Release, 11th March 2015 – For immediate release
Rights Alliance concerned about identity rights in Children and Family
Rights Alliance (ARA), which advocates for equal identity rights for
those affected by Ireland’s closed, secret, forced adoption system has
said while there is much to welcome in the Children and Family
Relationships Bill, it is nonetheless concerned that the Bill does not
go far enough to ensure that history does not repeat itself.
concerns cover three main areas: a) the lack of retrospective rights
for those born before the enactment of this legislation b) the lack of
information provided while the child is growing up and c) the
information sought from the donor at the time of donation is wholly
The organisation has submitted a
Briefing Note to the Oireachtas, urging legislators to implement
the necessary changes.
It is now 63
years after the introduction of adoption legislation in Ireland, which
contains no provision for up to 100,000 adopted people to learn about
their families of origin. Yet, ironically, through this Bill the Irish
State is legislating for the identity rights of a relatively small
number of donor conceived people whilst continuing to ignore the much
publicised plight of adopted people.
conceived by anonymous egg and sperm donation and those adopted as
embryos face the same identity issues as adopted people, which is why
ARA has campaigned on this issue since its foundation in 2009 and
since 2003 through our predecessor organisation, AdoptionIreland.
We are still learning from Ireland’s past practices of closed,
secret, forced adoption and we hope that those who are donor conceived
can benefit from our experience and be spared the injustice of having
to grow up without access to their full identities.
deeply disappointed that this Bill does not provide for retrospective
rights for donor conceived people.
These children and adults should not be ignored simply because
the State has failed to act in time.
At the very least, the State should provide a service to assist
those who are affected in establishing their genetic heritage, and it
should ensure that the donors in question are obliged to put their
details on the National Donor Conceived Person Register.
welcome the inclusion of a note on the birth certificates of donor
conceived people, we believe the Bill does not go far enough to ensure
that children grow up knowing about their genetic heritage.
Simply put, one’s identity should not be provided as an 18th
birthday present. The details sought amount to no more than a
thumbnail sketch, comparable to the non-identifying information given
to Ireland's 100,000 adopted people, which has been roundly rejected
as utterly insufficient.
the level of information gathered about donors under this legislation
is completely inadequate for donor conceived people to learn about
their genetic heritage.
In this context we are disturbed to read the commentary by some
doctors in media who have argued against the ban on anonymous
donations and for this reason, we believe that the strictest possible
regulation should be in place to ensure that DAHR operators are bound
to uphold the identity rights of the children involved.
wishes to point out that heterosexual couples also avail of assisted
human reproductive services and we are strongly critical of
commentators from a minority section of society who unfairly focus on
lesbian and gay parents in the context of this legislation.
In our opinion this has resulted in the real issues surrounding
children’s rights being lost, because the debate is invariably
dominated by those who are operating from a different agenda and who
have no track record in campaigning for identity rights for adopted
legislators to listen to the voice of those who have experience of
closed secret adoption, because ignorance will not be an acceptable
excuse when donor conceived adults come forward seeking information
about their genetic heritage in the future.
Click here to download the briefing note