Westlife star Mark Feehily has called on the Government to publish legislation to regulate surrogacy.
At present the bill on assisted human reproduction (AHR), which includes surrogacy, is being drafted by Department of Health officials, in conjunction with the Office of the Attorney General.
Mr Feehily told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that the issue directly impacted on his child and his family. He and his partner had their daughter via surrogate two years ago.
“I'm a dad and this directly affects my child and my family. We don't tend to step up and step in when it's ourselves — you don't mind certain things happening to you even though you should, but when it comes to your child all of a sudden I'm on the news talking about politics.
“That's the furthest thing I ever would have done. It's really not something historically that I would have done. But the second it involves my child and her welfare here I am on the news.”
Mr Feehily pointed out the difficulties faced by couples who had a child via surrogate when it came to medical appointments. “For couples in our position even something like bringing your child in to get their jabs, and then it's if so-and-so's name isn't on the form are they going to turn you away? In front of everybody in the waiting room?
“That's a very stressful thing and there's lots of stuff like that in everyday life that people in our position, especially the parent whose left out by the law. The psychology of it and the stress of constantly waking up and going to sleep knowing that you're not officially a child's legal guardian.
“Everybody knows that's parenting has its challenges, and it's not the easiest thing in the world already, so to have all that extra stuff to worry about and stress about is just very unhelpful.
“The fact is I don't think the Government or anybody in the country has a problem with change, it's just that we have to go through the process of changing it — I know it sounds like demanding stuff, but it really just does have to happen as a matter of urgency because until it does, there are hundreds or thousands of children and families all over the country that are in a compromised position.
“I'm just here to try to get a bit more attention — the experts can do the talking. I'm quite passionate about it because it involves my family, and it involves my child, so of course I am.”