25 Sep 2014
For immediate release: 25 September 2014
Government to Establish New Donor Conceived Register:
Draft Bill recognises identity rights of children born through assisted reproduction
The Children’s Rights Alliance today warmly welcomed the publication of the Scheme of the Children and Family Relationships Bill 2014. The draft legislation puts children at the heart of family law reform and will address the many forms of discrimination faced by children in non-marital families.
Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Alliance said:
“The Bill brings legal clarity to the many children born outside marriage or who are being cared for in blended families. The Bill ensures that courts must make decisions in their best interests and outlines how judges will consult with children in relation to family law matters.
“The Bill provides for the establishment of a Donor Conceived Register which will contain the genetic information of children born through assisted reproduction and prohibits anonymous donation.
This is an important step in recognising the rights of children to access information concerning their genetic identity. We know the pain caused to the many adopted people who can’t establish the identity of their parents. This Bill will ensure that donor conceived children will not share the same pain.”
The Children’s Rights Alliance called for the identity rights of children born through assisted reproduction to be protected in its submission to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality in early 2014.
For further information and for comment, please contact the Children’s Rights Alliance on: 087 653 1069
Note to Editor
The General Scheme proposes, in summary, to:
• modernise the law regarding the parental rights of children living in diverse family forms;
• establish that the best interests of the child are paramount in decisions on custody, guardianship and access;
• set out how parentage is to be assigned in cases of assisted reproduction;
• extend automatic guardianship to non-marital fathers who have lived with the child’s mother for at least 12 months, including 3 months following the child’s birth;
• enable civil partnered or cohabiting couples to be eligible jointly to adopt a child;
• allow civil partners, step-parents, those cohabiting with the biological parent and those acting in loco parentis for a specified period to apply for guardianship and custody;
• enable members of the wider family to apply for access to the child;
• put in place a series of provisions on making parenting work.