Irish LGBTQ+ organisations respond to Pope's call to ban surrogacy

In a joint statement, LGBT Ireland, Irish Gay Dads and Equality for Children advocate for the pathways to parenthood to remain open to all.

A photograph of the pope standing at a podium, he recently suggested surrogacy rights should be banned
Image: X @Stermygh

In a foreign policy address presented to international diplomats earlier this week, Pope Francis declared that surrogacy should be prohibited worldwide.

During his 45-minute speech, the Pope went as far as to compare the practice of surrogacy to human trafficking, saying that unborn children must be protected and not “suppressed or turned into an object of trafficking”.

He added, “I deem deplorable 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.”

This is not the first time the Pope has objected to surrogacy. Back in 2022, he described the practice as “inhumane” and said that it exploits women who use their “uterus for rent” although in many surrogacy cases, women serve as surrogates voluntarily and without financial compensation.

While the Vatican emphasised that LGBTQ+ parents who use surrogacy will still be able to have their children baptised, a ban on surrogacy would disproportionately affect same-sex couples who rely on surrogacy to have biological children.

In Ireland, due to the absence of surrogacy-specific legislation, LGBTQ+ parents who opt for surrogacy to expand their families currently lack legal safeguards that would allow them to perform routine parenting responsibilities like accompanying their child to a medical appointment or applying for a passport.

In response to the Pope’s comments, LGBT Ireland, Irish Gay Dads, and Equality for Children shared this joint statement: “The desire to create and have a family is a universal one which includes people from the LGBTQI+ community. In many examples of family planning, infertility, whether medical or social, can lead people to look to routes such as adoption, assisted donor conception and surrogacy to build their family.

“We support the right of people to do this. We also support legislation that will protect and ensure the highest of standards are upheld to benefit all involved: the surrogate mother, the child and the intending parents.

“LGBT Ireland, Equality for Children and Irish Gay Dads have been working together for the last number of years to campaign for legislation that is fully inclusive of all LGBTQI+ people. Before Christmas, we held a briefing for TDs and Senators and met directly with the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD. The Assisted Human Reproduction Bill that is currently before the Oireachtas must ensure that the pathways to parenthood are open to everyone and that all children are treated equally.”



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The Pope’s statement sits in contradiction to some of his recent stances on LGBTQ+ issues.

In November 2023, the Pope declared that trans people can now be baptised and act as godparents. Last month, the Vatican approved blessings for same-sex couples in a landmark ruling that states people seeking God’s love should not be subjected to “an exhaustive moral analysis” to receive it.

After some church members expressed resistance to the Pope’s stance toward blessing same-sex couples, he advised anyone who took issue with the stance to take an “extended period of pastoral reflection”.

Still, many LGBTQ+ activists were critical of the Pontiff’s message. In an op-ed for The Guardian, Matt Cain said, “You can stick your blessing, Pope Francis. It’s a fig leaf, a PR exercise, a means of laundering your prejudice to make it seem like a step towards acceptance.”

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