The Department of Health has not ruled out including the regulation of international surrogacy in the Assisted Human Reproduction Bill.

In a statement it said an inter-departmental group was established to review a special Oireachtas committee's report recommendations.

Earlier this year, the special committee was set up to examine how legal relationships could be established between children who have previously been born through surrogacy to Irish parents and those that will be born in the future.

In July, the committee published a report which was received by Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly - who is the lead minister on the issue - Minister for Justice Helen McEntee, and Minister for Children Roderic O'Gorman.

Today, the Department of Health said the clear intention of the group, and that of the three main Ministers concerned, was that the appropriate vehicle for accommodating legislative proposals in respect of international surrogacy would be through "the insertion of relevant provisions into the Health (Assisted Human Reproduction) Bill 2022 at Committee Stage".

The clarification comes after the Minister of State Mary Butler gave an update to the Seanad on behalf of the Department of Health.

She said the undertaking of surrogacy arrangements in other jurisdictions raised "complex ethical questions" concerning areas of law that intersect across the remits of several government departments.

She noted that there was no international consensus or multi-lateral instrument on the issue but pointed out that an expert group appointed by the Hague Conference on Private International Law would report next year, following a formal study of the private international law issues being encountered.

Senator Mary Seery-Kearney said it was "unacceptable" that after all the work that had been done that "all they're doing is developing a policy position".

The department has said that any policy and legislative proposals that may arise following the completion of the departments' examination of the committee’s recommendations will require consideration and approval by Government.