Q&A: Should I serve as a surrogate mother for an infertile couple?Written by Focus on the Family
What's inside this article
Question: I've been considering the option of serving as a surrogate mother for an infertile couple with whom I'm acquainted. I'm a Christian, but I know very little about the theological and ethical implications of surrogacy. As a result, I'm not quite sure how I should proceed. Do you have any words of wisdom for me?
Surrogacy is one of those controversial issues about which Christians and non-Christians alike have expressed a variety of conflicting opinions, and on which no one seems to have been given the final definitive and authoritative word. For many believers the silence of Scripture is the major difficulty here. In the absence of written guidelines we are left to guess at the moral implications of the step you are considering; and we must tell you quite frankly that we here at Focus on the Family Canada are reluctant to put words in the mouth of God.
That said, surrogacy does raise serious spiritual and moral questions. Is it possible that this technique implicates those who employ it in something tantamount to adultery or a breach of the marriage covenant? After giving the issue a great deal of thought, we tend to feel that modern science may be overstepping its bounds in creating such artificial divisions between sex, conception and childbirth, which God has created to function as components of a single natural continuum. As a result, we lean toward the view that the questionable nature of these procedures should raise some red flags in the minds of those who genuinely desire to remain within the parameters of the Lord’s design for human procreation.
Surrogate motherhood also introduces some unique difficulties all its own. What about the child? To whom does he or she really belong? We are not speaking here of the legal side of the question, but in spiritual, moral and emotional terms. Does this practice convert the child into a commodity? Do we fully understand the implications of turning conception and childbearing into services available for hire? There is something ethically questionable about the very notion of "renting a womb." We'd submit that these aspects of the issue weigh heavily against the acceptability of surrogacy. We'd also suggest that a potential surrogate mother needs to think seriously about the possibility that maternal instinct will make it painfully difficult to part with the child she has carried within her body for nine months once the service has been rendered and the contract fulfilled. We know of at least one recent court case that has demonstrated this difficulty rather poignantly.
On the whole, though we feel great compassion for childless couples and understand why some consider going to these extreme lengths in order to hold a child in their arms, we would discourage arrangements involving surrogacy. We would even go so far as to say that, in our opinion, surrogacy is morally wrong. We realize, of course, that in the absence of explicit Scriptural pronouncements there is something subjective about judgments regarding the Lord’s will in this area. This is one of those issues which we can only view "through a glass darkly," not being privy to the fullness of the divine counsel. Nevertheless, these are the conclusions we have drawn after doing our best to think through the moral implications of this matter.
If you think it might be helpful to discuss this subject at greater length with a member of our staff, feel free to contact Focus on the Family Canada’s counselling department. Our counsellors would be more than happy to discuss your situation with you over the phone. They are available to take your call Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Pacific time at 1.800.661.9800.
If you liked this article and would like to go deeper, we have some helpful resources below.Our recommended resources
Free advice on marriage, parenting and Christian living delivered straight to your inbox