Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Thursday, 19 May 2022

Joint Oireachtas Committee on International Surrogacy

Preventing the Sale, Exploitation and Trafficking of Children: Discussion

Ms Julie Ahern:

The discussion about where legal certainty needs to lie is very interesting but it is very clear, under international human rights law, there needs to be both pre-birth and post-birth consideration. We need to look at trying to set out some of the legal certainties that can be done pre-birth and, post birth, the best interests consideration. In a sense, that is non-negotiable. If we are looking at it from the perspective of the protection of children and protection of their rights, a post-birth assessment would be done in every situation. There are issues around the right to access healthcare and what happens if there is a difficulty there but, as the special rapporteur said, there are other jurisdictions to look at - she mentioned the Israeli example - where a legal guardian can be put in place during that cool-off period when the best interest determination is considered. It is worth looking at those aspects for legal certainty but if we are looking at it, as Ms Ward mentioned, from the perspective of the child and what is in his or her best interests, a post-birth determination of best interest has to be carried out.