Same-sex couple says DNA rules are blocking son's right to Irish passport
Jeff Lagerquist, CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Wednesday, July 11, 2018 9:49AM EDT
An Irish-Canadian same-sex couple says outdated laws are denying their young son an Irish passport unless they identify the child’s biological father, leaving the other man with no parental rights in that country.
Jay O’Callaghan and Aaron O’Bryan both provided sperm to fertilize the donor egg that was implanted in the surrogate who gave birth to their son Jake in Toronto. The couple does not want to know whose genetic material was passed on to the child.
“We never want to know,” O’Callaghan told CTV News Channel on Wednesday. “We’re his dads.”
Both men are permanent residents in Canada, and are awaiting Canadian passports. They want Jake to be a dual citizen, but claim they were met with silence from the Irish government when they started inquiring about an Irish passport for the toddler.
After six months without a response, they received a call asking about Jake’s biological father.
DNA from the child would have to be submitted to an Irish court to prove who the father is. Without that proof, the surrogate and her partner could be considered Jake’s legal parents in Ireland — even though neither of them has a biological connection to Jake. If O’Callaghan or O’Bryan is identified as the biological father, the other would have no parental rights in Ireland.
Under Irish law, the mother of a child is the person who gives birth to the child, or a female adopter. Meaning, if O’Callaghan and O’Bryan were a male-female couple, they would have no trouble getting Jake an Irish passport.
“It seems quite unfair that just because we are two men that we would have to do something like that,” O’Bryan said.
“We feel we are now being forced to go down this route of DNA testing, which is not something that we ever wanted to do,” O’Callaghan added.
Ireland passed same-sex marriage legislation in 2015, but the country’s Children and Family Relationships Bill does not yet include sections dealing with donor-assisted reproduction for all same-sex families.
O’Callaghan and O’Bryan said they have sent about 150 emails to various politicians, including Irish Minister for Health Simon Harris, explaining their situation and calling for reforms.
“We haven’t had a definite answer yet. We don’t know what position we are in right now,” O’Bryan said.
“We passed same-sex marriage three years ago,” O’Callaghan said. “Families like ours are still being excluded.”