Update: Landmark Health (Assisted Human Reproduction) Bill 2022 passes final stage in Dáil Éireann | Fieldfisher
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Update: Landmark Health (Assisted Human Reproduction) Bill 2022 passes final stage in Dáil Éireann

Dena Keane



The Health (Assisted Human Reproduction) Bill 2022 (the "Bill") was published on 10 March 2022 and seeks to regulate Assisted Human Reproduction ("AHR") practices and technologies for the first time in Ireland.

In our previous Update on the Health (Assisted Human Reproduction) Bill 2022 we outlined the key points of the Bill which sets out the conditions for AHR and how it will be regulated, to include the establishment of a new regulatory authority to oversee the sector, the Assisted Human Reproduction Regulatory Authority ("AHRRA").

On 29 May 2024, the Bill that will grant legal recognition for children born via surrogacy passed through the final stage of the Dáil to the Second Stage in the Seanad ahead of the summer Oireachtas recess.

There are currently no laws in Ireland governing domestic or international surrogacy, with Health Minister Stephen Donnelly welcoming the passing of the Bill and describing it as "another significant milestone", stating "We are dealing with extremely complex issues, and the work involved extensive consultation and consideration of a whole range of issues".

The Bill regulates for the first time a wide range of practices, including:

  • gamete and embryo donation for AHR and research;
  • domestic altruistic surrogacy;
  • pre-implantation genetic testing of embryos;
  • posthumous AHR; and
  • embryo and stem cell research.

While the progression of the Bill through the Committee stage is a welcome development, Minister Donnelly has acknowledged that there are other issues requiring further consideration that arose during the Committee stage, for example in respect of international surrogacy. While the Bill recognises domestic altruistic surrogacy, it has highlighted deficiencies in respect of families who have had children born by way of international surrogacy, or where one of those parents do not meet the residency requirements provided for under the Bill, with those parents arguing that their right to parental recognition has been excluded from the legislation.

Minister Donnelly has however provided reassurances that these issues will be addressed, stating "I propose to bring forward an amending Bill in the Autumn".

While acknowledging that there are still outstanding issues and some families who will require additional legislative cover, chairperson of Irish Families through Surrogacy, Ciara Merrigan, noted that the progression of the Bill was hugely significant for parents across Ireland who have created their families through surrogacy and for future families who wish to pursue this avenue, stating that it "will enable children born through surrogacy to be viewed as equals in the eyes of Irish law".

While there is no specified date on which the President will sign the Bill into law, at a debate held on 13 June 2024, Minister Donnelly advised that the Bill was being progressed expeditiously through the Seanad "to make sure the President has the opportunity to sign this Bill before the recess". With the summer Oireachtas recess due to commence in July 2024, it appears that the legal framework for the provision and regulation of AHR in Ireland may soon be in effect. 

The Health (Assisted Human Reproduction) Bill 2022 as passed by Dáil Éireann is available here.

Written by Dena Keane and Niamh McDonnell. 

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Public and Regulatory