Rosanna Davison, Mark Feehily and Georgie Crawford are among those calling for change to Ireland’s surrogacy laws.
According to a new report by the Sunday Business Post, the government will only legislate for domestic surrogacy in the forthcoming assisted human reproduction bill and will not deal with international surrogacy until a later date.
At present, surrogacy is unregulated in Irish law and mothers of children born via surrogacy, even through gestational surrogacy in which the child is biologically theirs, have no rights to their children.
— Business Post (@businessposthq) October 19, 2021
Mothers who welcome a child via surrogacy have to wait two years before they can apply through the courts for parental rights, and are not entitled to any maternity benefits as they are currently not legally recognised as the child’s mother.
Irish model Rosanna Davison, who welcomed her first child Sophia via surrogacy last November, took to Instagram on Wednesday to react to the report.
Alongside a photo with her daughter, she wrote: “21/11/19 ❤️ Sophia arrived into our arms, thanks to our wonderful gestational surrogate & the dedicated team in Kiev.”
“Surrogacy is physically, mentally & financially draining. It’s usually the last/only option for an individual/couple to have a child.”
“As a mum of 3, I’m deeply concerned to read in last Sunday’s Business Post, that the Irish Govt is considering deferral of legislation for international & retrospective pathways to surrogacy. If true, this will affect 100s of children & families across Ireland, including my own. Sophia & many other children will be left legally vulnerable & unprotected.”
“I’m adding my voice to the 100s of other voices supporting international surrogacy & retrospective pathways to parenthood so that no children are left out. It should be the legal right of my 3 babies that I can protect them equally.”
The mum-of-three explained how the planned legislation would affect her family, writing: “The heartbreaking reality is that I’m not legally recognised as Sophia’s mother like I am to my twins, yet I am her biological mother. I can apply to be her legal guardian from age 2 to 18, but after that I’m a legal stranger to her.”
“Whilst I trust that doctors & caregivers will always put a child’s health & welfare first, it’s extremely worrying to know that I can’t consent to a vaccination or a blood test & I wouldn’t be considered her mother on medical consent forms.”
She continued: “If Sophia’s legal parent @wesquirke were to become incapacitated or worse, I would be her guardian but not viewed as her parent or mother.”
“It’s beyond distressing to consider, but these are the thoughts that cause such anxiety for me & others. Sophia shouldn’t be treated differently to her brothers. My 3 children should have me as their mother, parent & protector.”
“I’ve felt compelled to make this statement today about my family & to share how this potential legislation affects my children & many others because it’s so important for their future.”
“I can only hope that our government is listening to all the parents speaking out on behalf of their children & trust that they will bring forward legislation so that no child is left out, allowing me to be a legally recognised mother to my 3 children,” Rosanna concluded the post.
Podcaster Georgie Crawford has decided to go down the surrogacy route with husband Jamie to welcome their second child, after she was diagnosed with breast cancer and put on a medication called Tamoxifen for the next five years as part of her recovery.
Sharing a photo of her holding her first child in hospital to Instagram, she wrote: “I never imagined when I was holding my first baby in my arms in this photo that I wouldn’t be classified as the mother of my second.”
“We have turned down offers to make documentaries, various interviews with TV, radio and newspapers, because this is such a private journey for us & we are still in the early stages but I couldn’t not say something today.”
“Yesterday, there was unconfirmed reports in The Sunday Business Post that the government will not be including international surrogacy within the Assisted Human Reproduction Bill.”
“So what does that mean for our family & many others?” Georgie asked. “As it stands.. I will not be recognised as my own child’s mother despite my child having my DNA. For the first two years, I will have no legal relationship to my child, at which point I can apply to become a guardian (with Jamie’s approval).”
“Despite being in a very happy marriage, Jamie will hold all of the control when it comes to our future child as he will be the only legal parent under the current law. This could leave so many women in a helpless & vulnerable position.”
“When it comes to medical issues for my child I can’t even bring myself to explain the technicalities here. We are hoping despite the information published yesterday that the Government will consider providing a pathway to parenthood via international surrogacy.”
Westlife star Mark Feehily and his partner Caileann’s daughter Layla was born to a surrogate in the United States in 2019.
Taking to Instagram to speak about the legislation, the singer 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.”
“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 all about parents taking care of and minding their children and in order to do that 100%, we have to all be legally covered, you know, and that’s what this is all about. It’s quite a simple thing really.”