AN Irishman has won his High Court bid to be declared the father and guardian of a two-year-old girl born in India under a surrogacy arrangement.
The child is also entitled to an Irish passport, Mr Justice Henry Abbott ruled yesterday.
In his judgment, Mr Justice Abbott outlined his reasons for granting the child's appeal, brought via the man as her next friend and biological father, against the Circuit Court's refusal of the orders sought.
The child was conceived via in-vitro fertilisation using the man's sperm and an anonymous donor egg. The fertilised egg was carried to birth in autumn 2010 by an Indian woman on foot of a surrogacy arrangement involving that woman, the man and his partner.
Both the man and his partner, a widow, were named as the child's father and mother on her birth certificate issued in New Delhi, India. In the proceedings, it was argued the child is entitled to be recognised as an Irish citizen under the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956. Before an Irish passport can be issued, the man was advised by the Department of Foreign Affairs that a declaration of parentage must be obtained for the child from the courts here.
The Attorney General was joined to the Circuit Court case to ensure any order made would be binding on all State parties.
The man's partner was also joined because of her involvement in the surrogacy arrangements in India and because she is caring for the child.
The surrogate mother had indicated her consent to the orders being sought in the case.
Mr Justice Abbott said he was satisfied from the genetic tests the man is 99.999pc probably the biological father. He was also satisfied that the child has lived since birth with the man and his partner who care for the child on a daily basis and that they occupied the role of holders of parental responsibility for the child.
He also found the surrogate mother had had no role other than as a surrogate.
Noting the interests of the child were of paramount importance, he said he was satisfied the best interests of the child was to be cared for and raised in the "so called de facto family" of the man and his partner.
He was also satisfied it was in the child's best interest that an Irish passport be obtained for her.
On the basis of his findings, the judge declared the man is the father of the child and appointed him as her guardian. He also directed that the existing custody arrangements should continue.
The surrogate mother's consent was not required for the issuing of a passport to the child, he also directed.