17 January 2024, The Tablet

The power of the call to parenthood

by Danielle Tumminio Hansen

The ethics of surrogacy

The power of the call to parenthood

Pope Francis made headlines when he called for a global ban on surrogacy. Women who become surrogates are often exploited and abused. But the experiences of intended parents, surrogates and children are more varied and nuanced than the teaching of the Church recognises

Pope Francis made headlines earlier this month when he called for a global ban on surrogacy. “I deem deplorable the practice of so-called surrogate motherhood,” he said in his annual address to diplomats accredited to the Holy See, “which represents a grave violation of the dignity of the woman and the child, based on the exploitation of situations of the mother’s material needs. A child is always a gift and never the basis of a commercial contract.”

The use of surrogacy, in which a woman carries and delivers a child for someone else, has grown exponentially in recent years and is expected to continue to do so. While headlines often surface when celebrities such as Paris Hilton grow their family using the technology, it also gets attention when surrogates experience exploitation or on the rare occasions when a surrogate refuses to relinquish the child they carried.


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