Fr. Varghese Paul, SJ
I am not a medical practitioner.
I have neither studied medicine nor am I acquainted with
medical science. So this article comes from my
readings, discussions with knowledgeable people
and from my own meditative refl
ections. Our topic of lending
womb here is discussed and
evaluated from a humane an
d ethical point of view.
When does a human life begins? Th
e beginning of human life is a mu
ch discussed subject in our
times. But in my mind I am very clear about it
. Human life begins when a sperm from a man
meets an egg of a woman. In other words, when men’s sperm impregnate a woman’s egg human
Normally a woman gets pregnant and human
life begins through an
intercourse with her
husband. But modern medical science has found ne
w ways and means to fecund a woman’s egg
with sperm outsider her body. One way is called in-v
etro fertilization. In
the process one or
usually more eggs are extracted from a woma
n’s body and are fertilized
in a test-t
ube with
sperms from a man. Here the fertilization or fe
cundation takes place scientifically in a test-tube
and the fertilized egg(s) are impla
nted in the uter
us of a woman.
In an intercourse man’s sperms meet an egg of
a woman normally in her fallopian tube and she
becomes pregnant. But due to defective or non fu
nctional fallopian tube a husband and his wife
have recourse to in-vetro fertilization fo
r pregnancy. Many people regard the in-vetro
fertilization a great achievement of the medical science.
But I am against in-vetro fertilization. Usually in in-vetro fertilization more than one egg is taken
from a woman and they are fertilized in a test-t
ube. Then, only one of the fertilized eggs is
implanted in the uterus of a woman and the re
st of those fertilized eggs are destroyed!
We believe that human life begins
with the sperm fer
tilizing an egg. So from an ethical and
moral point of view destroying a fe
rtilized egg is homicide. I believ
e that it is a heinous crime to
destroy life at any stag
e from the moment of conception to
its natural end. So destroying an in-
vetro fecundated egg is a
murder of human life.
Now take the example of lending a woman’s womb
for bringing forth a new life from a fertilized
egg of another woman. Normally an egg of on
e woman fecundated by her husband’s sperm is
implanted in the uterus of another woman. That
other woman nurtures the fertilized egg for nine
months in her womb and gives birth to the child
of the couple for whom
she has lended her body.
For her ‘service’ the woman receives a cons
iderable sum of mone
y from the couple.
The woman who renders her servi
ce to a couple is called surrogate
mother. The equivalent word
in Gujarati literally means temporary mother.
Perhaps some people consider lending womb a
great service to another woman, who for some r
eason or other is incapa
ble of conceiving and
then nourishing a faetus in her body. But for me
it is nothing more than a business. In fact I
consider it a unethical and immoral business.
I consider holy and sacred, as a sign of true l
ove and commitment, the intercourse between a man
and a woman united in marriage. The conception
which may take place in such a holy union is
also holy and sacred. Such conception is moral a
nd blessed. But outside the sacred marriage an
artificial fertilization of woman’s egg with th
e sperm of her husband or of another man is
immoral because you are pl
aying with human life.
Often people have recourse to
artificial fecundation because woma
n’s egg may be defective or
her husband sperm count might be below normal,
or the man must be impotent in one way or
other or the woman may be barren. A couple ma
y be childless in marriage because one or the
other life-partner is no
t potent or incapable of
contributing to bring forth a new life. But
childlessness is neither a sickness nor it is a crime.
Naturally every couple wants to ha
ve their own child / children. I ha
ve seen the heavenly bliss of
men and women in fondling their own child holding
it in their hands close to their hearts. Still
the couple who cannot beget thei
r own child can adopt an orpha
n child. Sometimes the couples
who have been barren for years have been help
ed to bear their own children through medication
and counseling. I know a number of such couple w
ho have had no children
for years after their
marriage and then they have been helped to bri
ng forth their own children in the natural way of
It is my religious belief that men and women
are created by God in his/her own image. So I
believe that the dignity of men
and women created in God’s own im
age must be preserved at all
cost in every way. I believe that
the gift of life is the greatest gi
ft of God to a person. The science
and the greatest scientists can create somethi
ng new from transforming one thing into another.
Only God can create something absolutely new from
nothingness. In giving
life to a new person
within the sacred union of marriage the parents
are co-creators with God in bring forth a new
Today it is a reality that a ma
rried or an unmarried woman lends her body for nourishing in her
womb for nine months and then bringing fort
h the child of a coupl
e in exchange for a
considerable sum of money. I believe that the
relationship between a wo
man and the child she
has nourished and carried nine months in her womb
can never be one of business of giving and
taking. That relationship is a love-relati
onship between a mother and her child.
A sacred bond or relationship is steadily built
up between the faetus and the woman carrying it
nine months in her womb. That faetus develops
and grows into a child with the blood and flesh
of the woman carrying it. The ni
ne-month long union of a faetus in its mother’s womb is a life-
long relationship, which a mother
can never forget in her life. The child may be bought with
money but that love-relationship can never be
bought with any price. Au
ctioning, yes, selling
and buying, a child-mother love-relationship is
nothing more than selfishness of the people
concerned. (Contact the author: ciss@
satyam.net.in & www.vpaulsj.org)
(Last Changed : 01-06-2010)
(Next Change : 16-06-2010)
Fr. Varghese Paul © Copyright 2010