Poe Kiely Hogan Lanigan

Fertility Law Ireland

Download your free copy of Surrogacy: A Route To Parenthood In Ireland

Welcome to the 5th Edition of our popular guide to Surrogacy in Ireland. In this edition you will learn all about:

  • The current status of Surrogacy in Ireland
  • Developments in Irish Surrogacy legislation
  • What you need to know about Domestic Surrogacy in Ireland
  • Helpful guidelines when considering Surrogacy overseas
  • The Irish Court Process
  • Plus, much, much more...

Just fill in your details opposite to download a free copy or alternatively you can read the complete guide by scrolling down this page.

Important Note: we do not accept any form of referral fees from any Clinic, Agency or any other party. Poe Kiely Hogan Lanigan is not commercially aligned to any clinic or agency, we do not refer clients and we do not accept referral fees from any party in any circumstances.

Surrogacy In Ireland

There has recently been a lot of progress towards assisted human reproduction legislation in Ireland and in December 2022, the Government approved policy & legislative proposals on international surrogacy and the recognition of certain past surrogacy arrangements.

We welcome these development and have updated this guide with comprehensive information and guidance for intended parents pending the introduction of this legislation.

If you would like to discuss any surrogacy related questions you may have, please do not hesitate to get in touch or visit our comprehensive resource section.


An Introduction To Surrogacy

The growing demand for infertility services has meant reproductive medical science has advanced tremendously in recent years. Surrogacy is not an easy option but for many couples, it may be their only and last option to have a child.

Surrogacy is when a woman (the surrogate) carries a child for a single man or a couple (heterosexual or same sex male couple) unable to conceive and/or carry a child.

Traditional Surrogacy is where a woman (the surrogate) is biologically related to the child.

Gestational Surrogacy is where the surrogate is not biologically related to the child.

There is currently no surrogacy legislation in Ireland. Assisted human reproduction in Ireland is not regulated although it has been practised since 1987.

In Ireland, the woman who gives birth to the child is recognised as the legal mother. Proof of paternity is evidenced by a DNA test result. Surrogacy is not an option where the intended father is not biologically related to the child. Currently only the biological father can apply for a declaration of parentage after the birth of their child through surrogacy.

Anyone considering surrogacy should speak with their solicitor about updating their will to ensure that their family is protected and provided for.



The Health (Assisted Human Reproduction) Bill 2022 includes provision for the regulation of domestic surrogacy in Ireland.

A domestic surrogacy arrangement is an arrangement where both the surrogate and intended parents are habitually resident in Ireland for not less than two years prior to their surrogacy arrangement and where the embryo transfer is undertaken in Ireland.

The Bill provides that domestic surrogacy arrangements must be pre-approved by the Assisted Human Reproduction Regulatory Authority.



In 2022 the Minister for Justice, Minister for Health and Minister for Children Equality Disability and Integration and Youth established the Special Joint Oireachtas Committee on International Surrogacy.

In July 2022 the Final Report of the Joint Committee on International Surrogacy was published. This Report includes 32 recommendations which provides a statutory legal framework relating to the regulation of international surrogacy arrangements and the retrospective recognition of past surrogacy arrangements.

An Inter-Department Group was formed following the publication of the Final Report.

On Tuesday the 13th December 2022, the Government approved policy and legislative proposals on international surrogacy and the recognition of certain past surrogacy arrangements.

The inter-departmental group agreed that there should be a two step process involving pre-conception approval by the Assisted Human Reproduction Regulatory Authority (AHRRA) and a post-birth Court process.

The criteria for permitted international surrogacy which is proposed in the policy paper is, in the main, identical to the criteria for domestic surrogacy.

In addition, the policy paper recommends the AHRRA should be given the statutory duty of “green listing” countries.

The inter-departmental group concluded that the focus of international surrogacy legislation should be on encouraging intermediaries or agencies to act in a fair and reasonable manner and that the emphasis would be on the AHRRA and later on the Courts being satisfied that their level of remuneration is not unreasonably excessive and is proportionate to the actual services rendered.

The inter-departmental group also proposes that no payment should be made to the surrogate over and above the reimbursement of itemised and receipted reasonable expenses.

Domestic Surrogacy

Due to the absence of surrogacy legislation, the legal status of all involved in a domestic surrogacy arrangement is governed by existing family law legislation.

The surrogate is considered the legal mother of the child. If the surrogate is married her husband is presumed by law to be the father of the child, until the contrary is proven through DNA evidence.

