In October 2017 the Government approved the drafting of a Bill on assisted human reproduction (AHR) and associated areas of research, based on the published General Scheme. The process of drafting this Bill will be completed in conjunction with the Office of the Attorney General. As part of this process officials in my Department will ensure that there is coherent interaction between the AHR Bill and Parts 2 & 3 of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015.
My officials and I have engaged with LGBT Ireland in relation to issues they had raised regarding the provisions within the General Scheme of the Assisted Human Reproduction Bill 2017 and within Parts 2 & 3 of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015. As part of this process of engagement, LGBT Ireland also made a formal submission to the Department in relation to these matters.
Related to the process of drafting the AHR Bill, the Joint Committee on Health’s is currently reviewing the General Scheme of the Assisted Human Reproduction Bill as part of the pre-legislative scrutiny process. The Committee intends to publish its report early in 2019. Given the comprehensive scope of the legislation and the ethical, legal and social issues that arise with AHR practices, it is anticipated that certain areas of the General Scheme will require further consideration and refinement during the drafting process. An analysis of the Committee's report on the General Scheme, once completed, and the response of stakeholders, including LGBT Ireland, to the proposals will feed into this process.
The aim of the proposed AHR legislation is to promote and ensure the rights, health and safety of all those involved, and, most importantly, the children who will be born as a result of these procedures. Consideration of the welfare and best interests of children born through AHR is a key principle underpinning the draft legislation.