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I am not your Equal

My name is Ranae and I am the same as you.

However I’m not seen as your equal. Neither is my wife. You see, we are a married same sex couple. Despite the passing of Marriage Equality in 2015, we are not treated the same as straight married couples.

Mama, Ava, Arya and Mom

We have two beautiful daughters conceived through Reciprocal IVF (my wife's eggs and I carried the babies!) Ava is 2 and our youngest, Arya, is 8 weeks old. Our girls are biologically my wife’s, but I gave birth. Because of this, I am seen as their mother under the Irish law. And Audrey, whose DNA is coursing through our children, is seen as a legal stranger. I am married. Yet I am viewed as a single parent. If something were to happen to me, it is unclear who would be ‘next in line’ to our children. It might not be my wife.

There is new legislation coming soon, which will allow for some female same sex couples to gain equal recognition as parents to their children. It has been reported in the media as a big step forward for equality. However this is a lie. It is not equality. Because it’s not for everybody. It’s is only for a select few who meet the very narrow criteria. It will not apply to my wife and I because we did treatment abroad and because we did Reciprocal IVF. It will not apply to many other same sex families. I am happy for those who will be covered under the legislation, but how can it be fair to say that some children are allowed to have their parents recognised and others are not?

Under this new legislation they consider my wife as an ‘egg donor’ which is outrageous. We used her genetic material to conceive our children. Isn’t that what heterosexual couples do when doing IVF? They use their spouses genetic material to conceive? The only difference here is our gender. Does that sound like homophobic discrimination to you? Because it sure does to me.

All I want is for our daughters to be treated the same as yours. No more and no less. Just as equals. I will fight until I have no breath left in me. I will fight for our children. I will not stop until we are all equal.

Mom, Arya, Ava and Mama

The early days of parenthood are tough without having to contend with all of this. Trying to recover after a birth is hard enough. And we haven’t had a chance to slow down. People keep telling me to take it easy and to leave all of this until another time. But I can’t. How can I possibly stop fighting this, when our children are not safe? I am only doing what any other Mama would do. I am making sure my babies will always be secure and protected.

And I’m doing this so that our children will grow up in a country that values each citizen equally regardless of the sex of their parents.

Ranae x


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