A group of Irish female politicians has joined together to fight for women to be given 20 days of leave following a miscarriage
A Labour Party Bill introduced by Senator Ivana Bacik is looking to implement the new law for women who lose a baby before the 24-week mark.
During the debate, several female politicians spoke of their personal experience with miscarriage and infertility, and if it is given the green light, the bill would also give women going through IVF ten days leave.
One of the women, Senator Mary Seery-Kearney, of Fine Gael, revealed she had suffered five miscarriages and had recently opened up about her journey to becoming a parent with her husband, David.
She told the Irish Daily Mail she had 13 rounds of IVF over 13 years. Her 13th round saw her have her daughter, Scarlett with the help of a surrogate from India in May 2015.
Mary said she started to consider surrogacy after watching a documentary in 2014 on RTE entitled Her Body, Our Babies.
She said of their journey: “We were terrified all the way, naturally. You don’t realise you are carrying the trauma of five miscarriages, but you are. I still didn’t believe I was going to hold the baby and then you hold her for the first time and then you start thinking ‘oh my goodness. This is real’.”
Mary is still not legally classed as Scarlett’s mother
Currently, the only way she can do this is to adopt her – something she refuses to do.
Another Senator who echoed Mary’s thoughts and feelings on infertility and miscarriage was Maria Sherlock.
She revealed she was told nine years ago that she would not be able to have children naturally.
She said the aftermath of this news was ‘devastating’ and something she found difficult to deal with.
In the debate, she said she had ‘moved heaven and earth to have children and was ‘one of the lucky ones.
She said: “It has taken me years to be able to talk about this. Not everyone wants to give birth. But, for those who do, to find out that you can’t is very difficult.”
After a traumatic IVF journey, Senator Sherlock went on to have three children, now aged six, four and one.
She added that she hopes the bill will give women choice.
The issue of publicly-funded IVF was also discussed and the senators urged the government to move forward quickly with its implementation.
Do you live in Ireland? Have you had fertility treatment? Or recurrent miscarriages? What do you think of this bill? We’d love to hear your story, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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