RFEN Reciprocal IVF

This content is provided for information purposes only and is not legal advice. If you are unsure as to the legal status or benefit of any actions or have a complex situation that is not addressed here, please contact a Solicitor if you have access to one or contact FLAC www.flac.ie who may be able to assist you. Information last updated April 2021.


What is Reciprocal IVF?

Reciprocal IVF, also known as ‘shared motherhood’, involves one partner (the birth parent and legal mother) carrying a child conceived using donor sperm but also the egg of the other intended parent. This is a donor conception method that is relatively new to Irish clinics albeit that other European clinics have been offering it as a service for far longer.

What is the legal position in Ireland?

Currently in Ireland there is no enacted legislation that directly addresses reciprocal IVF as a pathway to parenthood. Plain reading of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 does not prohibit Reciprocal IVF post-4th May 2020 (date of commencement of Parts 2&3). For retrospective applications (existing children) it was believed that the requirement that the donor remain unknown to the Birth Mother would have precluded an application for a Declaration of Parentage in Reciprocal IVF cases. However, a recent opinion of the Attorney General appears to suggest that this isn’t in fact an issue and couples in these cases should be treated the same as couples who use donor sperm only. Without further detail on this matter, it is assumed that this is the case because the person who is providing the egg in these circumstances is the intending parent and should not therefore be treated as a donor at all under the Act.

How do I become legally recognised?

For children conceived after the 4th May 2020, you are automatically recognised and can register your child's birth in the normal way provided the relevant legal criteria were met (i.e. required consents were given, the relevant procedure took place in an Irish clinic and the child was born in Ireland).
For children conceived before the 4th May 2020, you can apply for a Declaration of Parentage through the Re-Registration process provided for in the CFRA.
Re-Registration Process