Let’s have a discussion about surrogacy. According to experts, today infertility is a serious problem, and in this regard surrogate motherhood is a method of struggle against infertility. Shouldn’t it be viewed as a humanitarian step and finally an effective solution to the demographic problems? Why is the Church against the institution of the surrogacy?
Surrogacy can be a solution for the problem of infertility and for increasing the number of population. However, there are problems that do not present the phenomenon of the surrogate motherhood under a positive light.
Fertilized embryos, that in religious understanding are human existences, are being subjected to experiments, and only one of them places in the surrogate mother’s body, others disappear or are destroyed.
The right of a child to be born from parents joined with the marital union is being violated. Serious psychological problems arise, relating especially to the surrogate mother. In other words, from a medical point of view, problems cannot be present, but problems arise in the field of bioethics.
The requirements for surrogate mothers are – age 20 – 35 years old (in certain cases the age can differ), she must have delivered at least one child of her own, mental and somatic, that is, physical health. Prospective surrogate mothers undergo a medical examination for health and mental state. However, except the medical examination, relating to the physical and mental state, a psychological test is necessary.
The absence of a genetic connection with the child does not eliminate surrogate mother’s psychological and emotional attachment with the child. In addition, even if the psychological balance or moderate excitement and high self-control are approved, however, that test can never be accurate because during pregnancy the mentality and perceptions of women are changing.
The fact that this is a serious problem became evident in 1986, when in the United States of America, in New Jersey, surrogate mother, who during pregnancy was in emotional contact with the child in her belly, refused to give the baby to the customers. Long judicial processes began, and eventually, the child was given to the biological parents and the surrogate mother reserved the right to visit the child.
In addition to these problems, the other problem arises to define what the motherhood is. In one of the cases, the grandmother also became a mother of her grandchild, carrying and giving birth to her daughter’s child. A child or teenager, knowing about the form of his birth and the fact of having several mothers, may have a crisis of identity, relating to the concept of “mother”.
Surrogacy transmutes the having a child into the medical, technical operation and trade because it seems that they produce and sell a child, as in the shops they sell manufactured goods. This opinion is appropriate, as surrogate mothers are becoming bearers of others’ children to earn money, and in this phenomenon, the existence of commerce is more than obvious.
The Church is against surrogacy, relating also to the perception of that phenomenon. What the doctor defines infertility the Bible explains as procrastination of God’s blessing. The Bible tells us that Jacob’s wife Rachel complained to her spouse for not having children, and Jacob replies: “Am I in God’s stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb” (Exodus 30:1-2).
Thus also Sarah, Abraham’s wife could not have children until old age. But with the blessing of God, the Bible says, not only Rachel but also Sarah had a child (30.22-24), who at first laughed at the idea that she will become a mother at that age (Gen. 18:11-15, 21:12). The prophet Samuel’s mother, Hannah, the parents of the Holy Virgin Mary had not had children for many years, but through prayer, God made them worthy of this blessing (1 Sam. 1:9-13, 19-20).
In the church we meet parents who bring their children for baptism or blessing, telling with joy that God has given them a child after not having children for one or even two decades. But many couples, applying to surrogate motherhood, after a short period of conjugality look for other options to have a child. Of course, the doctors diagnose woman’s inability to give birth to a child, or husband’s and wife’s health problem because of which it is impossible to have children. But by the medical examination the same diagnosis would be in the case of Sarah, Rachel, Anna, St. Mary’s parents, who, however, had children.
The couple’s divorce because of infertility is usual in our society. But the Church, noting several cases of divorce, hasn’t emphasized the necessity of divorce because of inability to give birth to a child, as the birth of children comes to the reality by divine blessing, and that blessing finally will bring the joy in family life.
The history of couples who hadn’t a child for more than ten, even twenty years and then received the joy of giving birth to their child, is the proof of that fact.
In the case of abortion for the salvation of a woman’s life, the Church permits apply abortion. In the case of the surrogacy with the deep study of the issue, perhaps it’s possible to make an exception, considering the infertility of both – husband’s and wife’s sterility.
This issue has yet to be discussed, but until then the Catholic and Orthodox Churches with their positions have already clearly considered the surrogate motherhood as an unacceptable phenomenon.
If the couple does not have children, then one of the solutions that will be in accordance with the Christian understanding, first of all, perhaps, is to adopt an orphan child, to present to oneself parental care and love, giving happiness to the child deprived of that opportunity. This wonderful charity is greatly pleasing and acceptable to God. Let’s remember the words of Christ: “Whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me” (Matthew 18:5; Mark 9:36; Luke 9:48). Cases are known; when the couple, who had adopted children, soon they themselves had given birth to their own children.
It should be noted that in France, Germany, Sweden and some states of America, to provide services of a surrogate mother is prohibited by law. However, in some eastern countries also, the surrogacy became permissible by law.
This fact proves again that sometimes the Europe shows the more zealous approach to contemporary phenomena, such as the prohibition of state registration of the Jehovah’s Witnesses sect in France.
Meanwhile, as can be seen, different countries seeking Europeanization yearn to be more European than Europeans themselves in phenomena such as surrogacy, state registration of sectarianism or in other issues, which can cause great harm to people in perspective of the perception of Christian values, ethics approval, and distortion of spiritual life.
You can also read: