New legal provisions for donor-assisted human reproduction enacted

Use of donor gametes and donor embryos must now comply with new legal provisions

From this week onwards, the use of donor gametes, sperm or egg, and donor embryos need to comply with new legal provisions.

The newly commenced provisions of Part 2 and Part 3 of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 are concerned with the rights of children conceived using donor embryos or gametes.

The provisions are to provide, for the first time, a legal framework for registering the births of children who are born because of assisted human reproduction involving donated eggs or sperm or embryos.

Parts 2 and 3 are key elements of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015.

The Act, acknowledged as lengthy and complex, has been commenced in a piecemeal manner over the past four years, and was introduced to modernise legislation on adoption, guardianship, assisted human reproduction and a range of other matters.

The provisions in the Act relating to donor-assisted human reproduction (DAHR) procedures that take place in a clinical setting in the State were commenced last Tuesday (May 5).

The commencement of Parts 2 and 3 are to clarify the legal position of all parties involved in a DAHR procedure.

This is to clarify the legal position and legal parentage of children born from donor-assisted procedures.

The provisions apply to opposite sex couples, female same-sex couples and single women undergoing a clinic-based DAHR procedure.

The regulations are intended to help protect the rights of donor-conceived children to information on their genetic heritage.

This is to happen through prohibition of anonymous gamete donation and by establishing a National Donor-Conceived Person Register.

Surrogacy is not covered under the Child and Family Relationships Act. The legislation applies to procedures where the woman who gives birth is also the intending mother and the child is born in the State.

Upcoming draft legislation under the Assisted Human Reproduction Bill contains provisions for areas including domestic surrogacy and the subsequent assignment of parentage, according to the Department of Health.

Since Parts 2 and 3 of the 2015 Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 deal with DAHR, their commencement fell under the remit of the Minister for Health.

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