Surrogacy, a complex and emotionally charged topic, raises profound ethical questions. As we navigate this sensitive issue, it is essential to seek guidance from sources that provide ethical frameworks rooted in biblical principles. In this blog post, we will delve into the book "Introduction to Biblical Ethics" by Copan and McQuilkin, examining its insights on surrogacy while weaving in relevant scripture. By considering these perspectives, we aim to foster a thoughtful and informed discussion on the ethical implications of surrogacy.
Surrogacy involves a woman carrying a pregnancy and delivering a child on behalf of another individual or couple. While it can bring joy and fulfillment to those longing for a child, ethical questions arise when considering the potential impacts on the surrogate, the child, and the family dynamic.
Within the umbrella term of surrogacy lie two main forms: gestational surrogacy and traditional surrogacy.
The surrogate (also called the gestational carrier) is not biologically related to the baby she is carrying.
The embryo is created in the laboratory using in vitro fertilization (IVF).
The embryo may be created using the intended mother’s (or donor’s) egg and the intended father’s (or donor’s) sperm.
The embryo is then transferred to the surrogate’s uterus at the fertility clinic.
The surrogate mother's egg is used for conception.
The surrogate is impregnated with the sperm of the intended father or a sperm donor.
The surrogate is the biological mother of the child.
Overall, gestational surrogacy is the more common type of surrogacy in Canada and the United States. It is also less legally complicated than traditional surrogacy, which may pose legal problems. However, both types of surrogacy are complex processes that involve many professionals and complex legal, medical, and emotional steps
The Links below detail more information regarding the two main types of surrogacy:
On all of these sites, there seems to be a common theme of commercialization of surrogacy, which poses major ethical issues, compounded by both legal and judicial issues.
Surrogacy and Human Trafficking
Surrogacy and human trafficking are linked in that some surrogacy arrangements can involve the exploitation of vulnerable women, which is similar to human trafficking. In some cases, surrogates may be paid very little for their services, and they may be forced to undergo medical procedures against their will. This is particularly true in countries where surrogacy is unregulated or illegal. Some critics argue that surrogacy can be a form of modern-day slavery, as it involves the buying and selling of women's bodies.The average cost of surrogacy varies widely depending on several factors, including location, insurance coverage, and whether an agency is used. According to several sources, the average cost of surrogacy for U.S.-based intended parents is around $100,000, but it can range from $15,000 to $250,000
The links below source the above information:
Surrogates are typically paid between $30,000 and $60,000, although this can vary depending on the location and the surrogate's experience.
Biblical Foundations of Human Dignity
The book "Introduction to Biblical Ethics" emphasizes the inherent value and dignity of every human life, as affirmed throughout Scripture. For instance, Psalm 139:13-14 states, "For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made." This biblical perspective underscores the need to approach surrogacy with reverence for human life and the well-being of all involved.
The Sanctity of Marriage and Parenthood
Scripture upholds the sanctity of marriage and the importance of the marital bond in procreation. Quoting from "Introduction to Biblical Ethics," we find that "Scripture affirms that children are a natural result of the one-flesh union of husband and wife." Surrogacy, particularly when involving third-party gametes, can raise questions regarding the sacred bond of marriage and the purpose of parenthood.
Ethical Concerns and Emotional Complexities
The ethical implications of surrogacy extend beyond the initial desire for a child. Copan and McQuilkin point out that surrogacy can involve potential exploitation, commodification, and emotional complexities for all parties involved. Scripture reminds us in 1 Corinthians 10:23 that "not everything is beneficial" and challenges us to consider the broader impact of our choices.
Seeking Wisdom and Discernment
Navigating the ethical issues surrounding surrogacy requires wisdom, discernment, and thoughtful consideration of the biblical principles outlined in "Introduction to Biblical Ethics." As believers, we are encouraged to seek God's guidance in all matters of life, including decisions with far-reaching consequences like surrogacy. Proverbs 3:5-6 advises, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths."
Surrogacy raises significant ethical considerations, and exploring these issues through the biblical lens offered by "Introduction to Biblical Ethics" and Scripture allows us to engage in a biblically grounded discourse. By recognizing the inherent value of every human life, upholding the sanctity of marriage and parenthood, and considering the ethical concerns and emotional complexities involved, we can approach surrogacy with wisdom and discernment. As we navigate this complex topic, let us seek God's guidance, prayerfully discerning the most ethical and compassionate path forward.