'heartbroken' | 

Dublin dad of surrogate triplets stranded in Kenya slams agency involved

Edward O’Reilly and his partner, who live in Santry Cross in Dublin, left the African country on October 12, with just the birth certificates rather than their three baby girls.

Edward O’Reilly's triplets Briella, Camilla, and Renesmee. Picture by Gerry Mooney

Edward O'Reilly is trying to get his three daughters back to Ireland. Picture by Gerry Mooney

Edward O’Reilly's newborn daughters, triplets Briella, Camilla and Renesmee

Ali BrackenSunday Independent

A Dublin couple who were forced to leave their surrogate triplets in Kenya are preparing to fly back to their infant daughters this week to bring them home.

Edward O’Reilly and his partner, who live in Santry Cross in Dublin, left the African country “heartbroken” on October 12, with just the birth certificates rather than their three baby girls.

They used a surrogacy service which cost €50,000 and were told all expenses were covered in the initial payment. However, they were asked for a further €16,000 when they arrived.

Then they were asked for another €12,000 in hospital bills for the babies’ medication and food, along with an extra €11,000 to pay the medics. They cannot bring their daughters home until these costs are paid.

Mr O’Reilly set up a GoFundMe page, outlining the plight of their family, and almost €35,000 has now been raised. “We are completely overwhelmed and so grateful to the people of Ireland for their kindness and generosity,” he told the Sunday Independent.

Edward O’Reilly's newborn daughters, triplets Briella, Camilla and Renesmee

“We need about €38,000 to cover all of our costs to go back over, so we are nearly there, thank God. I can’t wait to see my daughters again. If I could get on a plane right this minute, I would. Hopefully it will happen next week.”

Briella, Camilla, and Renesmee were born almost three months prematurely on September 1. When Edward and his partner flew over to collect their babies four days later, they were not permitted to see them initially but instead were asked for more money.

The surrogacy agency also would not tell them which hospital their children were in without payment. However, the couple managed to find out themselves.

“As soon as we arrived in Kenya after they were born, and went to the surrogacy agency, alarm bells started to ring. I just wanted to see my kids and they kept asking about money. I was gobsmacked.

“We knew there might be medical complications, because they were triplets, but we were told they were OK. But when we finally saw them we couldn’t believe it. The girls had 20 tubes coming out of them. It was terrifying.”

Doctors initially thought Camilla might not survive.

Edward O'Reilly is trying to get his three daughters back to Ireland. Picture by Gerry Mooney

“I can’t explain how frightened we were. We didn’t know if Camilla was going to make it. But God granted us three little fighters. They are getting healthier every day.

“They are being cared for well in the hospital, but I just wish I was there with them.”​

Mr O’Reilly is in “daily contact” with the doctor in charge of the triplets’ care. The surrogate who had the babies is no longer at the hospital.

Mr O’Reilly and his partner have enlisted a solicitor in Ireland, who is now liaising with the surrogacy agency in Kenya about the additional money the company is demanding. The couple may also need security when they return to Kenya, he added.

“It is one week and three days since I last saw them. We are worried we are missing out on this important bonding time right now. We are just waiting to hear from our lawyer about when we are going back- the sooner we can get on that plane, the better. All we want is to go over and bring our daughters back home safely to Ireland.”

The heartbroken father also hit out at the surrogacy agency and its treatment of his children, as well as himself and his partner, saying: “There are three tiny babies we are talking about but all they were interested in was more money.

“We trusted these people. This is not a decision we made overnight. We did a lot of research for two years and began contacting agencies. We trusted them completely and everything was fine, until the girls were born.”

The couple travelled to Kenya to meet the agency to begin the process last year and said everything seemed “above board”.

Mr O’Reilly warned what happened to his family could happen to other Irish couples, and called for the Government to intervene.

“We are not the first couple for this to happen to and we won’t be the last. Ireland needs to change its surrogacy laws to protect children first, and their parents.

“People like us shouldn’t need to go abroad. We should have been able to have gone through the surrogacy process here in Ireland.”

Mr O’Reilly and his partner made the tough decision to come back to Ireland 11 days ago because he believed he would raise funds quicker here.

“I remember kissing them goodbye and telling them I loved them. It was a tough decision. I cried the whole plane journey back. There was no other option, I would’ve never raised the money to get the kids home if I stayed in Kenya. I just want to say thank you to everyone who has donated to help us so far.”​

You can donate to the GoFundMe page here.


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