A Letter to the Pope from an Altruistic Surrogate
10th Jan 2024
In response to Pope Francis’ statement calling for a ban on global surrogacy on 8th January 2024, I have felt compelled to share my perspective as someone deeply involved in altruistic surrogacy in the UK. Having acted as an altruistic surrogate I believe there’s a side to this story that should be heard.
This letter aims to provide an insight into altruistic surrogacy which is often overshadowed by conversations about commercialised and exploitative surrogacy. It is an attempt to provide some understanding and highlight how altruistic surrogacy echoes the values of compassion and empathy.
Here is “A Letter to the Pope,” a heartfelt expression of my experiences, hoping to enlighten and encourage dialogue on this important issue.
I am writing to you as an individual who is deeply involved in altruistic surrogacy in the United Kingdom, specifically working with the not for profit organisation SurrogacyUK and acting as an altruistic surrogate.
My intention in writing to you is to share my personal experiences and perspectives on this sensitive and complex matter, following your recent statements regarding surrogacy.
First and foremost, I understand the ethical and moral complexities that the Catholic Church may have surrounding the topic of surrogacy. However, I believe that there are aspects of altruistic surrogacy that might not be widely understood, and I feel compelled to share these insights with you.
I have had the privilege of being an altruistic surrogate on five occasions, a journey I embarked upon with the sole intention of helping individuals become parents. My decision to become a surrogate was never driven by financial motives; I am absolutely opposed to the commercialisation of surrogacy.
My experiences as an altruistic surrogate could not be further away from the commercial models I see in other countries. They have led to the creation of families with whom I maintain meaningful relationships with, which is a testament to the enduring bonds that can form in these circumstances.
The children, some of who are now adults, lead wonderful lives, enveloped in the love and care of their parents and extended through their connection with me, their surrogate. These individuals are remarkable, having known nothing but love and care throughout their lives, from both their family and their surrogate family.
In the UK, altruistic surrogacy is conducted with a focus on openness and transparency. In many cases, the relationship between the surrogate and the child, as well as their family, does not end with birth. It often evolves into a lifelong bond, enriching the child’s life with an additional layer of love and care.
This aspect of surrogacy, where a child is loved not only by their genetic parents but also their surrogate, aligns with the Church’s teachings on the importance of love, family, and community support. It upholds the belief that bringing a child into a loving and supportive environment is a fundamental aspect of their upbringing.
I understand and share the Church’s concerns about the commodification of life and the potential exploitation inherent in commercial surrogacy arrangements. However, my experience as a surrogate shows that the altruistic surrogacy journey does exist and is profoundly different. It is grounded in compassion, mutual respect, and a deep desire to help others experience the joy of parenthood, without any financial incentive.
My hope in writing to you is to hopefully provide a perspective that might bring additional depth and understanding to the conversation. I believe that open dialogue and the sharing of personal experiences is the only way to address such complex issues.
Thank you for taking the time to read my letter.
Sarah Jones (A UK surrogate)