On 3 October 2017, the Government approved the General Scheme of the Assisted Human Reproduction Bill 2017 (the “Bill”).

The Bill will provide for the regulation of assisted human reproduction, and specifically refers to among other things, gamete and embryo donation, surrogacy, embryo / stem cell research.

The Bill will also provide for the establishment of a dedicated independent body to oversee the sector, to be known as the Assisted Human Reproduction Regulatory Authority (AHRRA). The Bill sets out details of the functions of the proposed AHRRA in the oversight of compliance with the proposed legislation, including the issuing of licences to Assisted Human Reproduction treatment providers and researchers.

The Bill states that the objective of the AHRRA will be to protect, promote and, as far as practicable, ensure the health and wellbeing of children born as a result of assisted human reproduction, the intending parents, and other persons involved in the process.

Minister for Health, Simon Harris will revert to the government by the end of the year with proposals for State funding for fertility treatment. The General Scheme will now be submitted to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health for review.

The text of the General Scheme of the Bill can be found here; and the government’s press release on the approval of the drafting of the Bill can be found here.