Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Thursday, 19 May 2022
Joint Oireachtas Committee on International Surrogacy
Preventing the Sale, Exploitation and Trafficking of Children: Discussion
One of the examples from a previous session was that of a child born to UK-intending parents by a surrogate mother in Ukraine. It has a very different system where she is not considered the birth mother but, in the UK system, the intending parents are not automatically considered the parents. That is where we get the lacuna. Is it about saying we will only accept surrogacy from a certain place, if it matches our system? It is like trying to match up a jigsaw piece. We then risk cutting out many countries and in a way saying they have to play by our rules which, when it comes to inter-country adoption, is easier because we have all agreed a set of rules under the Hague principles and we do not necessarily have anything here like that.
I am loath to say we are not allowing a certain country because of what may be a minor technicality. I am thinking out loud but if we are looking to set a standard here, and we are saying we will allow inter-country adoption if it meets this standard, that standard needs to include something around how we prevent statelessness. If the unintended consequence is certain countries get dropped off the list, we need to be careful about that but that is something we need to think through because, ultimately, it is about the best interests of the child. It is then around how much scope we have to dictate to other countries and a whole other mess, but that is what we are paid to deal with.