There are a couple of brief news stories I’m going to post just to keep things up to date. They may warrant further discussion but I’m not able to offer any terrific insights just at the moment. So this is mostly just reportage.
The Irish Times has coverage of a hearing that is apparently on-going before the Irish High Court. A couple used their own genetic material to create and embryo. The embryo was transferred to the uterus of the sister of the woman in the couple. The sister gave birth to the child. All of this was done with the clear and shared intention that the child would be raised by the couple–described in the article (and I think in court) as the commissioning couple.
Apparently everything has gone fine as far as the people involved. (I mean, everyone is in agreement–no disputes there.) But the government will not allow the genetic mother to be listed on the birth certificate. Though I do not know, the state might take the position that the birth certificate is a historical document showing who gave birth–and that is clearly the sister and not the wife/genetic mother. (I’m not sure where legal parentage lies and that might not even be the critical concept under Irish law–these things to vary. I’m also wondering what the Irish practice is regarding issuance of birth certificates upon adoption.)
It’s not at all clear to me what stage the case is at–again, I don’t know the first thing about Irish trial procedure–but the occasion of the article is the testimony of an expert witness–Dr. Mary Wingfield. While Dr. Wingfield considered the genetic connection a factor, she argued (if that’s the right word) that the “principle of intent” was the primary consideration. I take this to mean that she advocated for parenthood linked to express intention.
It’s worth nothing that parenthood by intention is probably the most favorable system for those supporting surrogacy. Sometimes the commissioning parents are genetically related to the child, but not always. On the other hand, the commissioning parents are always intending to be parents.
I don’t know what happens next in the case. Neither do I know what happens as long as the name of the woman who gives birth is on the birth certificate, but I’ll try to keep an eye on it.