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Patient Information regarding commencement of the Children and Family’s Relationship Act 2015

The department of health has now set a date of the 4th May 2020 for the commencement of parts 2 & 3 of the Children and Family’s Relationship Act.

This legislation will bring many positive changes to the use of donor gametes in Ireland, and to parents who have struggled up to  now to have both their names listed on their child’s birth certificate.  We are hugely supportive of these changes, and know how much it will mean to so many of our patients.

We are conscious however, that the proposed timeline for introducing this legislation will cause some unintended, but very serious, negative consequences for many of our patients. These include financial loss, delays to treatment, and restrictions on the use of donor gametes you have already purchased.  Please read on to see if you will be affected

For patients who have purchased anonymous donor sperm;

If you have already had a child with this donor, then you will have three years (until May 4th 2023) to use any straws that are already in Ireland. If they are not in Ireland at the time of commencement we will not be able to order them for you. If you have straws reserved with your sperm bank please contact us to arrange shipment as soon as possible.

If you have purchased anonymous donor sperm but have not had a child you will not be able to use this donor once the legislation commences.

No time restrictions have been placed on the use of embryos already created, so if you do have any embryos in storage with us, they will be available for you if you wish to use them. 

 

For patients who have purchased identifiable donor sperm;

All donors must now complete a specific consent form to give permission for their details to be recorded on the Irish donor registry being created by the Department of Health. The consent forms were only made available by the Department of Health towards the end of January 2020. They were immediately given to the sperm banks and they are working to have as many donors as possible consented before the 4th May. However, it is unlikely that all donors will be consented and compliant with Irish law give the timeframe. If your donor is consented, then there will be no issues and you can proceed with treatment as planned.

If your donor is not consented, then he will be treated in the same way as an anonymous donor and the following applies:

If you have already had a child with this donor, you will have three years (until May 4th 2023) to use any straws that are already in Ireland. If the straws are not in Ireland at the time of commencement we will not be able to order them for you unless the donor is consented at a later date. If you have straws reserved with your sperm bank please contact us to arrange shipment as soon as possible.

If you have purchased identifiable donor sperm but have not had a child you will not be able to use this donor once the legislation commences until such a time that the donor signs the consent form to go on the Irish registry.

No time restrictions have been placed on the use of embryos already created, so if you do have any embryos in storage with us, they will be available for you if you wish to use them, so please don’t be concerned. 

Egg Donation Patients

Our anonymous oocyte donation programme is no longer available, but our identifiable egg donation programme is still an option for all patients. The oocyte donors have consented to being placed on a national register, and have begun signing the new consent forms as soon as they were made available to us.

For patients hoping to begin treatment

All donors suitable for treatment at Sims will now be identifiable. We are working closely with the sperm banks to obtain a list of Irish compliant donors and will share that with individual patients as soon as it is available. There will be a reduced selection of donors and potential delays finding a suitable sperm donor who has signed the correct consent forms. For now we are happy to facilitate patients who wish to proceed with an identifiable donor, as long as they are aware of the risk the donor may not sign the consent form.

Other changes

From May 5th, it will become a legal requirement for clinics to report all treatments using donor sperm, egg or embryos and their outcomes to the Department of Health. A record of these donor assisted treatments and their outcomes will be held on a registry by the Department of Health and in line with many other countries, will become a source of information for donor conceived children once they reach adulthood. In addition, patients will be required to sign a new document at every treatment called S.I. 545: Consent to parentage declaration.

If you believe your treatment may be affected please contact us and we will do our best to help you.