Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health

General Scheme of Assisted Human Reproduction Bill 2017: Discussion (Resumed)

9:00 am

Ms Gillian Keegan:

It might be beneficial to actually talk to people who are going through surrogacy - there are several surrogacy organisations - because it is very complex. It is necessary to talk to people on the ground about what they go through and there are many legal people who represent those people and understand what they have to do on a day-to-day basis. On what was mentioned in terms of putting more of a negative focus on surrogacy, if we are talking about an open society in which we then turn around to say there is a situation that is happening, there are people out there who were born from surrogates and who know their situation. In the event of a public campaign stating it really is not an advisable thing to do, how will those people feel about their situation?

They will be in a situation where they will not mention how they were born and do not want it to appear. It automatically puts the shutters up. One has to deal with the situation there. I do not think we are in a society that is leading to a situation where we have non-disclosure. We talked about Sweden banning surrogacy, and it would be interesting to understand why it is banning it and the rationale behind it. An all-round view of why it is doing it is needed because, as the Senator said, their laws are usually quite liberal. How does it deal with people who go beyond the country for surrogacy? Does it leave the people in legal limbo?

A number of countries in Europe legislate for this, including the UK and Spain. The medical situation has to be addressed. I do not know if Spain has up-to-date registers of donors and if it always keeps up-to-date information on their medical condition or if it is a situation where, if a situation arises with a particular child where the person has obviously used a donor from Spain, can that person ring a clinic and find out? Is there access to that information or is it provided? I do not know whether we need to look at those situations. I do not know how long it has been legislated for in Spain, but it must deal with those situations all the time. How does it deal with them? I think the Senator is right that people need to have access to their medical information, particularly where something is preventable, and if somebody knows about an issue, he or she can have treatment. That is important and needs to be considered. If somebody goes into a hospital in Ireland, he or she needs to be able to say that his or her child has been donor-conceived. The doctor may say that the hospital needs specific information. Can the person go back to the clinic, or how does he or she get the information? That needs to be looked at. Other regions may have more information.