Unlike many other countries, the United States does not have federal statutes or guidelines governing surrogacy parenting. Thus, many states have their own laws in this regard. Currently The District of Columbia prohibits surrogate parenting: Any person or entity who or which is involved in, or induces, arranges, or otherwise assists in the formation of a surrogate parenting contract for a fee, compensation, or other remuneration, or otherwise violates this section, shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $ 10,000 or imprisonment for not more than 1 year, or both.” (D.C. Code § 16-402)
But Council Member David Catania has introduced legislation that would legalize and regulate surrogacy parenting within the District of Columbia. Every council member except for Council Member Marion Barry co-sponsored the proposed legislation.
The Catholic Church opposes surrogate motherhood, a process wherein an embryo from one couple is placed in the womb of a second woman and carried to term by her, usually for remuneration.
Even many Catholics are not certain why we oppose this, along with the similar procedure of in vitro fertilization. Let’s consider from a faith perspective and also from Natural Law why the Church must oppose such procedures.
We begin by noting a kind of sacred trilogy that encompasses human sexuality and procreation.
First, we begin with the truth that human life is sacred. In saying that our life is “sacred” we do not mean merely that human life is somehow “very special” or “unique.” Rather, to say that human life is “sacred” is to say “it is of God.”
Human life comes intentionally and lovingly from the very hand of God. Every human being, even our enemies, and great sinners, are known by God, loved by God, willed by God, intended by God. In Jeremiah 1:5 God says Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Thus, in a mysterious way, our existence was already present to God long before we were ever conceived. We were already in the heart and the mind of God as he was preparing for our conception and existence. Psalm 139 speaks about God knitting us together in our mother’s womb. The same Psalm says that all of our days were written in gods book before one of them ever came to be.
Thus, the human person is sacred. That is, our lives have the mark of God upon them. Our life, our very existence, is caught up in the intention, the will, the very heart of God. Human life is sacred.
Second, since human life is sacred, so are the means by which we come into existence. Thus, our second truth is that sexual intercourse is sacred. Again, the word “sacred” is not simply a way of saying that sex is very special. Rather, it indicates the sexual intercourse is from God, and is touched by him.
Just as in marriage there are three to get married, the husband, the wife and the Lord; so, in the great sacramental expression of marriage, sexual intercourse, the husband and wife are joined, but in the Lord. The Lord, who is the author of their love, joins the spouses and, according to his will, makes their love fruitful in their children.
So, the origin of every sacred human person, is in the sacred sexual act, which involves not only the spouses, but also the Lord.
Sadly, in our culture, sex is treated as anything but sacred. It is often the butt of jokes, suffers from lewd conduct, countless misapplications and perversions, to include: fornication adultery, pornography, immodesty, homosexual acts, and so forth. What is beautiful and sacred, is treated to base and profane. What is serious and requires commitment, is treated as casual and often passing.
And, if the sacredness of sex is treated lightly, so is the sacredness of human life easily discarded. It is no coincidence that the culture of death has emerged in the age of promiscuity. The body count associated with lust is truly staggering.
Third, since human life is sacred, and the sexual intercourse, which gives rise to it, is sacred, so is the context of sex and life we call marriage also sacred. Once again, calling marriage “sacred” is not merely a way of saying it is “really neat” or “very special.” Once again, we call marriage sacred because it is set forth by God, and is from God, and every valid marriage is in fact a work of God.
Scripture details in Genesis (1 & 2) how God set forth marriage, declaring that it was not good for the man to be alone. God thus made Eve, and we are told that, for this reason a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife and the two of them become one (Gen 2:24). Therefore, marriage is one man, for one woman, in a stable and lasting bond. Jesus adds, What God has joined together, let no one divide (Matt 19:6). In saying this, Jesus also underscores that, not only is marriage an institution from God, but that every valid marriage is in fact a work of God. What God has joined together, no one is to divide.
It makes sense that marriage should be an enduring institution, for each couple. Why? For God sets fourth that the fruit of marriage should be godly offspring. He tells the first couple, Adam and Eve, to be fruitful and multiply, to fill the earth! (Gen 1:28). Thus that marriage should be heterosexual, fruitful and lasting makes sense, because that is what is best, and what is just for children. Namely, that they should be raised by their own father and mother, formed by a male and female influence, in an environment that is both stable, and gives complementary witness to the fullness of the human person.
