Ireland undertake a commercial arrangement with a surrogate mother in a poorer country, or one where the rights of women are less protected.”
The options paper drawn up by officials to guide TDs and Senators on the committee contains a numbers of warnings about international surrogacy. It also appears to reject recommendations by the Government’s special rapporteur on children’s rights relating to the recognition of international surrogacy arrangements.
It says legislation enabling commercial surrogacy arrangements outside the State, while prohibiting such arrangements in the State, “would create a double standard”. It adds that any route to attempt legal recognition should not have negative consequences for the identity rights of those children and the rights of the surrogate mother and genetic parents who provide the gametes.
Noting widely condemned adoption practices of the past, it says: “From the perspective of the child, informed by historic adoption practices, it can be hugely distressing for an individual to learn of possible exploitation of a birth mother.