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Institution/Affiliation

Board Certified Chaplain/Clinical Ethicist

About the Author(s)

Rev. Mark Lones is a Board Certified Chaplain and Clinical Ethicist.

Keywords

Surrogacy, IVF, infertility, snowflake adoption, assisted reproductive technologies, ART, procreation, conception, Christian ethics, morality of surrogacy

Abstract

Infertility is a painful reality for many couples. Assisted reproductive technologies (A.R.T.) are becoming increasingly more popular for infertile couples desperate to conceive. In 1972 physician and ethicist Leon Kass warned that “infertility is a relationship as much as a condition – a relationship between husband and wife, and also between generations too. More is involved than the interests of any single individual”. Yet, most Christians have been reticent in asking what boundaries or principles need to be drawn. A recent Pew Research study found Americans, including evangelical Christians, largely do not see in vitro fertilization and surrogacy as a moral issue and thus do not take a position for or against it.

The lack of a moral or ethical compass is one of the results of our postmodern culture. Many people would admit to having no external criteria for judging their beliefs. Most people have default values – a series of values that minimize the friction between personal spiritual inclination, personal emotional preferences, cultural expectations and relational pressures. Default values are flexible values because the person’s needs and preferences can change with each shift in the context of life.

Empathy should be felt for the anguish experienced by infertile couples. However, in addressing the desires of infertile couples, society should not undermine fundamental family relationships of the natural mother, parental responsibilities and the long term interest of children. Surrogacy risks blurring the child’s identity, disrupts the natural links between marriage, conception, gestation, birth and the rearing of the child. Adults involved in surrogacy should not behave as though they alone are involved. An individualistic concept of autonomy and reproductive freedom overlooks the rights of the child who is easily treated as an impersonal object. This article will attempt to provide a Christian ethical perspective on one option of assisted reproductive techniques which is becoming increasingly popular, surrogacy.

Article Number

5

DOI

10.15385/jbfp.2016.2.1.5

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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