And so, having set forth a kind of sacred trilogy that the human person, human sexual intercourse, and marriage are all sacred, we now observe the God has united these three sacred realities and intends them to be together. The human person, who is sacred, is intended to be conceived in the loving and sacred embrace of sexual intercourse, between a man and woman in the sacred union of holy matrimony.
Marriage, sex and children are all meant to be united, and God has joined them. Sadly, we seem today to be intent on dividing them.
We see any number of ways that the sacred trilogy is often violated today. Obviously fornication, adultery, and homosexual acts, all violate the trilogy by separating out or removing essential parts of it.
Fornicators and adulterers violate the marital aspect, and usually also, (by contraception), violate the connection to life. Indeed, all contraception denies that there is any necessary connection between sexual intercourse and procreation. As such, contraceptives separate what God intends to be joined.
Homosexuals deny the nuptial meaning of the body, and obviously cannot procreate in any way or be open to life in their acts. And now they seem, at least collectively, determined to utterly set aside marriage as God himself sets it forth in the Scriptures.
But now we also come to other aberrations that are proposed today which also violate the sacred trilogy of sacred human life, being conceived in the sacred sexual embrace, within sacred marriage.
Thus we see, so called “in vitro” fertilization wherein human conception is removed from sacred sexual intercourse, and done in a petri dish. Life now is no longer caught up in this sweet mystery of the marital embrace, and left to the hand of God. Life becomes now a product, produced in a laboratory, usually at a stated price. Sacred human life, becomes a commodity for sale.
The hand of God is overruled as is done in every human sinful practice where in God’s will is simply overridden by prideful human beings.
It will be admitted that infertility in certain couples is lamentable and, at human level, it may seem understandable that they should want to do what is possible to conceive. Yet, in the end, the reality is that we are separating what God has joined.
Also resisted is the notion that perhaps the couple is infertile for reasons known to God. Perhaps he wishes them to adopt. Or, perhaps He wishes them to engage in some dedicated work in the Church or the world, other than parenthood. In vitro fertilization resists discerning God’s will and seeks merely to supplant our wishes.
The killing of many embryos is also morally odious. The vast number of embryos that are conceived are either discarded, frozen, or sent off to experimentation and to be harvested by those engaged in stem cell research etc. Again, human life is treated as a commodity to be bought and sold, and used at will.
And this leads us then to the problem of so-called surrogate motherhood. The process is similar to in vitro fertilization wherein the father and mother both contribute sperm and ovum and these are combined in a petri dish. But the difference is, instead of being placed in the womb of the genetic mother, the embryo is placed in the womb of a second woman who carries the baby to term.
Genetically, this is not her child. But of course, motherhood is little more complicated than simply whose genes are involved. The mother who carries a child in her womb develops an intimacy and a real bond of connection to that child. And hence we are involved in some very great distortions of what God intends, and are playing with the notion of what motherhood really is about.
Once again, we are seeing a great break up of the trilogy that God intends to be together. The child is not conceived in the sacred marital embrace, but rather in a petri dish. God’s hand is once again overruled, or in effect He is a dis-invited from the decision of conception. Thirdly, the couple, even if married, goes outside the marriage and places their child in the womb of another woman.
There is a kind of a notion to work here, it would seem, that the womb of the surrogate mother is simply a container, a temporary resting place that can be borrowed or rented, if you will.
Absolutely nothing is left in place of what God intends to be together. There is a complete break up here.
Again, it will be admitted that infertility for a couple is a less desirable, even a very sad reality. But here too, the Church cannot simply say it’s okay to overrule God seems to will, or at least permit for reasons of His own. Neither can we fail to insist on the need to discern God’s will. If natural parenthood is not open, what is? Adoption? Some other worthy and noble undertaking? God never closes one door without opening others.
Surrogate motherhood is forbidden to a Catholic for the reasons stated above. We in the Church also argue that it is bad public policy to be supportive of the sorts of activities.
Natural law – In surrogate motherhood, not only is human life treated as a commodity; not only are many embryos discarded in the ways described above, but Natural Law and common sense arguments also show that surrogate motherhood is a bad idea to encourage.
