Children born through donor-assisted reproduction or surrogacy should be entitled from the age of 12 to access information about the identity of their genetic parents, the Special Rapporteur on Child Protection, Prof Conor O’Mahony, has advised the Government. At the same time, he says, people should be allowed to use surrogacy who will have no genetic link to the child, providing neither the egg nor the sperm.
This is one of 27 recommendations in A Review of Children’s Rights and Best Interests in the Context of Donor-Assisted Human Reproduction and Surrogacy in Irish Law, which is due to be published by the Government shortly.
Also recommended is a system to encourage the parents to disclose the facts of donor conception to the child before the age of 12.
“If somebody goes and orders anonymous sperm on the internet and administers it at home, the law simply can’t stop that,” he acknowledged. “What the law can do is provide very strong incentives to go through the preferable route.
“The right to identity is legally binding on the State. We know from all the adoption debates going on lately how important it is, so the law should be set up to try to protect it as far as possible. At the same time there is a reality that some things are beyond the reach of the law.”