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‘I wouldn’t put her through the torture of living with three toddlers’ – Rosanna Davison says she meets up regularly with her Ukrainian surrogate


Rosanna Davison at Leinster House after the report of the joint Oireachtas Committee on International Surrogacy. Picture: Collins

Rosanna Davison at Leinster House after the report of the joint Oireachtas Committee on International Surrogacy. Picture: Collins

Rosanna Davison at Leinster House after the report of the joint Oireachtas Committee on International Surrogacy. Picture: Collins

Rosanna Davison has said she would not put her surrogate “through the torture” of living with three toddlers after she brought her home to Ireland from war-torn Ukraine.

The former Miss World said she was feeling “incredibly happy” following the report of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on International Surrogacy, which recommended that international surrogacy arrangements should be legislated for in Ireland.

As a crowd of people affected by surrogacy gathered outside Leinster House to call for its recommendations to be implemented, Ms Davison was among the large group of parents, children and supporters alike, who are campaigning for legal change.

“I’m feeling very positive and hopeful and emotional as well. It’s a really positive day, a huge leap forward for Ireland,” she said.

In 2019, Ms Davison’s daughter, Sofia, was born through Ukrainian surrogate, Anastasiia Berezan. Under Irish law, Ms Davison is not recognised as Sofia’s legal parent.

Ms Davison and husband Wes subsequently had twins Oscar and Hugo a year later.

Ms Berezan was welcomed into Ireland by the model in May, following a “long and traumatic journey” from Ukraine.

When the Russian invasion began, Ms Davison reached out to Anastasiia, offering her refuge in Ireland.

Shortly after contacting her, the woman’s home city of Kherson was surrounded, and she remained trapped there for two months. After escaping, she managed to flee to Poland, then Germany, and finally to Ireland.

Asked if Anastasiia was still living with she and husband Wes, Ms Davison joked: “I wouldn’t put her through the torture of living with three toddlers, to be honest, she’s been through enough!”

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The two families often meet up for playdates and their children are great friends.

Ms Davison described watching the relationship between Sofia and her surrogate as “surreal but rewarding”.

“Her story is incredible and I hope she’ll have the chance to tell it soon. Her escape from Ukraine and living in the war as well,” she said.

“Just to see her enjoy life here and settle in and get established in schools and jobs and all that kind of thing has been great for all involved.”

Speaking on the Pat Kenny show on Newstalk this morning, Ms Davison said: “This is a huge, historic, emotional and incredibly exciting day for my family and hundreds of families across Ireland with children born through surrogacy.

“Like many of them, we dreamt of having a baby. It didn’t work out in the traditional way, so we went down the surrogacy route.

“You don’t choose surrogacy lightly either but we were successful and I suppose we just felt we would deal with the legal challenges along the way as they happened.

“But with this set of recommendations, it paves the way for other couples to be able to pursue surrogacy and not face the challenges we have faced.”

As surrogacy in Ireland is currently unregulated, an Oireachtas committee was set up earlier this year to make recommendations on international surrogacy.

In its report published on Wednesday, compiled by eight TDs and five senators, it recommends that "where an international surrogacy arrangement meets the criteria set out in the guidelines recommended by this committee, the intended parents should be able to apply to the courts for a parental order in respect of both parents".

"This must be carried out in an expeditious process," it states.

The report states that the parental order should name the intended parents and child born through international surrogacy, and should declare the intended parents to be the parents of the child, "equal in rights to the child regardless of biological connections".

The order should create an entitlement to all rights and an obligation to all duties, prescribed by statute or otherwise for the parents and child in relation to each other.

In the report's foreword, committee chair Jennifer Whitmore said Ireland has been "a laggard" when it comes to legislating for surrogacy, resulting in a "legal lacuna" that has had a significant impact on families from all across Ireland.

Ms Whitmore said the framework recommended by the report aims to make the safeguarding of children and surrogates a key concern.

In relation to the surrogate, the report states that the surrogate should receive independent legal advice, medical advice and counselling before the surrogacy.

"The cost of this should be borne by the intended parents," it states.

If they decide to proceed with the surrogacy, the report recommends that the parental order shall name the surrogate, declaring the severance of any parental relationship with the child and removing all parental duties and responsibilities.

In relation to a retrospective parental order application, the report stresses that two conditions should be met: the first being that the intended parents were the intended parents at the time of conception.

The court must also be satisfied that the pregnancy was always intended as a surrogacy, and that it was always envisaged that the intended parents would be the parents of the child.

Additionally, the surrogacy should have been legal in the country it occurred, at the time it occurred.

The committee's report recommends that the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act, 1956 is amended.

It said: "Following the issuing of a parental order, the child born through surrogacy shall be entitled to Irish citizenship through either intended parent, and not solely through the parent with whom there is a genetic link. This will require an amendment to the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act, 1956.

"The AHR Bill should be amended so that parental, maternity and surrogacy leave are provided for."

The Health (Assisted Human Reproduction) Bill 2022, which sets out provisions for the regulation of assisted human reproduction practices and research, is currently going through the Oireachtas.

The Assisted Human Reproduction Regulatory Authority (AHRRA), a body proposed by the AHR Bill, would be responsible for regulating and licensing of assisted human reproduction treatments.

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