Even without mentioning God, is clear that nature provides that children are conceived in the heterosexual embrace of sexual intercourse. Further, nature also shows that it is best for children to be raised in a stable environment and be raised with a male and female influence. Further, nature also demonstrates that the natural affections created by physical descent are stronger than merely legal or secondary relationships. Tampering with the normal course of families, and what nature provides as the best and most healthy environment to conceive and bear children, is a recipe for trouble.
It is bad public policy to in any way encourage the willful tampering with the natural order of things.
That the DC government thinks it necessary to pass laws regulating legal transactions around surrogate motherhood, shows that the practice is leads to all sorts of legal problems. What frequently happens is that when we meddle with natural affections, and try to think of motherhood merely in terms of genetics, (rather than nurturing and so forth), we end up with a real mess, and many conflicted feelings. Surrogate mothers are not always so happy to relinquish their babies after all. Imagine that!
Now into this fray, with all of its confusion, is proposed all sorts of legalities and a government trying to regulate but really shouldn’t be happening in the first place.
The District of Columbia should leave unchanged the current laws which forbid and discourage surrogate motherhood. Certain District residents may want to engage in practices harmful for the reasons stated, and the District government may not be able to stop them or enforce the laws forbidding the practice, but in no way should the District encourage such practices by enforcing contractual agreements related to them. Surrogate motherhood is a lamentable practice, and it is bad policy to support it in any way.
This video illustrates the strange but true world of Surrogacy.
36 Replies to “Why the Church Opposes Surrogate Motherhood and attempts to legalize it in The District of Columbia”
Monsignor, thank you for telling the truth. This is all so wrong. It IS forcing the hand of God. And it’s just wrong to buy sperm and eggs from people with desirable traits and then try to lie that genetics don’t matter. As a young woman I had the opportunity to “donate” my eggs for a fee. But I would never do that. It would have exploited me and any resulting babies. And what if the baby in question were a “dud?” People who buy eggs want pretty, smart and good-natured, but genetics are often surprising.
And the casualties of the sexual revolution are truly staggering. The projection and denial of people who are HIV + and determined to continue having sex is so wrong. And they actually feel slighted if someone chooses to say no to them for fear of transmission! But that’s only if they reveal there status… Those who want to have sex outside of holy matrimony should be forewarned.
This is all do wrong you say??? Why is it forcing the hand of God? I thought God could not be tricked or become blindsided by an pregnancy? If God can be fooled into an unwanted child He can’t be that great, can He? There are many good, loving couples who would be great homes for children, homes that would love them, raise them as best they know how, and teach them right from wrong and how to love others along with God!
All sin usurps the will of God. Mysteriously, God allows it. “Tricked” and “blindsided” “fooled” are your words, and it would appear you wish to read them into the remarks. But to use your own “reductio ad absurdam” approach, let me ask you: Are you saying that every thing that happens in the world, even the worst of sins, is something God wants? It would seem you do, if I use your own interpretive principle against you. Thus, I would be careful if you were you in using a reductio argument as you have since I can easily turn the table on your point of view. Perhaps a better approach is to understand what is said in the context in which it is written and understand what is written in that light rather than to crudely interpret the words in an absolutely literalist manner.
The Moderators have removed the second part of you remarks since they are hateful and irrelevant to the discussion. Look to your bigotry and stick to the issue, your personal attacks and ridicule are unwanted and unnecessary.
Oh my gosh! I just watched that news clip. How awful for that couple to want to have their baby killed for lack of “perfection!”
They were in love with their baby fantasy, not a real human being.
Hi Jennifer, It is awful, but more important – it has become the norm! That is a beautiful baby, and I am glad the surrogate did not take the money or decide to abort that beautiful child.
I was sitting next to my 3 year old daughter when I watched the story. She looked at me and said, “Mommy, look at the pretty little baby!” I looked at the expression on her face and my eyes filled with tears. She did not notice or care about the deformities, she simply saw a little baby and wanted to play with her. If only we could all react this way to life.
Having not grown up in the Church, I never understood the “rules” about contraception or surrogacy. However, after I took a Moral Theology class it became more clear. I think the Church has a beautiful view of love and humanity. It relates to trusting God and accepting His wisdom. No where have I heard someone articulate the vision. However, we have television, radio and other media constantly outlining a worldly view that we should do what makes us happy, and we aren’t hurting anyone. However, surrogacy uses a woman as a means to an end rather than an unique individual. Even if she is consenting, it is wrong. Just like all of the other sins listed above are wrong. I don’t know how we can spread the vision. I can teach my children who attend Catholic school, but they are immersed in a culture that doesn’t respect life. We can scream, but it is difficult to drown out the steady drum beat of the culture.
