Commercial surrogacy will be banned in Ireland and parents who choose to go through with such services abroad will face penalties, Health Minister Leo Varadkar has said.
The minister said his department have published the heads of a bill relating to infertility treatments, surrogacy and the permitting of stem cell research.
The subject "deserves proper debate", Mr Varadkar said.
Speaking on RTE's Morning Ireland, Mr Varadkar stressed that the welfare of the child is paramount.
"The current law is that the birth mother who gives birth to the child is the mother," he said.
"That won't change. But what will change is that there will be a mechanism to allow for the transfer of parentage if the adults involved agree that should happen.
"The basic principle in all this legislation is that the welfare of the child should come first and those who want to avail of surrogacy would have to be suitable to be parents."
He stressed that commercial surrogacy will be banned and consent will be required at all stages.
"There will be no commercial surrogacy under any circumstances so this will only be on an altruistic basis and this will be non-discriminatory," Minister Varadkar said. "It will be an offence and there will be penalties attached to it."