Building Irish families through surrogacy: medical and judicial issues for the advanced reproductive technologies.
AffiliationSims International Fertility Clinic, Dublin, Ireland. firstname.lastname@example.org
Clifford M. Healy; Compton Aylmer Solicitors email@example.com
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CitationBuilding Irish families through surrogacy: medical and judicial issues for the advanced reproductive technologies. 2008, 5:9 Reprod Health
AbstractSurrogacy involves one woman (surrogate mother) carrying a child for another person/s (commissioning person/couple), based on a mutual agreement requiring the child to be handed over to the commissioning person/couple following birth. Reasons for seeking surrogacy include situations where a woman has non-functional or absent reproductive organs, or as a remedy for recurrent pregnancy loss. Additionally, surrogacy may find application in any medical context where pregnancy is contraindicated, or where a couple consisting of two males seek to become parents through oocyte donation. Gestational surrogacy is one of the main issues at the forefront of bioethics and the advanced reproductive technologies, representing an important challenge to medical law. This analysis reviews the history of surrogacy and clinical and legal issues pertaining to this branch of reproductive medicine. Interestingly, the Medical Council of Ireland does not acknowledge surrogacy in its current practice guidelines, nor is there specific legislation addressing surrogacy in Ireland at present. We therefore have developed a contract-based model for surrogacy in which, courts in Ireland may consider when confronted with a surrogacy dispute, and formulated a system to resolve any potential dispute arising from a surrogacy arrangement. While the 2005 report by the Commission on Assisted Human Reproduction (CAHR) is an expert opinion guiding the Oireachtas' development of specific legislation governing assisted human reproduction and surrogacy, our report represents independent scholarship on the contractual elements of surrogacy with particular focus on how Irish courts might decide on surrogacy matters in a modern day Ireland. This joint medico-legal collaborative also reviews the contract for services arrangement between the commissioning person/s and the surrogate, and the extent to which the contract may be enforced.