Perhaps this question would make for its own article, but I’m curious to know the Church’s stance on organ donation, from live or from deceased donors. One the one hand such donations are life-savers, but on the other they promote the notion that the human body is a commodity.
I am confident, but not certain, that this is accurate: Catholics are permitted, under the proper circumstances, to donate any organs, except for the brain and the gonads, whether male or female.
This is correct ( I am a Catholic physician) First off for obvious reasons it is not possible to donate the “brain”. Donating an organ is considered an act of charity. The caveats are the following: If the organ donated is an unpaired organ needed for survival ( the heart or the entire liver) the donor must in fact be dead. The donor may be declared dead by “brain criteria”. This is very different than brain damaged ( even severely) it is the permanent irreversible cessation of function of the whole brain. In reality all death is “brain death” since we can keep a person with no heart beat and no breathing alive by using devices to oxygenate the blood and maintain the circulation. We only die when our heart stops because after circulation is stopped the brain soon dies. Although there has been recent controversy in some quarters regarding the concept of brain death, Blessed John Paul II affirmed the prior judgement of Orthodox Catholic bioethics that this was morally upright. A full discussion of the issue of brain death can be viewed here: http://www.ncbcenter.org/page.aspx?pid=1285
( The National Catholic Bioethics Center website) . In some cases the organ is an paired organ or even part of an organ ( a kidney, a lobe of the liver) than can be parted with without ill effects on the donor. This is an act of great generosity on the part of the donor, and is morally acceptable so long as risks are proportionate to benefits.
What a great post. In our culture, we have lost the concept of sacred (it is also root of sacrifice, right? And being set apart). People think children are a right, a commodity. This is why we can so easily abort a child as to demand that we leave no stone unturned to have a biological child.
Thanx Msgr. for this post. Perhaps it will open the eyes of many who believe this kind of act is okay when it’s not. Unfortunately, the society we live in today has lost, or perhaps never fully comprehended that children are a gift from God, and not items to be sold, or manufactured by human hands. It breaks your heart to know that when soon-to-be-parents discover a defect in their unborn child, they are all too willing to toss him or her aside, like a piece of trash, all in the name of “perfection,” or wanting the “perfect” child, with the “perfect” IQ, the list goes on and on.
One way that God has been merciful to us is that, to best of my understanding, fetal stem cell research has been fruitless and adult stem cell research has been fruitful. Pray God that it remains that way. Amen.
As a general rule of thumb medical science is aimed at treating or prevent disease or some dysfunction of the body. So if you have heart valve that is worn out a surgeon may replace it to restore the normal function of the heart. If you have a serious infection we give antibiotics to eradicate the infection, and help the body return to good health, If you have asthma and your airways are inflamed and narrowed making breathing difficult, we give medication that opens the airways and quiets the excess inflammation. A good deal of the morally wrong activities of modern “medicine” involve not really “medicine” as originally understood, but some sort of other biological manipulation to achieve some end we thing of as useful, usually while simultaneously sacrificing another important good. Consider contraception and sterilization. We are not treating disease at all. We are inducing a malfunction of some sort. For example among the many effects of oral contraceptives they all get rid of some normal function, interfering with the woman’s bodies normal ovulation, or potentially changing the uterine lining to make it less hospitable to the newly conceived child, etc. In terms of the various tricks used to get around infertility, in vitro fertilization does not restore a normal function or treat any disease, it rather “bypasses” the infertility such that infertile individuals can make a child in the manner of their choosing. Ditto surrogate motherhood. That this leads to bad things is clear from Monsignor Popes post. Just how close to Huxley’s brave new world may not be clear. Currently in China and other places three parent babies have been conceived but killed before delivery. This process involves taking a donor egg from a woman ( parent 1) replacing the nucleus of the egg with that of another person ( parent two) this baby now has the DNA ( or genetic information) from two people, there is DNA from parent 1 still in the cell outside the nucleus, ( exactly where is a technical detail but its in the mitochondria for the biologically astute out there) Finally this hybrid cell is fertilized in a petri dish ( parent 3). Now you have an experiment, a human with the DNA of three people, implant the embryo in a surrogate mother and you have 4 people. Truly hideous experiments exist where instead of human cells you try the same sorts of things with pig or hamster cells, so end up with a “pig-man” embryo with some ratio of pig/ human DNA. That this sort of manipulation is a demonic shadow of real medicine seems self evident. Even in our debased culture the gut instinct that this kind of thing is evil can be understood. One of the subplots of the new “Superman” movie has the Superman’s birth planet “Krypton” is depicted having become decadent in part because it created children in labs outside of the marital intercourse, specifying what kind of people they would be. The same theme runs through Huxley’s “Brave New World”, and any number of other science fiction dystopias. One ray of hope in this sorry cultural mess is that we have not become so corrupted that the image of large numbers of children raised in “pods” their genes manipulated to suit our personal ends remains wrong in the popular imagination. We know this because Hollywood, which does not know much but does know the popular mindset, depicted it this way in “Superman”.
