Pope Francis has reiterated the Roman Catholic Church’s stance against surrogacy, a reproductive practice where a woman agrees to carry and deliver a child for another person or couple, typically facilitated through assisted reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization (IVF).
The prelate strongly condemned this practice, calling it despicable, during a recent address to ambassadors.
The pontiff urged for a comprehensive global ban on surrogacy, citing ethical and societal concerns associated with the controversial practice.
He characterised the practice as a form of exploitation, particularly targeting vulnerable women and children.
He emphasised the need for a global ban to shield both parties involved from potential harm and ethical violations.
Central to the Pope’s message was a plea to prioritise the welfare and best interests of children.
He denounced the perception of children as “objects of trafficking” or subjected to “commercial contracts.”
He underscored the importance of prioritising the child’s well-being and best interests.
While reiterating the Church’s official position, the address distinguished between the practice itself and the children born through it.
The Vatican has previously clarified that children conceived through surrogacy can be baptized, even if their parents are in same-sex relationships.
An unborn child must not be “turned into an object of trafficking,” Pope Francis said adding, “I consider despicable the practice of so-called surrogate motherhood, 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.”
Pope Francis has a history of vocal opposition to surrogacy, previously referring to it as “uterus for rent.”
The recent call for a global ban echoes sentiments expressed by some European countries, including Spain and Italy, where surrogacy is prohibited.
The Pope’s recent remarks on surrogacy come in the wake of evolving stances within the Catholic Church.
Notably, Pope Francis recently approved the blessing of same-sex couples, signalling a gradual shift from traditional teachings.
However, the pontiff clarified that while priests can bless same-sex couples, the sacrament of marriage remains exclusively between a man and a woman.
Surrogacy has become a contentious issue globally, with varying legal and ethical considerations in different regions.
While some view surrogacy as a solution for those unable to conceive naturally, others share Pope Francis’s concerns about the potential exploitation of women and the commodification of childbirth.