breda_obrien100103412Breda O’Brien of the Iona Institute (top) and Dr Deirdre Madden (UCC)

Earlier, on RTÉ Radio One’s Today with Seán O’Rourke, Seán introduced an item on surrogacy with the following:

Seán O’Rourke: “And that’s Helen Hayes speaking last month about surrogacy. Now after that interview went out we received a call from Breda O’Brien of the Iona Institute expressing concerns about surrogacy. She’s with me now in studio and in our Cork studio, I’m joined by Dr Deirdre Madden, senior lecturer in Medical Law at University College Cork.”


Dr Deirdre Madden: “Thus far, there has been no indication that children born through this means [surrogacy] have experienced any psychological problems. I do acknowledge when they do reach adolescence or when they are older that issue may arise. But as I say, for the moment the results are very positive.

Breda O’Brien: “But Deirdre you know those studies have tiny sample numbers, some of them are self-reporting by parents. It’s the parent’s estimation of the difficulties or otherwise of the children.”

Madden: “But this also Breda was introducing the children’s teachers in school and other adult figures in their lives.”

O’Brien: “In some cases the children don’t know as well. In some cases the children weren’t actually aware. I think the best thing we can say about studies is that they’re inconclusive, that they don’t show any evidence one way or the other.”


Madden: “I think it is very paternalistic to suggest that women would not be able to enter into this sort of arrangement with full and voluntary consent.”

O’Brien: “In fact, it’s maternalistic. It’s the desire that women would be protected in the situation and the children be protected as well.”

Madden: “Most women don’t actually feel that the children that they’re carrying are their children, particularly but not only where the child is the full genetic child of the intended parents.”

O’Brien: “So you’re thinking of women as vessels then?”

Madden: “No. I’m saying that the women themselves do not consider the child they’re carrying to be theirs.”

O’Brien: “So therefore, they’re just a vessel?”

Madden: “That’s not how they consider it. They consider that they’re giving a wonderful gift to this infertile couple.”

O’Brien: “Which they are but at what price and at what cost and is it not better to follow the example of other European countries? You’re never going to get rid of it completely but you can send out a very strong cultural message that this is not the thing to do.”

Not Breda’s first or probably last time to debate an expert on Radio One.

Listen here.

Download here.

Previously: What The Man From The UN Said

Dr Peter Boylan and Breda O’Brien: The Transcript

Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

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38 thoughts on “SurrogateGate

  1. Llareggub

    Okay Breda, I think I’ve got you now. it’s okay for a woman to be a vessel for her rapists child, but the rules change for surrogacy even though it’s consensual. Right you be so.

  2. Tom Stewart

    I haven’t time to listen to the whole interview, but I ask why in this excerpt Breda O’Brien does not present one cogent reason why she thinks surrogacy is a problem.

    Also, she rang up Radio One to come in to tell the country that “this is not the thing to do”. What a neck. I would like to put her in a room with an infertile woman who desperately wants children, who is pursuing surrogacy. Then tell that woman that BO’B would like her to know what “this is not the thing to do”.

    (I lock the door and walk away).

    1. Ahjayzis

      Pitch that idea to RTE immediately!

      Reality show wherein Breda et al go on a camping holiday with a group of the people they seek to deny stuff to. Gay couple, infertile couple, someone with MND that could benefit from stem cell research, a survivor of clerical abuse – she’d set them all straight in no time!

    2. Sidewinder

      That’s because she has no problem with surrogacy. Her problem is with IVF they’re just hitting out at this first because they think they can make women out to be victims of their own choices as they do with fupping everything except sh*t where women actually are victims. Where the hell are the Iona institute when women are raped or beaten or abused and the perpetrator is sentenced to a fine?

  3. LeScull

    Why are RTE giving so much air time to the Iona Institute?
    Who or what gives them the ability to phone RTE and get time on air as and when they like?
    Can anyone with a contrary opinion or “concern” just ring RTE and demand airtime?
    Why are they granted such a privileged position?

    1. Ms Piggy

      this. It’s unwittingly (I assume. Or maybe a small act of defiance against his producer?) revealing of O’Rourke to explain so clearly how that exchange came to take place. The Iona Institute apparently have a special hotline into RTE and are given a platform to argue with any position they take exception to. I know it’s been asked many times here and elsewhere, but who do RTE think this shower represent, except themselves and the American far-right who fund much of their activities?

      And as for the substance of her comments (such as it was) she really doesn’t get the whole idea of women making informed decisions FOR THEMSELVES, does she?

  4. Zynks

    So the UN HRC’s point about women being treated as a vessel did actually bother the ‘Ionites’. Interesting.

  5. well

    I have relatives that exist because of IVF, who wouldn’t exist if these people had their way, prolife me arse.

    1. Ahjayzis

      In fairness membership of the Iona ‘Institute’ does not comprise 10% of the population.

      It’s about five.

    1. Kill the Poor

      I wondered that too, her anti surrogacy argument also therefore argues against adoption !

      Does she want these children to fend for themselves and let her god decide their fate !

  6. YourNan

    Breda and that Ali from the Muslim cultural centre should go on a date, they have much in common, denying people rights and treating women like mindless sperm canisters being some off the top my head.

  7. Mark Dennehy

    Breda O’Brien, eh?
    Well, okay, but now for Balance, RTE has to have an interview with someone who actually knows something and doesn’t have their head firmly wedged up their own backside.

  8. Tom Stewart

    Why did Broadsheet not give this post a chance to gestate (no joke intended)? It could have been a 100-comment-er!

    The post has great legs. But they posted 5 other posts within an hour of it.

  9. KirkenBrenner

    The more airtime Breda gets, the more people will realise she’s completely out of her depth when confronted with facts.

  10. Selfie Sensation

    What a maroon, anything she doesn’t understand or like is to be banned on the basis of protecting mothers and children, in this case by preventing their conception.

  11. Planet of the Missing Biros

    What about the incidents where an imperfect twin is left behind by selfish rich people who don’t tell anyone about the surrogacy until they’re safely home with their perfect baby?

    I don’t have a religious objection to surrogacy. My objection is that it is exploitative and almost always involves poorer people in need of money renting out their wombs and emotions to some selfish rich white woman who thinks she’s entitled to anything she wants. Yet anytime you see them interviewed you can see them cringing with guilt. They know what they’re doing is exploitation.

    Some people just aren’t supposed to have children and they should just have the grace to accept it.

    Deep down you know it’s true of most of them.

    1. Llareggub

      I think your concerns are valid which is why regulation is needed. But what gets me here is the hypocrisy and control of the Ioanists. They seem to want to dictate that women should carry babies to full term against their wishes and now they seem to want to ensure that consensual surrogacy should not be allowed to happen, the same way they want to dictate laws for homosexual union.

      Breda always uses the word concern, voiced in her concerned tone. The woman’s a control-freak and I have no idea why she gets to hog the airways so much.

  12. scottser

    ‘Some people just aren’t supposed to have children and they should just have the grace to accept it.’

    really? have some more rope, lad.

    1. Llareggub

      Planet would make a great grief counsellor. He’s dead, get over yourself – now have the grace to accept it!

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