Westlife's Markus Feehily discusses need for parental rights for families conceived through surrogacy

Ahead of Father's Day this Sunday, Markus Feehily sat down with Amy Huberman to discuss the need for families conceived through surrogacy to have parental rights.

westlife markus feehily parental rights

Westlife’s Markus Feehily sat down with Amy Huberman on her podcast Mamia & Me to discuss the band and whether or not the tour will go ahead, his plans for Fathers Day, and parental rights regarding parents that conceive through surrogacy in Ireland. 

Mark and his husband Cailean O’Neill welcomed their daughter Layla just under two years ago. However, the couple had to travel outside of Ireland for surrogacy describing their journey as “a big quest.”

Acknowledging that everyone’s surrogacy journey is different he told Amy: “I don’t assume that anybody who goes through those journeys is just like me and I can’t tell you exactly what it’s all about, because you have to find your own individual path within it.”

Markus described the current legislation as being “designed around a more traditional heterosexual man and woman having a baby” forcing all other families to “squeeze themselves into the rules and laws that have been made up for a completely different situation.”

In current legislation within Ireland, the surrogate mother is considered the legal parent/guardian because she has given birth to the child even if she is not the biological mother to the child. A proposed amendment to the Assisted Human Reproduction Bill has been in existence since 2017.

This amendment would see a change to the minimum requirements to be a surrogate, the legal status of all involved, the regulation of any financial aspect of the surrogacy arrangement, and the process of consent.

During his chat with Huberman, Markus called on the government to “speed up” this change in parental rights regarding the process of surrogacy. “I would love in the future to not have to go to the other side of the world to do what we done and when we come back in here [Ireland] I would love the state to recognise it”, he told Amy.

The singer added that his main goal was for equality for not only himself and Cailean but also for his daughter Layla.

You can listen to the full interview on Spotify.

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