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Bop Bop Baby Westlife's Mark Feehily calls for improved surrogacy legislation

The singer and his partner Cailean O’Neil welcomed their daughter Layla in October 2019 through a surrogate.

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Mark Feehily and Cailean O’Neill with their newborn daughter Layla
Photo: Mark Feehily/Instagram

Mark Feehily and Cailean O’Neill with their newborn daughter Layla Photo: Mark Feehily/Instagram

Mark Feehily and Cailean O’Neill with their newborn daughter Layla Photo: Mark Feehily/Instagram

Westlife star Mark Feehily is calling on the Government to publish legislation to regulate surrogacy in Ireland.

The singer and his partner Cailean O’Neil welcomed their daughter Layla in October 2019 through a surrogate in the United States.

Currently in Ireland, only the biological parent can have guardianship over babies born through surrogacy. The other parent can apply for guardianship after two years.

The bill on assisted human reproduction (AHR), which includes surrogacy, is being drafted by Department of Health officials but there has been no indication of when the legislation will be published.

Now, parents across the country are campaigning for the introduction of surrogacy legislation, including Westlife singer Mark.

Mr Feehily told RTÉ that recognition for parents under law is “vital and crucial.”

He explained: “The medical implications of the current status of the legislation - hypothetically speaking you could end up in dark murky waters if you were unlucky enough - it's really important in say emergency services situation for a parent to sign a consent form for surgery to be done.

"For couples in our position, even something like bringing your child in for their jabs, like everyone does, and you're worrying if so-and-so's name isn't down as a parent are they going to turn me away in front of everyone in the waiting room?

“That's a very stressful thing and there's lots of stuff like that in day-to-day life that people in our position - especially the parent who's sort of left out by the law - they'll be constantly worried about that.”

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Westlife singer Mark Feehily

Westlife singer Mark Feehily

Westlife singer Mark Feehily

Continuing, Mark said: “The biggest part for me is that I'm a dad and this directly affects my child and my family and so of course that's the main reason, but also it's an opportunity that I can't let pass, to contribute in some small way to help in something very important.

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“Change is a really important thing in every country and as a country we're so proud of our culture and our history, but we always have to create a new history, these sort of changes are vital and crucial in the storyline of any nation and you have to grow and move with the times.

“It's something that I didn't even think twice about because I'll do anything for my child as any parent would.

“It's all about parents taking care of and minding their children and in order to do that 100pc, we have to all be legally covered, and that's what this is all about.”

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