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International Family Law

The leading authority on international family law

24 OCT 2013

Recent developments in Irish law on guardianship in the context of surrogacy arrangements

This article focuses on a recent case before the Irish High Court, M.R. & Another v An tArd Chláraitheoir and Others [2013] IEHC 91, which considered who is to be recognised as the mother, and therefore the legal guardian, of a child born as the result of a surrogacy arrangement. Abbott J in the High Court emphasised the importance of the genetic link and held that the maxim mater semper certa est (meaning 'the mother is always certain') no longer forms part of Irish law and so the genetic mother should be regarded as the legal mother of the twins born as a result of the gestational surrogacy arrangement. This decision marks a major departure in Irish law as previous case-law on guardianship and parental rights, particularly the long line of cases involving non-marital fathers, did not afford the same level of primacy to the genetic link. The outcome of this case has far-reaching consequences for the Irish law on guardianship of infants and is relevant to practitioners representing clients with Irish citizenship who wish to establish a legal connection with a child born as a result of a surrogacy arrangement.

By Dr Claire Murray, Lecturer in Law, University College Cork           

The full version of this article appears in the October 2013 issue of International Family Law. 

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