A welcome step in the right direction. 

Women in a lesbian couple will be able to register as parents of a baby conceived with the help of a sperm donor, under proposed legislation.

The Assisted Human Reproduction Bill 2017, which plans to regulate a range of practices, for assisted human reproduction (AHR), is currently working its way through the Oireachtas.

The Bill, which was proposed in October 2017 and signed off by Cabinet on Tuesday, will finally provide a legal position on surrogacy, something Ireland has never had. 

It will be brought to the Dáil in the coming weeks. 

Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty said she was "delighted to be able to move the matter forward quickly", adding that the issue was a very sensitive one which was of "great importance" to the families affected.

An important aim of the legislation is to promote and ensure the health and safety of parents, and children born as a result of AHR treatment, as well as other parties who may be involved such as donors and surrogates. In this regard, consideration of the welfare and best interests of children born through AHR is a key principle underpinning the Scheme.

However, the proposed legislation will not extend the same rights to men in same-sex relationships who have children as that crosses over with separate surrogacy laws under the auspice of the Department of Health.

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