How Irish law can recognise intending parentage while vindicating the child’s right to identity in assisted human reproduction

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Date
2023
Authors
O'Connell, Claire
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University College Cork
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Abstract
This thesis explores the law on parentage through the lens of the introduction of Assisted Human Reproduction (AHR). AHR is the practice of using reproductive technologies such as insemination or embryo formation and implantation to assist an individual or couple to conceive a child. Most relevant for this thesis is that among these practices, includes the introduction of third parties, such as donors or surrogates, into the process of human reproduction. Historically, parentage in Irish law has been based on both the gestational and genetic link of the mother and the genetic link of the father. However, to continue to recognise only these aspects of parentage would be to expose same sex couples, those who experience infertility, and their children, to a difference of treatment and an exclusion from the legal recognition enjoyed by their fertile and opposite sex counterparts. Therefore this thesis is primarily focused on assessing how to create a best practice model that balances the rights of the parties involved and ensures that any state interference is proportional and minimally invasive. While Part 1 explores the pathways to legal parentage for intending parents, Part 2 seeks to investigate the corresponding right of the child to their identity. Both parts are cognisent of the primary pieces of legislation in this area in Irish Law, the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 and the proposed Health (Assisted Human Reproduction) Bill 2022 and analyses both throughout. This thesis also includes a research study carried out by the author into the difficulties Irish parents experience in obtaining legal recognition and the level of disclosure of the child's conception status that Irish parents are currently engaging in. This thesis states the law as of 1 July 2023.
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Keywords
Family law , Children's rights , Right to identity , Duty to disclose , Surrogacy , Donor conception , Assisted human reproduction , Parentage , Guardianship
Citation
O'Connell, C. 2023. How Irish law can recognise intending parentage while vindicating the child’s right to identity in assisted human reproduction. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.