The Child and Family Relationships Act 2015 make new provision for Donor-Assisted Human Reproduction for the first time.  It established  a national donor conceived person register.  This will enable donor conceived children’s donors and parents to trace their identity.

A Donor-Assisted Human Reproduction facility may not require anonymous gametes or embryos.  They must, when acquiring the gametes or embryos, ascertain the name, date of birth, nationality, date and place of donation, and contact details for the donor.

In performing a DAHR procedure, the facility must obtain the name, date of birth, address and contact details of an intending parent.  It must ensure that the requisite consents of the intending mother are secured.

Where the spouse, civil partner or cohabiting parent of the birth mother is to be the second parent of any child born as a result of the procedure, the facility must ensure that the birth mother and that person have specifically consented to that person being a parent.

The facility must ensure that each donor has consented to the use of the gametes or embryos.  They may not be used where consent has been revoked.

Facilities may use anonymous gametes for up to three years from commencement of the legislation where an intending parent wishes to use the donation to have a genetic sibling for a child already born to an intending parent.  Facilities may also use embryos formed prior to commencement of the legislation.  There is no time limit on such use.

An intending parent must information the facility as to whether the procedure has resulted in a pregnancy and, if so, the date of expected birth.  Where a child is born, the intending parent must inform the facility of the name, date of birth, sex and address of the child.  If the intending parent does not provide these details, the facility must contact the parent or make reasonable efforts through other means to obtain the information.

Where the information is sought, the facility is to issue a certificate confirming that procedure took place, indicating that the donation of gametes or an embryo and confirming consent of the birth mother and where applicable, her spouse, civil partner and cohabiting partner.

The facility must provide information to the Minister for Health on the donor and intending parent.  It must notify whether a procedure has resulted in a pregnancy.  Where it results in a birth from a donor-conceived child, it must inform the Minister of the name, date of birth, sex and address of the child.  This must be done within 6 months of the DAHR procedure, and include  full information following birth of a child born as a result of the procedure.

The Department of Health has rights to seek information in relation to compliance by the facility with the legislation.  There were standard powers to appoint authorised persons who may inspect facilities, records etc. to ensure compliance.  The operators of facilities must comply with requirements made and furnish information sought.

It is an offence to fail to supply the requisite information to authorised persons or to allow inspection of the facility etc.  It is subject on summary conviction to a class A fine and imprisonment up to 12 months or on indictment, to a fine of up to €70,000 or imprisonment up to two years.

If the Minister considers the facility is not in compliance, it may issue an order directing a facility to comply.  It may apply to the Circuit Court for a compliance order if there is failure in compliance.  If there is persistent failure of compliance, the Minister may apply to the Circuit Court to prevent the facility carrying out procedures until such time as its obligations are complied with.

A national donor-conceived person register is established under the auspices of the Department of Health.  It records information on the name, date of birth, sex and address of the donor-conceived children.  It holds information on the donor, parents, date and place of the procedure and the name and address of the facility at which it took place.  The form of register is prescribed.

A donor-conceived child who has reached the age of 18 or a parent of such a child is able to receive non-identifying information on the donor, the number of children born through gametes donated by the donor and the sex and year of birth of each of them.  The donor is entitled to information from the register on the number of persons born as a result of the procedure and the sex and year of birth of each of them.

A donor-conceived child over 18 may access information on the donor by writing to the Department of Health requesting release of information on the relevant donor on the register.  The Minister must inform the donor that the request has been made.

The donor has 12 weeks in which to object and indicate objections.  It must be on the grounds that the safety and well-being of the donor or the child would be affected if the information was released.  The Minister will decide if there are substantial reasons to withhold or release information.  Information is released automatically if there is no reply from the donor within 12 weeks.

A donor has the right to ask the Department for the name, date of birth and contact details of a donor-conceived child over 18.  The donor-conceived child may ask that his name, date of birth or contact details be recorded on the register.  He or she must record consent on the register to the release of information.

If the donor requests information on the child, the Minister will write to the child requesting if he objects to the release but only if the child has already asked the Minister to note on the register that he is willing to have that information released.  The child has 12 weeks in which to object and if she does not object, the information will be released to the donor.

A donor-conceived child may request the Minister for Health to record his consent, on the national donor-conceived register, to the release of his name, date of birth and contact details to a donor-conceived sibling.  In this case, if the sibling makes the request, the Minister writes to the sibling asking if they may be released.  The donor-conceived child has an opportunity to object within 12 weeks.  If no objection is received by, the information will be released.

A person whose personal details are recorded on the national donor-conceived person register may write to have the information updated on the register.

The Minister/Department must be satisfied that a donor-conceived child or a donor has received counselling before the Minister records the statement on the register giving the donor-conceived child consent to the release of information to the donor or his donor-conceived sibling, or before the Minister releases information to a donor-conceived child on the donor or donor-conceived sibling, or to a donor on a donor-conceived child.

When an entry is made on the national donor-conceived register, the Registrar General of Births must be notified.  He must note on the Register of Births that there is a record on the child on the national donor-conceived register.  If a person over 18 applies for his birth cert, the Registrar shall inform the person, when issuing the birth certificate, that further information relating to the person is available on the national donor-conceived person register.

The Minister has power to make regulations for the above purposes.


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