Lets pray and work hard to take advantage of this fact and let people know, that by the severing of marriage, sex and reproduction, we are headed to a dystopia that will not be about sex at all. It will be about loss of human dignity and at some level totalitarian control.
The Catholic Church does not oppose the “adoption,” through implantation, of existing embryos– those who are waiting in suspense in the dark corners of laboratory freezers. That is an important distinction.
I think you are right technically, but I also think that moral theologians are somewhat divided and that eventually the Church will have to make some sort of ruling. Not sure which way it will go. There are good arguments on both sides.
Let me submit Exhibit No. 1.
Deuteronomy 32:39: “See now that I myself am he! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand.”
This sets up the ‘regulative principle’: What is neither commanded nor authorised is forbidden. It is idolatry to claim for a creature a lawful power to give life save as God expressly provides. The provision is here:
Genesis 4:1 “Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD.”
It is also idolatrous to interdict the marital act:
Genesis 38:9-10 “But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his. So whenever he went in to his brother’s wife he would waste the semen on the ground, so as not to give offspring to his brother. And what he did was wicked in the sight of the LORD, and he put him to death also.”
This isn’t that complicated: Human beings are not a commodity. You cannot buy and sell them like other items. That is why I am against surrogacy.
They are buying another human being with this surrogacy. And even worse, in that video they are offering to pay for a murder of another human being.
Both are wrong.
I am a convert. My adult children are not interested in Catholic teachings I hold to be true and just (such as this article addresses). Thus, my daughter and her husband, childless after 10 years, decided to have In vitriol fertilization. Their DNA analysis showed that they both carried the marker for cystic fibrosis. Therefore, the doctors tested each ovum of my daughter to find two that did not have the marker. After fertilization, both embryos were planted in my daughter… but sadly, both children died within a month. I am convinced that there are many medical issues with the entire IVF process during the manipulation of the egg before or during fertilization. In 1983 there was a similar case as the one in the video. The health problems with the child were not known until birth. Neither the biological parents nor the surrogate mother wanted “Baby Jane Doe”. I was very disturbed by the entire situation because it seemed that human life had become something one buys and sells… like slavery was. It amazes me that we are all so turned in on ourselves that we cannot even see the truth when it stares us in the face.
That is why IVF is so hazardous. The human embryo is not designed to live outside the womb.
Can anyone offer me some guidance on a situation?
I participate in a play group at my local parish (for moms of preschool kids). On occasion, moms volunteer very personal information about marital decisions, generally because they are seeking affirmation from other moms. For example, we have one woman who shared that she had six miscarriages, went through multiple rounds of IVF, and eventually used a surrogate mother to carry her twins. Other women are fairly open that they are “done” having kids and are using contraception to prevent another pregnancy. Then there are the moms who say they’ve had their tubes tied or their husbands sterilized to avoid more pregnancies. I never really know what to say when I get drawn into one of these conversations. I do not want to generate “more heat than light” by offering admonishment, but I do not offer affirmation either. I generally say very little, but the knowledge really weighs on my heart. I know some of these personal decisions are not morally licit, and wonder if I offer implicit endorsement by my silence? What is the most charitable thing to do?
“Be patient with sinners and leave the judging to God”, I heard a Catholic priest say in a sermon once. Another way of putting it, you cannot judge someone for the darkness they are going through, only God knows their hearts. It is very hard to discern what is the right thing to do, if you correct, correct in love.
