Template Letter to Irish TDs

Template Letter from Stop Surrogacy Now UK

Dear TD (Find a TD – Houses of the Oireachtas)

Your Introduction

  • Please say something about yourself, how and why you came to this issue and your principle concern. Perhaps you are a mother and your focus is the rights of the child, or perhaps you are concerned about women being used as a ‘medical instrument’ to ‘treat infertility’. An introduction helps personalise the letter as ‘template’ letters are often rejected without reading by MPs/TDs.

The arguments against

  • International Surrogacy is overwhelmingly commercial. Commissioning parents seek international arrangements because it is cheaper or laws elsewhere secure them parent rights at birth. See the survey from Cambridge Family Law Centre

Survey on International Surrogacy Arrangements | Cambridge Family Law Centre

And our accompanying thread

Regardless of the motivation, it is transactional and amounts to the sale and purchase of children.

Please ask you TDs how the Irish government will ensure that women are not exploited and children not trafficked via commercial surrogacy contracts.

  • The exploitation of poor women in other countries does not meet with narrative of altruism, friendship and trust required for neighbouring UK altruistic surrogacy model which is largely accepted in society. A survey by the University of Kent in 2015* says:

“We must guard the principle of altruistic surrogacy in the UK – surrogacy as a relationship not a transaction.”

“Among the surrogates’ concerns was a clear desire for surrogacy to remain non-commercial”

*Horsey, K., ‘Surrogacy in the UK: Myth busting and reform’ Report of the Surrogacy UK Working Group on Surrogacy Law Reform (Surrogacy UK, November 2015).

  • The historical treatment of women and children in Ireland shows that motherhood and the rights of women and children have not always been respected. From the scandals of the Mother and Baby homes to the Magdalen Laundaries and the obstetric violence of Symphysiotomies (symphysiotomyireland.com). Ireland has a shameful history and the leigitimisation of buying babies from women in other countries fails to demonstrate a departure from these outdated ideas of women being chattle/breeders.

Article 6 of CEDAW states that ratifying countries must “take all appropriate measures, including legislation, to suppress all forms of traffic in women and exploitation of prostitution of women.” (Ireland signed and ratified CEDAW in 1985.)

Please ask your TDs on how they define exploitation.

  • The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child  states: “contained in this treaty is a profound idea: that children are not just objects who belong to their parents and for whom decisions are made, or adults in training.”. Removal of the child to the jurisdiction outside of their place of birth via a commercial contract poses a risk of developing genealogical bewilderment as the child grows. That they may have a sense of being ‘property’ as the child ‘feels bought’ and the wider message to children – boys and girls – will be that there is a class of women who’s purpose is for her to rent her womb to meet the desires of others.

Please ask you TDs how international surrogacy arrangements will be recorded and if the deaths of surrogate mothers in childbirth will be recorded and whether the children will have access to this information independent of their parents.

  • There are no international (or national) human rights laws that provide a ‘Right to a Child’.

(If replies mention Article 9: The Right to Marry and Found a Family please let us know The EU Charter of Fundamentals Rights Article 9 – Right to marry and right to found a family | European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (europa.eu) or any other human rights law please let us know.

Statements on Surrogacy

Please also considering mentioning the evidence presented at the committee sessions such as:

  1. Justice O’Hanlon would like to see the requirement for a genetic link with commissioning parents removed as there are ‘mix ups’ at clinics. This ignores genealogical bewilderment and does nothing to ensure that fertility clinics abroad meet the UK regulatory standards under HFEA or the NHS
  2. Surrogacy ‘mix-ups’ produce babies without genetic connection (lawsociety.ie)

Candian lawyer Ellen Embury says that the  risks of exploitation of surrogate mothers can be managed buy paying only reimbursable expenses and including psycho-social evaluation by ethical clinicians. Please ask how will both only out-of-pocket expenses be controlled by the Irish government and also how they will ensure that only ethical clinicians are creating babies for Irish commissioning parents.

Lawyers step in when surrogacy deals ‘go off the rails’ (lawsociety.ie)

  • A Ukrainian surrogate mother who fled way in Ukraine and received refugee sttaus in Ireland who gave evidence says she wasn’t exploited

Ukrainian Surrogate Tells Of Joy In Bearing Twins For Irish Couple (extra.ie)              

but this does not compare to the stories from other Ukrainian Surrogate Mothers:

Surrogacy Is Complicated. In Ukraine, COVID-19 Is Increasing the Issues | Marie Claire

Ukrainian Women in Womb Rental Industry Facing Unique Challenges after Russian Invasion (4w.pub)




Or please consider mentioning the recent statements condemning Surrogacy:

Pope Francis – 10th June 2022

“The dignity of men and women is also threatened,” he continued, “by the inhumane and increasingly widespread practice of ‘womb renting,’ in which women, almost always poor, are exploited, and children are treated as commodities.”

European Parliament –  in its report on the impact of the war against Ukraine on women it officially  condemns surrogacy. The report states that “sexual exploitation for surrogacy and reproduction is unacceptable and a violation of human dignity and human rights”.

Spain – recognises surrogacy as a violation of human rights. The Supreme Court considers that surrogacy violates the rights of pregnant mothers and children in surrogacy but also the fundamental rights of pregnant mothers and children in general

Italy – recognises surrogacy, even international surrogacy, as a crime. The Justice Commission has adopted a text proposing to prosecute surrogacy as a universal crime. Legislation prohibits surrogacy since 2006 and is punishable with 3 months to 2 years imprisonment  and a fine. The text simply adds that “The penalties apply even if the offense is committed abroad”. This UK article is relevant https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/16754517/heartless-parents-surrogate-abandoned-baby

Ukraine – Children Ombudsman Mykola Kuleba called surrogacy “exploitation and slavery of women who decide to become a surrogate mother and “making money on the sale of children”.