The Ombudsman for Children, Emily Logan (pictured), has recommended that children produced via egg and sperm donation and/or surrogacy be given the right to know their origins.
The recommendations is one of a number contained in a response to the Government’s proposed Children and Family Relationships Bill. However, in other respects the report from Ombudsman takes the same permissive approach to Assisted Human Reproduction as the General Scheme of the Bill itself.
With respect to the right of a donor-conceived child and/or a child born of a surrogate mother, the Ombudsman recommends: “The General Scheme should be amended to provide for the gathering, retention and disclosure of information to people born through assisted reproduction and surrogacy regarding their birth and origins.”
The Ombudsman supports so-called ‘altruistic’ surrogacy but is opposed to commercial surrogacy. However, while it believes that criminal sanctions should exist to discourage commercial surrogacy, it soften this by recommending: “The General Scheme should also provide for the legal consequences that arise for children born as a result of such arrangements; however, the Ombudsman for Children’s Office does not believe that declarations of parentage should be denied where this would leave the child born as a result of a commercial surrogacy arrangement in a vulnerable legal position.”
The report of the Ombudsman only mentions marriage in passing and does not uphold the right of a child to be raised by a mother and a father whenever possible.
Also, while it believes that children have a right to know their origins, it does not believe they have a right to be raised by those parents as a matter of principle and whenever possible.
The Children and Family Relationships Bill is intended to create parenting rights for those who use Assisted Human Reproduction techniques to have children. It also provides for adoption by same-sex couples.
Legal parenting rights in respect of Assisted Human Reproduction (AHR) are to be given to single men and women, cohabiting couples and same-sex couples. Marriage is given no special place in the General Scheme of the Bill despite the Constitution.
In Germany, only married couples can access AHR services. Surrogacy of every kind is banned as is egg donation.