When My Surrogacy Journey first began to support a new way of family building in 2017 the vision was very clear, we wanted to provide a service to people that enabled them to have excellent care, trustworthy relationships, transparent information and to be treated respectfully. Over the last 6 years, as our business has grown, we have witnessed both the joys and the challenges of that vision coming into reality. As we have expanded to meet the needs of our communities and members and grown our business and brands to adapt to the ever-changing needs of the fertility, surrogacy and family building in both UK and international societies, one thing has become very clear to us, when you begin to work in the space of reproductive justice there is a LOT of work to be done.
Reproductive justice may not have been the terminology we used when we first launched MSJ, we perhaps didn’t realise that our plight, inspired by the lived experience of our founders Mike and Wes was part of something quite so serious sounding, quite so broad, quite so globally significant. We have come to realise however that to change society, improve services and offer an experience of family building that leaves nobody behind, that indeed we are key players in a bigger agenda. Reproductive Justice, perfectly defined by activist Loretta Ross is ‘The right to have a child, the right to not have a child and the right to raise our children’ she goes on to add that ‘Everyone should have that. It’s not that hard to explain, its just hard as hell to achieve’. The term takes the concept of reproductive rights, which is a broad term encompassing all rights in relation to the act of reproducing, including abortion rights, contraceptive rights etc. and splices it together with the concept of social justice- the right to the equal distribution of wealth, opportunities and privileges in society.
As we have grown our eco-system of brands and businesses over the last 6 years, we have learnt a lot about what needs to change to ensure that family building, fertility and surrogacy are inclusive and non-harmful and thriving for all involved. With every topic we tackle, every project we partner on and every family we support on their journey, we learn something new about how society needs to catch up to ensure that within an economically and clinically advancing fertility sector and industry, we aren’t creating exclusion, harm or division, that we are learning from other sectors of reproductive health by working to avoid some of the pitfalls of discrimination and exploitation that have caused complex disparities which now need much attention to fix.
In June 2022 we began to have conversations about the need for MSJ to launch a Foundation specifically set up to address this complex aspect of our work. At the time we had been working closely with a colleague, Kay King, who has worked for the last 5 years running the UK arm of a global reproductive rights charity and who inspired us to think of the work that we were doing that lent itself more towards charitable and community focused objectives. Kay supported us in establishing My surrogacy Journey Foundation and we are delighted to announce that she will be joining us in a full-time capacity from September 2023 to run the Foundation and deliver this vital aspect of our organisational growth.
Speaking about the vision for My Surrogacy Journey Foundation Kay shared with us:
‘This is a pivotal moment for My Surrogacy Journey as they take the bold step to formally rise to the challenge of achieving even more in their incredible work. MSJ Foundation is an opportunity for us to examine and address who is being left behind in family building, surrogacy and fertility, what needs to be better understood and who requires the vehicle of equity to ensure that we are delivering a truly equal and inclusive offer in our work. The Foundation will deliver it’s work through four strategic pillars which are Educate, Advance, Support and Evidence. By organising our programmes, projects, campaigns and research into these pillars we can work towards objectives that will truly change the landscape of reproductive justice within family building. I cannot wait to begin the work of mapping and delivering new opportunities through the foundation. This venture will be the answer to how we ensure that the services within our core operation are informed by the genuine needs of our communities and the larger societal needs of everybody. We will work together to ensure that family building, surrogacy and fertility journeys are thriving and leaving nobody behind!’
My Surrogacy Journey Foundation will be sharing regular updates within our website and through our social channels and we are ready to hear from anybody who has ideas for new programmes of work that align with our pillars and vision. Please get in contact with us and begin the conversation of how we can advance reproductive justice together in the future.