Same-sex parents will be allowed both names on their child’s birth certificate in Ireland, but there’s a catch

Queer birth workers want to make perinatal care more inclusive of LGBT+ parents.

Same-sex parents in the Republic of Ireland will both legally be allowed to be named on their children’s birth certificates, but the legislation will not cover all LGBT+ families.

Irish health minister Simon Harris will sign regulations Monday, November 4, to commence sections two and three of the Children and Family Relationships Act (CFRA) 2015, which had been delayed because of errors in the legislation. The Civil Registration Act 2019 was approved to amend the errors. 

Harris will meet with queer families involved in the campaign for equal parental rights and sign the CFRA regulations in their presence.

Current law only allows for the biological father and the parent who gave birth to be listed on the birth certificate. Guardianship is allowed for the other parent, but only if they are married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting with the first parent while parenting the child for more than two years.

The new rules, which will come into effect in May 2020, will allow babies conceived by non-anonymous donor sperm in an Irish clinic to have both same-sex parents registered on their birth certificates.

However, they will not cover home inseminations, insemination in clinics abroad, reciprocal IVF or surrogacy.

This means that gay male couples who use surrogacy to have children, or any other LGBT+ couples who conceive through methods not covered by the CRFA, are not able to automatically both be legal parents to their children except via adoption.

Some of these issues may be addressed in a separate bill, the Assisted Human Reproduction Bill 2017, but it has not yet been published.

According to the Irish Independent, Harris said he would be “committing to work with [LGBT+ families] on these issues in coming weeks and months”.

He continued: “While we know some of their issues will be addressed through the Assisted Human Reproduction Bill, there are areas that require some consideration.

“I have some proposals as to how to look at these matters but I want to discuss these with the families first and hope to make some progress on this next week.”

Director of Equality for Children Ranae Von Meding, who has led the campaign for equal parental rights in Ireland, wrote for Family Friendly HQ: “The legislators are focusing on regulating how children are conceived and are not taking into account all the ways in which LGBT+ people become parents.

“And the problem is that there are children who already exist and are living in legal limbo while they try to figure it out… Until every one of our children has a legal connection to their parents, we do not have an equal Ireland.”

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