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FamilyMaters

While many gay male couples in Ireland have had children using surrogate pregnancies, the current legalities around surrogacy in Ireland are diicult at best. A new bill will aim to iron out the issues, but legal professionals and LGBT+ organisations are raising major issues with its current shape, while for one gay couple the delay with its introduction has proven untenable. Brian Finnegan reports.

Five years ago, Irish couple Dan and Philip* had their twins through surrogacy in England, with a surrogate mother they met through a friend. Their journey towards having children wasn’t a straightforward one. The first attempt, using a known donor, wasn’t successful and, because IVF is so expensive in the UK, they decided to look further afield, eventually settling on a clinic in Cyprus that sourced an anonymous donor. After another failed attempt, their surrogate eventually became pregnant with triplets. One of the children was miscarried, and then twins, a boy and a girl, were born at 33 weeks.

“There were very hard and sad moments, but in the end our journey through the pregnancy itself was amazing,” says Dan. “We never missed a scan, and our surrogate had a brilliant relationship with us. She still sees the kids and keeps in touch; she’s like an auntie to them. She’s not their genetic mother, but we share a good relationship together.”

The family came back to Ireland when the twins were four weeks old, with doctors in England advising them to contact the health system here immediately regarding their little boy, as some abnormalities had been found.

“The first year, our son was very sick and in hospital every month with chest infections,” says Dan. “Eventually we were told that he has a very rare genetic condition called Noonan’s. It means that he has an intellectual disability and that he will need assistance all his life. He’s five now and in pre-school with an SNA and he’s doing good. At least now he’s got a diagnosis and he can get the help he needs.”

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About GCN

In this month’s bumper celebration of wedded bliss, we talk to loved-up couples who enjoyed the biggest day of their lives in 2018 and get some insider info on organising the main event. Not content with bringing you all the news that matters, your favourite magazine’s history of matchmaking is revealed as we talk to couples who met through the pages of GCN. Alongside a one-stop directory of wedding day info, we have some handy etiquette tips for attendees and a history of the battle for same-sex marriage around the globe. We continue our series of interviews with LGBT+ asylum seekers in the Direct Provision system and author Darragh Martin speaks about his new book, Future Popes of Ireland. It’s a jam-packed October issue!