Tusla - Ireland's Child & Family Agency

Who may adopt

Who may adopt

The following persons are eligible to adopt:

  • a married couple who are living together,
  • civil partners of each other who are living together,
  • a cohabiting couple, 
  • a parent, step parent or relative of the child,
  • a sole applicant

 For more information, see Adoption Act 2010 and Amendment Act 2017

Ages of adopters

Minimum age

A couple adopting a child, to whom they are not related, must both be at least 21 years of age. Where the child is being adopted, a person who is married, who is in a civil partnership or is cohabiting, and where one of the partners is the parent or a relative of the child, only one partner must have attained the age of 21 years.

Upper Age

The law does not lay down upper age limits for prospective adoptive parent/s.  However, age is a significant factor when assessing a couple's suitability to adopt.

Residency of adopters

Prospective adoptive parent/s must be habitually resident in the State and have been so resident for at least one year before the date of the making of the adoption order.


Under law where the prospective adoptive parent/s, the child and every person whose consent to the making of an adoption order is necessary are not all of the same religion (if any), every person whose consent to the making of an adoption order is necessary must know the religion (if any) of each of the prospective adoptive parent/s, when giving consent to the child's adoption.


Consent of the mother and or guardians of the child to the adoption is a legal requirement. If the father does not have automatic guardianship or has not obtained guardianship rights, the birth father’s consent is not required. However, the birth father (in this instance) and all other relevant non-guardians are consulted (if possible) about the adoption of the child.

The mother, father (where he is guardian) or other guardians must give initial consent or be in agreement with the placing of a child for adoption. This consent may be withdrawn at any time before the making of an Adoption Order.

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