Were talking about an issue here. Not only should we judge issues, we MUST judge issues. And in this case it is not hard to discern what to do. The Church has clear teachings on this.
So the question recently was, if the passenger pigeon, that was annihilated by humans hunting them into extinction, can be brought back by cloning the DNA of a dead passenger pigeon, should it? What is the Churches position on this question you presented?
The Church doesn’t have a specific teaching on every possible moral act, if cloning an animal even is a moral act. The pigeon example was used to show how worked up we can get about animals while at the same time be glib about meddling with human genes. Hence, in a sense who cares about animal cloning and it seems unlikely the Church would rule about that issue. But when it comes to human beings we’re in a different category. So the Church puts its concern on human beings, while the environmentalists get suddenly concerned about say, a pigeon. At then end of the day however, the pigeon question is interesting scientifically – is this a bridge too far and are we setting loose things that we will regret….whereas human cloning is a moral issue per se.
I think we have enough pigeons without bring the extinct ones back.
dear msgr. pope- given the discussion on conception, whether in the context of christian marriage or by other means and ways, how is god the author of each individual? regardless of the situation, is god responding “to the good” knowing full well that he is master of each individual situation, drawing good out of evil? someone said st. thomas deals with this issure. thanks, and god bless you, bill
Mysterious. God does not simply overrule what we do. I wish he would. Re Thomas non scio (i don’t know)
The Magisterium has not taught that surrogate motherhood is intrinsically evil; the moral objection is based on the circumstances. The same is true for embryo adoption (which includes a type of surrogate motherhood). So the Magisterium may rule that both surrogate motherhood and embryo adoption are moral in some circumstances. But as these are generally practiced today, they are gravely immoral.
God did not tell us to abort or wipe out a child but people did. the question arises when the child having abnormalities remains in the womb of its own biological mother, could she dare to abort the child?answer is no. actually the problem is within the people. they are not adopting the baby, they are buying them by looking their quality, Hats off for the lady who took all the responsibilities and accept the child and shame to the people who are buying babies, such a shameless work they are doing.
Surrogacy is an arrangement wherein a woman carries and delivers for another person or couple.
When the surrogate mother is compensated beyond the reimbursement of medical and other reasonable expenses it is called commercial surrogacy, otherwise it is referred to as altruistic surrogacy.
Msgr. Charles Pope – My sister-in-law and brother-in-law have been unable to have children. I have been seriously considering carrying their child for them. There is no buying/selling/renting, as I am not interested in doing it for money, but out of charity, to give them the family that they’ve so longed for and desired. As the child’s aunt, I would be related to him or her and continue to be active in loving this child throughout his or her life. Since the Catholic Church is ok with a pregnant woman placing a child up for adoption, my giving up the child I carried would be the same thing as if I had gotten pregnant naturally and decided to give the child up for adoption when I found out. The difference being that in an adoption, that intimacy and that bond that is formed in pregnancy is typically severed completely, whereas in this case, it would not be. In Genesis 16, Sarai has Abram use Hagar as a surrogate, and there is no condemnation from God for their doing so. Again this occurs in Genesis 30, where Rachel had Jacob use many surrogates to bear children for them, and again, they faced no condemnation. In both cases, God continued to bless the parents and the children. So in a case like this, is it really wrong? I’ve been doing a lot of research into this, and find that most of the arguments against it do not apply in this case, as there is no financial benefit/transaction accompanying it- just the gift. As for the technological element, I am not personally involved in the creation of the child through IVF, and as they have already gone through multiple rounds of IVF, how can I be held morally culpable for another person’s decisions? Given that they’ve done it before and may likely continue to do so with or without my offer? Thank you for any advice/clarification you may have. I have been consumed by this for months now and really feel strongly that this is the right thing to do, out of pure love for them and our family.
Do not cooperate in this act. Then you are culpable. Adopt
That’s exactly my thinking. Like why was surrogacy okay then but not now? It’s not even just in Genesis. Tamar also does this in Genesis but Ruth as well. It is even stated that Tamar is righteous for what she did. The child she has may be genetically be her father-in-law Judah’s sons but legally they are her husband Er’s. When Judah bars Tamar from any chance at conceiving he is shown in the wrong. He is disobeying God by this act.
