The “ethical, legal and social issues” arising from assisted human reproduction (AHR) practices will necessitate further consideration at the drafting stage of the Assisted Human Reproduction Bill, the Department of Health’s Bioethics Unit stated in a recent briefing document for Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.
The document was prepared for the Taoiseach prior to a meeting with “LGBTI+ organisations” in June.
In the document, obtained by the Medical Independent (MI) following a Freedom of Information request, the unit noted that “given the comprehensive scope of the legislation and the ethical, legal and social issues which arise from AHR practices, it is anticipated that certain areas of the general scheme will require further consideration and refinement during the drafting process”.
An analysis will take place of the Joint Committee on Health’s report on the general scheme and “the response of stakeholders, including LGBT Ireland, will feed into this process”, according to the document.
“Therefore, although the introduction of legislation in relation to AHR and associated research is a priority for the Minister for Health, it is not possible at this time to give a definitive timeline for the completion of the AHR Bill and its subsequent passage through the Houses of Oireachtas.”
A Department spokesperson did not provide MI with a timeframe for when the Bill is expected to be finalised.
Separately, a HSE spokesperson has confirmed that the recently-established steering committee on the development of a transgender identity service has held its first meeting.
It is examining the governance arrangements “across the multiple agencies that currently deliver transgender care”, according to the HSE spokesperson.
The committee is chaired by HSE National Clinical Adviser and Group Lead for Mental Health, Dr Siobhán Ní Bhriain.
It is anticipated that the committee’s work will be completed by the end of the year.