Daughter of a same-sex couple ‘doesn’t exist’ after being refused citizenship by three different countries
The daughter of a same-sex couple is being refused Irish citizenship because she was born through IVF, despite one of her mothers being a citizen of the Republic of Ireland.
Sinéad Deevy, from Ireland, and Kashka Sankowska, from Poland, told the Irish Times that their daughter “is stateless, she doesn’t exist”.
The couple were living in Ireland together, but left the country on a “temporary basis” to have a baby through IVF as the process was too expensive at home.
Sankowska tried for four years to get pregnant through IVF in Poland, where the family are currently living, but they later decided to go to Spain as they said it is “very liberal and open” when it comes to same-sex families.
Eventually Sankowska became pregnant in 2017, and the couple got married in 2018. Their daughter Sofia was born in Spain less than three months after the wedding, and they applied for her to have Irish citizenship so they could return home.
However, even though the Civil Registration Bill 2019 was passed this year allowing women in Ireland to both be named parents on a child’s birth certificate, this does not cover children born abroad.
Therefore only Sankowska, who is not an Irish citizen, is considered Sofia’s mother as she is the parent who gave birth.
According to the Irish Times, the couple contacted government ministers, including the minister for foreign affairs, but could not resolve the issue.
They then tried to get Sofia Polish citizenship, but it could not be registered because Poland does not recognise birth certificates with same-sex parents.
Their last resort was to request Spanish citizenship, which Sofia is entitled to under Spanish law, but were told that as a gay couple it could take up to four years.
No longer able to afford to live in Spain, the family have now returned to Poland, but as discrimination against LGBT+ people in the country is on the rise, they said that it is not a permanent solution for them.
Sankowska told the Irish Times: “There is a strong anti-gay movement supported by the current government.
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“We wouldn’t be openly affectionate on the street with each other, especially when Sofia is with us. We would definitely be scared.”
Deevy added: “We only left Ireland on a temporary basis, we had never thought of moving away permanently.
“Kashka lived in Ireland for over 10 years… Right now we feel we’ve been abandoned with no support from the Irish Government. Our daughter is stateless, she doesn’t exist.”
The couple want to raise awareness of their situation and urge the government to rethink the current legislation on babies born abroad.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) told the Irish Times in a statement that a person born outside Ireland is an Irish citizen if born to an Irish-born, Irish citizen parent.
It added that according to Irish Nationality and Citizenship 1956 Act, the State recognises the mother as the person who gave birth to the child.