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Sunday 31 August 2014

Twins born to surrogate would be ‘greatly hindered’ if genetic mother goes unrecognised, court hears

Louise Hogan

Published 29/01/2013 | 13:28

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THERE would be "serious adverse" implications for the rights of twins born to a surrogate mother unless their genetic mother is recognised under law, the High Court has heard.

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Lawyer for the genetic parents, Gerard Durcan, argued the twins would be deprived of the "security" that comes with being part of a family recognised under the Irish Constitution.



Currently, the surrogate mother is recognised as the "sole guardian" of the twins as she is not married to the genetic father.



"They will run into difficulties as they run along in schooling and in practical terms," argued senior counsel Mr Durcan. Among the problems outlined were issues of inheritance.



Mr Durcan argued that the genetic mother "has fulfilled the role of mother in every practical aspect since birth".



The landmark legal challenge at the High Court has raised issues never before probed by an Irish court.



The case has been taken by the genetic parents of twins born to a surrogate mother after they were told the genetic mother's name could not be listed on the birth certficate as a matter of law.



The surrogate mother is supporting the couple's application after it was refused by the Office of the Registrar General in 2011.



The Chief Registrar, Kieran Feely, has told the court that the State's policy was not written down in any formal document but had been passed onto him verbally by his predecessor.



Mr Feely said the name of the surrogate mother on the birth cert could not be treated as an "error of fact" as the person "who gave birth was the mother" and he had to apply the principle that "motherhood is always certain".



Medical specialist, Dr Mary Wingfield, has told the court it was "tragic" couples had to take court cases to resolve issues on reproductive medicine in the absence of lgislation. She described it as disappointing that seven years after a report from the Commission on Assisted Reproduction that there was neither clarity nor legislation to govern the area.



The case continues.

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