Surrogacy in the Courts: The Definition of Motherhood

We are delighted to welcome this guest post by Andrea Mulligan. Andrea is a PhD Candidate at the Law School in Trinity College Dublin, researching the regulation of assisted reproduction in Ireland. She also lectures in Law and Bioethics on the LL.M programme in TCD.

This week Mr. Justice Henry Abbott in the High Court is hearing a case that concerns the attribution of legal motherhood when a child is born to a surrogate mother. The ordinary prohibition on reporting of family law cases has been relaxed to allow reporting of some of the evidence and submissions in R & Another v An tArd Chláraitheoir, though not the evidence of the parties to the case. Surrogacy, where one woman gestates a pregnancy on behalf of another, can take two different forms. A “traditional” surrogate uses her own egg (ovum) whereas a “gestational” surrogate has an embryo, created through the use of in vitro fertilization, implanted in her uterus. In the former case the surrogate has the same genetic link to the child as any biological mother, in the latter the surrogate has no genetic link to the child at all.

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Surrogacy in the Courts: The Definition of Motherhood