I agree with what is being said here about the church’s teachings….although I do have a problem with it. And it’s not really with what the church says, but everyone points to adoption as an option, but have they seen the price tag that comes with it? even an adoption within the United States is a pricey penny and a lot of work (you have to go through months and sometimes years of house studies where people make sure you’re “fit” to be parents)…having the money to raise a family “naturally” is an expense many couples can plan into their budget…….but an adoption price tag of sometimes as much as 5,000 or even 10,000 is not as easy to budget. Also, the chance of getting a newborn to adopt is slimmer than an older child, but adopting an older child comes with its own problems—the child needs to adjust and may rebel at certian things the family does, or may have trouble adjusting to a new time zone, a new family dynamic, being out of foster homes, or whatever their individual case is. The parents can plan for this, but the child won’t really know until it gets there. So while I understand the point of why the Catholic Church is against surrogacy/in vetro (and I don’t think I’d do it myself, even if it was allowed)…..what do they expect couples that REALLY want children to do if adoption is not an option? Just give up and not have any? Not everyone can rush back to school and become a teacher to be around kids every day. I know to believe in miracles and such, that God is in control and all that, but sometimes it just seems like the Catholic Church likes to see infertile couples be miserable rather than help them….Catholic Charities, at least the ones in my area, say they can’t help with adoption prices.
When we point to Hagar and Sarah, we see that Sarah clearly went outside of the will of God because she took matters into her hands without patiently waiting on God. Some have pointed to other instances in the old testament where a woman has been impregnated by another man to carry on the family line. May we not forget that Jesus clearly said that in the beginning God made them a man and a woman and the old testament law that allowed for one man and many women was given by Moses because of the hardness of their hearts.
The problem I have with invitro fertilization, is the fact that the most sacred thing; LIFE, that is supposed to be initiated in the union between a man and a woman without an external influence is now being initiated in a test tube in a laboratory. How sacred is that picture. The difference between other medical procedures and invitro fertilization, is that in things like a transplant or other medical interventions, life is being saved, suffering is being alleviated but life is not being initiated.
Invitro fertilization is a distortion of a process that was intricately designed by God to bring forth life. In invitro fertilization, several eggs from the mother are harvested/aspirated through a needle under the guidance of ultra sound. Then the male semen is mixed with the eggs, in a dish. This usually produces several fertilized eggs which are then cultured in a dish, examined and graded by professionals. From these, the best 2 are usually inserted in the womb. The rest of the fertilized eggs (embryos) are frozen (used later for implantation or research) or they are discarded. If you believe that life begins at conception, then lives have been taken in the discarded fertilized eggs or the ones used in research. What difference does it make if these lives are aborted in petri dishes or in abortion clinics. Statistically it is known that for every one child born for an IVF parent, about 3 to 35 embryos have been discarded or left for research.
Some women have considered situations were fewer eggs are harvested and fertilized to avoid the problem I described above (discarding some embryos). Some have justified it with the fact they knew by statistics that a certain percent of fertilized eggs will not survive the invitro process, then the question and dilemma I have is this; Should we initiate life with the knowledge of the fact that this life called an embryo has a certain odds of surviving or not surviving. I say odds because the process of hyper-stimulating the ovaries and the mechanical manipulations involved in the process cause stress to the embryo and affect the quality of the embryo which in turn affect their survival rate. In knowing that the invitro manipulation has a greater propensity to terminate life should we with this knowledge be engaged in it. Some have argued that all their fertilized eggs were implanted. But does it negate the fact that they were implanted with the knowledge that not all of them may make it?. Some have had about 4 of their eggs fertilized and the 4 of them implanted with the idea that they can carry 4 babies through a pregnancy without much complication if 4 of them survive. Yet the fact remains that it is more a case of ‘if’ the 4 embryos survive and not ‘when’ they survive because statistically speaking, there is only a 1% percent chance of all the 4 eggs surviving. Some may also argue that even in nature, they are many abortions that occur naturally without a woman’s knowledge in the first few days of life, but the fact remains that in this situation the woman is not willingly putting her embryo which is alive in an environment that causes stress with the hope that the embryo will make it.
I know that it is difficult to tell a couple that sees this means as their only way of having a baby, to rethink it but scripture teaches us that we can not do bad so that good may result. Can you believe God for another life affirming process to love and hold a child. Can you trust that God has your life under control if you completely surrender to Him or is your desire for a baby so much that you are willing to risk the lives of other embryos/lives to hold one.
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