An Irish gay couple living in Canada say their infant son has been denied an Irish passport unless they prove one of them is the biological father.
The process is lengthy, expensive and would leave the other partner with no parental rights in Ireland.
Jay O’Callaghan and Aaron O’Bryan, who both have Irish passports but are permanent residents in Canada, had their son Jake through surrogacy and both men provided sperm to fertilise the donor egg.
The couple do not want to know whose genetic material was passed to Jake, who was born in Toronto, Canada.
“We never want to know. We’re his dads,” O’Callaghan told CTV News.
The couple are currently waiting for Canadian passports and want their son to be a dual citizen, as they often visit family in Ireland.
They enquired about applying for an Irish passport for Jake, but after six months without a response, they were told they would need to prove who the biological father is.
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Applying for a declaration of parentage involves appearing before an Irish court with DNA tests, which is a costly process.
Under Irish law, the mother is the person who gives birth to the child or the female who adopted the child.
Therefore, without providing DNA proof of who Jake’s father is, the surrogate and her partner could be considered the boy’s legal parents in Ireland – despite neither of them having a biological connection to him as a donor egg was used.
O’Callaghan and O’Bryan have pointed out they would not be in this situation if they were a heterosexual couple.
“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 said.
“Canadian law recognises both of us as our son’s parents, but the thought of moving to a country, our home country, that leaves us in the dark with no parental rights is nothing but barbaric.”
He told CTV that they have contacted politicians in Ireland, including the health minister Simon Harris, asking for assistance and a change to the current rules.
O’Bryan said they did not yet have a definitive answer. “We don’t know what position we are in right now,” he added.