Surrogacy is defined as “The practice by which a woman (called a surrogate mother) becomes pregnant and gives birth to a baby in order to give it to someone who cannot have children.” Surrogacy is a practice that is most commonly performed for couples who either have medical issues that make pregnancy not possible or risky, or male same sex couples. Surrogacy is a complex arrangement which involves medical, emotional, financial and legal issues for all those involved. The concept of surrogacy has a variety of standpoints from varying groups in society.
Most people from a secular standpoint believe that the practice of surrogacy as permissible, since it enables couples who can not have children to experience parenthood. These people argue that without the process, they wouldn’t be able to have the joys of having children.
The Catholic Church however, strongly opposes this practice.
The Catholic Church Social Teaching sums up the teaching of the Church on issues of justice between groups in society. Teaching draws on sources of insight used in Catholic ethics; such as Scripture, reason, tradition and experience. Its primary principle is dignity of the human person, which surrounds other principles such as common good, participation and subsidiarity.
It would seem that the Catholic Church would support surrogacy because it enables the participation in parenthood, forms community between the child and parents; and is beneficial to all parties and involved (since it gives the child the experience of life and the parents at parenthood. However, the Catholic Church believes that surrogacy is gravely and morally incorrect since it “infringes the child’s right to be born of a father and mother known to him and bound to each other by marriage” and “ betrays the spouses’ right to become a father and a mother only through each other.” This belief is based upon the Catechism of the Catholic Church, in Article Six, Section 2376.
I believe that this stance is somewhat interesting, knowing that the practice of surrogacy has been performed even in the early chapters of the Bible; namely, Genesis 16. In this account, Abram (who is referred to as Abraham later in Genesis), went into Hagar in order to produce a son for his wife Sarah, who could not give birth to a son at that time. Hagar was Abraham’s concubine; a wife of a lower status. Therefore, Abraham did not commit adultery because Hagar was given to Abraham through marriage. This case of surrogacy is different to modern surrogacy, since it was within the bounds of marriage.
Since I believe that the Word of God is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness, (see 2 Timothy 3:16) I believe that the process of surrogacy is permissible only in certain circumstances. The practice is not acceptable if a man was to have sexual relations with a surrogate mother who is not his wife, or woman to a man who was not her husband. This would be considered as adultery since it is outside the bounds of marriage. It would also be considered adulterous if a man’s sperm were to be deposited into a woman who is not his wife without sexual intercourse, since his seed would make a woman who his wife pregnant.
I believe that the practice of surrogacy is acceptable in the case where a pre-fertilized egg that isn’t involved with killing of other fertilized eggs is implanted into the woman, or where it is within the bounds of marriage (however, polygamy is rare in today’s society).
For a similar stance by the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry, click here
For a greater understanding on polygamy and the Old Testament godly men, click here