If the surrogate is single, she is the sole guardian of the child at birth. The DNA test result proving paternity is an essential proof that is necessary to apply to the Court for a Declaration of Parentage, Guardianship and Custody by the intended father. The second intended parent cannot establish a legal parental relationship with the child.

The second intended parent can, after she/he has shared the day to day care of the child with the biological father for a period of at least two years, apply to the Court for a legal guardianship relationship with the child

Surrogacy arrangements in Ireland tend to be done altruistically by a surrogate who knows the couple or individual.

There has been no definitive statement on the legality or otherwise of surrogacy agreements in Ireland.

If you are considering a domestic surrogacy arrangement, the list below includes some of the important points that should be considered:

  • 1

    The surrogacy agreement should outline the surrogate’s and intended parents’ rights, roles, and responsibilities both before, during and after the pregnancy.

  • 2

    The parentage rights, custody, control over medical decisions during the pregnancy.

  • 3

    The costs and expenses of the surrogate mother that the intended parents will pay.

  • 4

    The responsibility of the surrogate mother to take care of her physical and psychological health during the pregnancy.

  • 5

    The hospital where the delivery will take place, who will be present at the birth.

  • 6

    The contact between the intended parents and surrogate during the process.

  • 7

    Difficult issues including serious illness or death of an intended parent during the pregnancy, miscarriage and the baby having a serious medical condition or disability.

The Court Process that is required after the birth of the child through domestic surrogacy is as detailed and set out in the the Irish Court Process section below.

International Surrogacy

The Legal Status of Surrogacy in the Country of Birth

Before pursuing international surrogacy, it is very important that intended parents are fully aware of the legal status of surrogacy in the country of birth.

Is surrogacy legislated in the country of birth? Is it unregulated? Is it prohibited? Are you eligible to pursue surrogacy in that country?

If your surrogate is living in a different country to where the surrogacy arrangement and delivery will take place it is essential that you are fully aware of the legal status of surrogacy in the surrogate’s home country.

Is surrogacy legislated in the country of birth? Is it unregulated? Is it prohibited? Are you eligible to pursue surrogacy in that country.

Countries with a regulated framework for surrogacy will have specific conditions and criteria’s that must be complied with including:

  • 1

    Whether the intended parents are a heterosexual or same sex couple, whether they are single or married.

  • 2

    Whether egg donation must be non anonymous or anonymous.

  • 3

    Notarization and registration requirement of documents.

  • 4

    Pre or post embryo transfer or delivery Court or administrative process.

  • 5

    The maximum and minimum age for intended parents and/or surrogate mothers.

  • 6

    That the surrogate mother must have given birth previously.

Legal Representation for Intended Parents and Surrogate

It is extremely important that intended parents receive independent legal advice in Ireland and in the country of birth before starting their surrogacy journey.

A lawyer in the country of birth will provide advice on the legal status of surrogacy in that country, the local laws and regulations.

An experienced surrogacy lawyer in Ireland will provide legal advice, information and guidance to intended parents.

They will support intended parents at all stages during the surrogacy journey, working with the lawyer in the country of birth, the surrogate’s independent lawyer and agencies/clinic representatives.

It is essential that your surrogate’s consent is fully informed and voluntary. When the surrogate receives independent legal advice throughout the surrogacy process you can be confident that her consent is voluntary, that she is fully informed and that her interests and welfare are being protected.

It is important that the surrogate receives this independent legal advice before commencing any treatment, after the birth and during the Court proceedings

Biological link with the intended father

The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs will require a DNA test proving the baby is biologically related to the intended father as part of their application for an emergency travel certificate documentary requirements.

The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs will not issue an emergency travel certificate if the biological father is not an Irish citizen.

The DNA test result proving paternity is also an essential proof that is necessary to apply to the Court for a Declaration of Parentage, Guardianship and Custody by the intended father.

Birth Certificates

The Birth Certificate will issue in the country of birth. The Birth Certificate is not recognised as legal proof of parentage in Ireland.

Birth certificates can name both intended parents or the surrogate and the biological father. This varies depending on the local laws and regulations in the country of birth.

DNA Test

Ormond Quay Paternity Services (OQPS) provide DNA testing services for both domestic and international surrogacy.

The Irish Court and the Department of Foreign Affairs recognise the DNA tests carried out by Ormond Quay Paternity Services. Please visit www.oqps.ie for more information.

The surrogate must provide her consent for the DNA test. If the DNA test is carried out in the context of an emergency travel certificate, she will be required to attend at the DNA test appointment.

