Three major Irish LGBT groups have responded after Pope Francis called for a universal ban on surrogacy during an address in Rome on Monday, January 8.

“The desire to create and have a family is a universal one which includes people from the LGBTQI+ community,” LGBT Ireland, Irish Gay Dads, and Equality for Children said in a joint statement shared with GCN on January 9.

“In many examples of family planning, infertility, whether medical or social, can lead people to look to routes such as adoption, assisted donor conception, and surrogacy to build their family.

“We support the right of people to do this.

"We also support legislation that will protect and ensure the highest of standards are upheld to benefit all involved: the surrogate mother, the child, and the intending parents.

“LGBT Ireland, Equality for Children, and Irish Gay Dads have been working together for the last number of years to campaign for legislation that is fully inclusive of all LGBTQI+ people.

"Before Christmas, we held a briefing for TDs and Senators and met directly with the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD. The Assisted Human Reproduction Bill that is currently before the Oireachtas must ensure that the pathways to parenthood are open to everyone and that all children are treated equally.”

The joint statement from the Irish LGBTQI+ groups was issued after Pope Francis called for a universal ban on surrogacy during a foreign policy address in Rome to ambassadors accredited to the Holy See.

“The path to peace calls for respect for life, for every human life, starting with the life of the unborn child in the mother’s womb, which cannot be suppressed or turned into an object of trafficking," the Pope said during his address.

“In this regard, I deem deplorable the practice of so-called surrogate motherhood, which represents a grave violation of the dignity of the woman and the child, based on the exploitation of situations of the mother’s material needs.

“A child is always a gift and never the basis of a commercial contract.

“Consequently, I express my hope for an effort by the international community to prohibit this practice universally.”

As Citizens Information notes, there is no specific legislation for surrogacy in Ireland - it is not legal or illegal.

However, as the Irish groups noted in their statement, legislation is underway in the Oireachtas.

Ireland's Department of Health said on December 12 that the Irish Government had approved Committee Stage Amendments to the Health (Assisted Human Reproduction) Bill 2022.

The amendments, the Department noted, include "new provisions in respect of the regulation of international surrogacy agreements and the recognition of certain past surrogacy arrangements."