Geraldine Rea and Niamh O’Sullivan are the first same-sex couple in Ireland to both be recognised as legal parents on their child’s birth certificate, after giving birth to twin girls seven weeks ago. The Child and Family Relationships Act came into effect last year, allowing lesbian couples who conceived using a fertility clinic to both be named as legal co-parents, meaning either one can give medical consent or school permissions for the child.
Prior to the 2020 act, same-sex female couples were required to go through a court process in order for them both to be legally recognised on their child’s birth certificate. O’Sullivan told RTE News that it was “amazing” to be recognised as co-parents, saying: “Why should we have to go to court to state that I am there if Ger was their birth mother? Why would I have to go to court? It’s just much easier that I don’t now have to go to court and prove myself to be their other parent – I just am!”
Paula Fagan, chief executive of LGBT Ireland, described the event as a “huge step forward in terms of rights for same-sex parents”, adding: “It’s hugely important for children to have a legal relationship from birth with their parents, with the ones who care for them and love them on a daily basis.” However, not all LGBTQ+ couples, including gay men and women who have undergone fertility treatment aboard, are covered by the 2020 act. Fagan said efforts will continue to achieve full equality for LGBTQ+ parents.
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