News & Updates

Supreme Court Rules on Surrogate Mother Registration

Date Posted: 10.11.2014

  THE SUPREME COURT HAS RULED THAT THE GENETIC MOTHER OF TWINS IS NOT THEIR LEGAL MOTHER

 

 

The genetic mother of twins born to a surrogate has been found not to have the right to be registered as their legal mother by the Supreme Court in Dublin.

 

In a six to one decision the Supreme Court allowed the State’s appeal of an earlier High Court Decision allowing the genetic mother to be registered as the legal mother.

 

The genetic mother cannot carry children due to a disability and had arranged that her sister act as a surrogate. The Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages had registered the genetic father as father but had refused to register the genetic mother as legal mother, instead registering the surrogate as mother. A High Court challenge to the decision had been taken by the genetic mother and the challenge was successful but was subsequently appealed by The Sate which argued that the High Court decision has “massive implications,”  including for mothers who bore children using donated eggs, and citizenship and succession rights.

 

Mrs Justice Susan Denham said the core issue was the registration of a “mother” under the Civil Registration Act 2004. She went on to say that there was “no definitive definition” of the term “mother” in the constitution and nothing in the Constitution to prevent development of appropriate laws on surrogacy. The State’s argument relied on the maxim “mater simper certa est” and the Supreme Court was of the view that although the maxim is not part of Irish common law and that those words simply recognised the fact that until scientific developments in assisted reproduction, the woman who gives birth to a child is the child’s mother. The Court recognised that neither the Civil Registration Act 2004, the Status of Children Act 1987 or any other legislation addressed the issue of surrogacy and as such there was a lacuna in the law which was for the legislature to address, not the Courts. On this basis the appeal was allowed.

 

The Commission on Assisted Human Reproduction has recommended that new legislation be introduced.


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