Same-Sex Parenting Series

“Audrey was in her fourth and I was in my first year of acting in Bull Alley. We were paired together at an open day and became friends. We were so different, yet we immediately clicked. We were friends for about a year and I knew Audrey wasn’t straight, but I had no idea that I was developing feelings for her. We are together for 12 years now and married for five. We both wanted to have kids. We talked about this from the moment we started dating. I always dreamed about being pregnant and I always wanted to breastfeed. Audrey wasn’t as keen on it, so we agreed that if we do IVF, I would be the one giving birth. One night after a few glasses of wine I had an idea. Wouldn’t it be cool if we could use your eggs but I would be the carrier? This way, the baby would genetically be yours, but I would give birth. We didn’t know if this was even possible, but we went on Google and, as crazy as it sounds, we found it’s possible. It’s called reciprocal IVF or ‘Shared Motherhood’. We were like OMG! We could actually do this! When we tried to book a clinic appointment, we soon found out that they don’t do this in Ireland. Back in 2015, it wasn’t licensed yet. We were a bit disappointed, but it made us more determined to find a way. We ended up finding a clinic in Spain. A few months later, we conceived our first child with an anonymous sperm donor. Because we live in Ireland and are a same-sex couple, we only found out later that I would have to be registered as the sole parent of our child. We knew from that moment that this was something that would greatly impact our family. I will never forget the day when we walked into the registration office on Lombard Street.”

”We saw all the proud parents with their babies and we sat there knowing that only my name will be on our birth certificate. When they called us into the room, the lady sat down behind her desk and didn’t really look at us. She then asked, ‘Okay, so which one of you is the mother?’ We said, ‘We both are.’ ‘Yeah, yeah I know. But which one of you gave birth?’ I said, ‘I did!’ She looked at me and said, ‘Okay Ranae, I will be directing all my questions at you, if that’s okay?’ And then, she didn’t even look at Audrey for the rest of the time. It felt like a kick in the gut. It was awful. We left totally deflated. As it stands, legally, I am considered a single parent to our daughters. My wife, who is their biological parent, is considered a legal stranger to our kids because she did not physically give birth to them. Our kids, along with countless others in Ireland, are denied the right to a legal connection with both of their parents simply because their parents are a homosexual couple. Naturally, most people are horrified when they hear this and find it hard to believe that this is still an issue after the marriage equality referendum. We were hoping that things would improve by the time we conceived our second child, three years later. Unfortunately, she is two now and we are still fighting hard against this discrimination.”

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