The Pope wants surrogacy banned. Here’s why one advocate says that’s misguided

Pope Francis recently called for a worldwide ban on surrogacy, a move that has drawn criticism from individuals and agencies involved in this practice.

Driving the news: Pope Francis denounced surrogacy as a ~~”grave violation of dignity”~~ and equated it to “trafficking” in his speech on Monday.
* He believes surrogacy exploits the women who carry the children and treats the child as an object of a commercial contract.
* Sunshine Hanson, a three-time gestational surrogate and founder of the surrogacy agency Surrogacy Is, opposes the Pope’s standpoint and argues that the practice is a brave and special effort.

Understanding Surrogacy: Gestational surrogacy is when a person carries another couple’s embryo and gives birth to a child on their behalf.
* The practice is legal in the U.S., but regulation varies by state.
* Either the surrogates can be compensated (commercial surrogacy) or remain unpaid (altruistic surrogacy).
* Between 1999 to 2013, it was estimated 18,400 infants were born via surrogacy in the U.S.

Global Perspective: laws and acceptance of surrogacy widely differ across countries.
* Unpaid surrogacy is legal in Canada; however, countries like Italy and Spain completely ban the practice.
* Critics, including a United Nations Special Rapporteur, have argued the practice ultimately sells children and should be regulated.

Surrogate Compensation and Protection: Surrogates can earn around $40,000 or more, with all medical costs typically paid by the intended parents.
* Hanson contends that the compensation should account for the time, effort, sacrifice, and struggle of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum recovery.
* Surrogates in the U.S. undergo robust screening processes and have protections to mitigate exploitation.

Surrogacy Trends: The practice of surrogacy is gaining wider mainstream acceptance, partly due to celebrities sharing their surrogate birth stories and changes in certain state laws.
* Celebrities like Chrissy Teigen, John Legend, and Anderson Cooper have had children via surrogacy.
* In legislations, New York recently legalized gestational surrogacy with new protections for surrogates and Idaho lawmakers contemplate incorporating best practices into their laws.
View original article on NPR
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