Coming Home with your Baby

It is important that you know whether your child will be entitled to a passport in the country of birth or whether you will need to apply for an emergency travel certificate from the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs to return to Ireland.

Each application for an Emergency Travel Certificate is reviewed on its own merits and its own factual situation. The Department of Foreign Affairs will issue their documentary requirements to intended parents.

It is the responsibility of the intended parents to comply with all of the Department of Foreign Affairs requirements. If the biological father is an Irish citizen but he was not born in Ireland, the baby’s birth must be registered with the foreign births registration, after Irish Court orders are granted. For more information see www.dfa.ie.

If your baby is entitled to a passport in the country of birth, your lawyer in that country will provide you with advice and guidance on the procedures that need to be followed.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Intended parents should get written confirmation before they start their surrogacy journey as to who will be responsible for:

  • 1

    Obtaining the birth certificate.

  • 2

    Translating, notarising and apostilling documents.

  • 3

    Arranging attendance of the required parties at the DNA tests.

  • 4

    Submitting the documentation as specified by the Department of Foreign Affairs for an application for an emergency travel certificate.


The Irish Father

Pending the introduction of AHR legislation the issue of legal parentage of the father involves an application to the Irish Court under 1964 and 1987 Family Law legislation. The Irish father applies to the Irish Court for a Declaration of parentage, guardianship and custody orders.

The Office of the Attorney General must be joined to the proceedings as a notice party. The Chief State Solicitor’s Office represent the Attorney General in the proceedings. They will issue a list of proofs and their requirements which must be satisfied.

When their proofs have been satisfied they will confirm that they have no objection to the Irish father’s application for a Declaration of parentage, guardianship and custody orders being ruled by the Court.

These Court applications can be made in either the Circuit Court or the High Court.

When you meet with your legal advisors in Ireland they will discuss in detail with you:

  • 1

    The stages involved in the court process.

  • 2

    The documents required to commence and proceed with your application.

  • 3

    The timeframe involved from once you return home to Ireland until final orders are granted.

  • 4

    The requirements of the Court.

  • 5

    The requirements of the Chief State Solicitors Office.

Pending the introduction of surrogacy legislation in Ireland, the second intended parent, who is married to a partner or co-habitant of the Irish father, can apply to the Court to become a guardian of the child once they have shared the day to day care of the child with the father for a period of at least two years.

In Summary

Surrogacy in Ireland is legally complex and one which will require input from a qualified experienced solicitor. Given the complexity of the procedure involved, it is crucial that you seek legal advice prior to embarking on your surrogacy journey.

Here at Poe Kiely Hogan Lanigan, our experienced surrogacy/fertility law team has brought couples through their entire surrogacy process. We understand how emotional and stressful the surrogacy journey can be. We know how important this is to you and we have the experience and expertise to help.

We hope this guide has proven useful and informative. If you would like to find out more about how Poe Kiely Hogan Lanigan can help you on your journey through Surrogacy in Ireland, please do not hesitate to get in touch to arrange an appointment with one of our dedicated Surrogacy team.

Please complete the form below and we will be in touch to organise an appointment to discuss your situation.

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What People Say

The best decision we ever made was to proceed with surrogacy, the second best was working with Annette, Ger and all at Poe Kiely Hogan Lanigan Solicitors.

Recent Surrogacy Clients

When we first began seeking legal advice around International Surrogacy, we spoke to a number of legal firms and researched the various family law providers as much as we could. The day we had our first encounter with Annette Hickey at PKHL was in essence, the day that we as a family decided that we would now be equipped to face that journey together. Read More

Brian and Kathy Egan

We only have positive things to say about all the help and assistance you provided us both. From the very start of the process we felt that no question was too small and that we could contact either of you, by phone or email to discuss any small concerns we had. Read More

Recent Surrogacy Clients

Annette, Ger and her team were the calm oasis of advice, encouragement and legal clarity that helped us at every crucial stage, to realise our dream of bringing our precious baby home.

Recent Surrogacy Clients

Our journey through surrogacy was made so much easier thanks to Poe Kiely Hogan Lanigan Solicitors.The first time we met Annette and Ger I felt so much support and understanding that my mind was instantly put at ease. Read More

Keith and Cathy Wheatley

We can’t thank Annette enough for all her hard work and assistance. From the very start Annette made us feel comfortable on our surrogacy journey. Highly recommend Annette and team to couples starting their journey. Read More

Stephen and Theresa

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