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20th Jun 2024

Meet The Parents: Ranae’s fight for equality for LGBTQ+ families in Ireland

Sophie Collins

Renae Von Medding

Meet Ranae Von Medding, a 36-year-old marketing professional who lives in Dublin with her wife, Audrey, and their three children, Ava, Aria, and 14-week-old baby Ali

Ranae is also the CEO of Equality for Children, a non-profit organisation dedicated to fighting for the rights of children in LGBTQ+ families in Ireland.

Ranae is intimately familiar with the challenges posed by the existing fertility legislation and was kind enough to share her family’s experience with the existing legal framework with Her Family.

“If you have used an Irish fertility clinic and you are two women, and you have a child born in Ireland as a result of donor conception in one of those clinics, you can both be acknowledged as your child’s parents on their birth certificate. 

“However, if you use an international clinic, if your child is born outside of Ireland, or if you don’t use a fertility clinic, that child can only be legally connected to the parent who gives birth.”

This discrepancy in the legislation has direct consequences for families like Ranae’s. 

Renae von Medding

“In our situation, our two daughters have two legal parents, but Ali, who was just born and conceived outside of Ireland, only has one legal parent – me, because I gave birth. 

“While we have made huge progress in terms of some children now having a legal connection to both parents, we have such a long way to go. 

“There are so many children just like Ali who only have a legal connection to one parent and who are not treated the same as every other child in Ireland.”

As explained by Equality for Children: “While the recent enactment of the Children and Families Relationships Act (CFRA) was a step in the right direction, only a small number of children have benefitted from this legislation. 

“If you are an LGBTQ+ family who falls outside of the parameters of the CFRA, only the parent who is deemed to be the birth and/or biological parent can be listed on their child’s birth certificate. 

“This results in many avoidable issues for children as they grow up; medical treatment, school enrollments, foreign travel, tax/inheritance rights are just some of the areas that are needlessly complicated when one parent is viewed as a legal stranger to their child.”

The complexity of Ranae’s situation is further highlighted by she and Audrey’s use of reciprocal IVF. 

“We did reciprocal IVF to have our children. This means we used Audrey’s eggs, donor sperm, and I carried the pregnancies. 

Renae Von Medding

“Even though I gave birth to our babies, they are biologically and genetically my wife’s children. 

“So the fact that my wife doesn’t have a legal connection to her genetic baby is crazy.”

Ranae points out a troubling pattern in Irish legislation: “It’s not uncommon for Ireland to bring in legislation that covers some children and not all of them.”

To address these issues, Ranae went on to emphasise the importance of awareness and advocacy: 

“The number one way you can help is by talking about this and sharing the information. You can follow Equality for Children.You can follow me, Ranae Von Medding, and you can talk to your friends and family about this.

“So many people just assume that marriage equality in 2015 fixed everything for LGBTQ+ families, and it absolutely did not. 

“Ireland voted yes, and we do not have equality now. We will not be equal until everyone is equal.”

Ranae’s compelling story shows the urgent need for comprehensive legislative reform to ensure all children in Ireland, regardless of their parents’ sexual orientation or the circumstances of their conception, have equal rights and recognition. 

The fight for true equality continues, and public support and awareness is driving this change.


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