Describe the religious and ethical issues raised by human surrogacy.

Authors Avatar by erinruth99gmailcom (student)

Describe the religious and ethical issues raised by human surrogacy. [35]

Surrogacy is when a woman carries a child on behalf of someone else. There are four broad types of surrogacy: partial, full, commercial and voluntary. Partial surrogacy occurs when the surrogate mother provides her egg which is fertilised either in vitro and placed through artificial insemination into the womb or she is artificially inseminated by the intended father’s sperm. Only in very rare cases would sexual intercourse take place. Full surrogacy occurs when the intended parents provide egg and sperm. In some cases a donor sperm/egg may be used. Commercial surrogacy refers to arrangements whereby a woman is contracted and paid to be a surrogate mother and to deliver a baby to the intended parents; in many countries this is illegal. Voluntary or altruistic surrogacy refers to a surrogate arrangement where the surrogate mother voluntarily offers to bear a child for another couple but not for commercial gain. Surrogacy of any kind raises many religious and ethical issues. In examining these issues, a good place to start is the religious objections.

Many Christians consider surrogacy to violate the view that life cannot be owned by anyone. The principles of the sanctity of life suggest that life is a gift from God and that humans do not own it but rather act as its stewards and nurture it. In the story of Sarah and Abraham, Hagar is used to give Sarah a child. This story does not condone surrogacy but later shows the psychological problems faced when Sarah sends Hagar and Ishmael away, taking the rights of inheritance from Ishmael. This is not how God intended us to reproduce. To quote Michael Houdmann, “We learn from Hagar’s story that using a surrogate parent has the possibility to cause pain, heartache, and confusion.”
Join now!

Certain methods of surrogacy could encourage adultery within the marriage if they use donor gametes. Does this constitute a violation of the marriage bond? Some see it as breaking the 'one flesh' principle of Genesis 2:24 by introducing a third party into the marriage. By so doing it complicates family relationships, raises issues for the child about his/her genetic origins, leading to possible problems of attachment for the social but not genetic parent of the child. Christians would also fear that surrogacy could be used by same sex couples outside of the bonds of traditional marriage.

The ...

This is a preview of the whole essay