A father whose triplets were born via surrogacy in Kenya has said he kissed them goodbye, not knowing when he will be back to get them.
Edward O'Reilly and his partner were asked for thousands of euros more when they arrived in the country to bring their children home.
The couple decided to look into surrogacy back in March 2021 and settled on one agency based in Nairobi.
Their three daughters were due to be born in October but were born prematurely on September 1st.
He told Lunchtime Live they got there a few days later.
"It was Monday the 5th before we could fly out to Kenya, by the time we got our visas and stuff," he said.
"From the 1st to the 5th we were told that the babies were doing OK, they just needed some oxygen and some special baby food.
"When we arrived there, it was late on Monday night, it was 11.50, so the next morning was Tuesday before we could go see the babies."
'Alarm bells went ringing'
He said they were picked up by the agency with a view to going to see the newborns. However, things took a turn on the journey.
"Before we were brought to see the babies we were taken somewhere and asked for extra money: an additional €16,000.
"We'd already paid for the full journey; in our head we assumed everything was [paid] - we paid in installments over them months.
"We assumed everything was taken care of."
He said they were then asked for US$1,200 each for a birth certificate.
"In my head then alarm bells went ringing... we were dropped on the side of the street in Nairobi when we refused to pay the extra money, not knowing even what hospital our babies were in."
He said after some digging online, they found the hospital: "We went in, we seen the babies and to our dismay there was tubes everywhere.
"This is something we weren't told; we were told the babies were OK.
"We didn't even know if one of them was going to make it, to be honest."
Edward said they found out in the coming weeks that several bills were unpaid, including the hospital and the doctors involved.
"The agency is still demanding an extra €16,000, plus us to pay all the hospital bills; we simply can't afford it.
"We now had to leave the kids in Kenya, it's the hardest decision we've ever had to make, and come back and try to raise the money so we can go back and get the girls."
He said he is crying himself to sleep every night.
"It's horrifying, I'm terrified to be honest - I'm terrified for my girl's safety.
"When I was leaving that night, I gave them a kiss each, I told them I loved them, and I'll be back: I don't know when I'm going to be back."
He said he "pleaded" with the Irish embassy in Kenya to help and was told "they can help me out with some paperwork but can't intervene".
"That's three Irish citizens and I just need help to get them out.
"I'm terrified something's going to happen when I'm not there, I'm 1,000 miles away and crying myself to sleep every night," he added.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help raise funds.