Fr. Varghese Paul, SJ
Sometime back I wrote an articl
e on the immorality of women
offering service as surrogate
mothers producing children for some couples fo
r money. My article appeared in a family
magazine DOOT run by Jesuits for Gujarati
Christians. A number of
Catholic women had
become surrogate mothers at Anand and Nadi
ad cities. Some Christians like nurses are
associated with invetro fertili
zation and surrogate motherhood and promoting them. So I was not
surprised that among those who wrot
e letters of apprecia
tion there were also
voices of protest.
A Catholic nurse from Nadiad
was vehement in her protest. “Fr. Varghese, you are wrong in
writing against invetro fertilization and surroga
te mothers. You do not
know anything. We are
doing a great service to the poor pe
ople. Through surrogate mothers th
eir poor family gets to eat,
they are able to marry their daughters or send th
eir children for higher education. We are doing a
service also to barren
couples helping then to
have their own children.”
I understand the sufferings of childless couples
and the pain of barrenness of men or women.
They are often taunted and ridiculed for no fault
of theirs! The Bible has portrayed such people
and their agony. In the book of Genesis Abraham co
mplains to God bitter
ly. “Sovereign Lord,
what good will your reward do me, since I have
no children? My only heir is Eliezer of
Damascus. You have given me no children, and one
of my slaves will inherit my property” (Gen
15, 2-3). In the same book of Genesis Rachel in
her suffering of childlessness wants to die. “But
Rachel had not borne Jacob any ch
ildren, and so she became jealous
of her sister and said to
Jacob, ‘Give me children, or I will die’” (Gen 30,1).
The response of Rachel’s husband to
her threat to kill herself in he
r pain of childlessness, is to
the point. “I cannot take the place of God. He
is the one who keeps you from having children”
(Gen 30, 2). Here the Bible tells us clearly that G
od is the only giver of all lives. He is the source
of all lives. He is the life-giver.
The Christian religion teaches th
at a human life begins its exis
tence in the body of a woman. A
human life should come into exis
tence only within the body of a woman. A moral conception of
a child happens in the body of a woman, a wife
when the sperm of her husband meets her egg in
her body.
The Christian religion holds that
in order to improve the chances
of conception, eggs of a woman
or the sperms of a man may be extracted and me
dically treated and they may be planted in the
body of the wife and the fecundatio
n or the conception should take
place within the body of the
Christian religion has moral and ethical objections
to extracting eggs and sperms of woman and
man, even if they are husband and wife, and fert
ilizing the egg with the sperms in test tube.
Christian religion objects to such invetro fe
rtilization as immoral and unethical because the
technology of invetro fertilization separates
the marital intercourse from its unitive and
procreative dimension. Marital
union envisages the possibility of the couple being the co-
creative partners of God in brin
ing a new life into existence.
In bringing life into existence
through modern technol
ogy of invetro fert
ilization there is no
marital union. There is no experi
ence of intimate relation of
husband and wife. There is no
human dignity in invetro fertilization.
For these and similar reasons the Christian relig
ion also objects to the
practice of surrogate
motherhood. Getting child through a surrogate moth
er is unethical and immoral because the
couple desiring to have their ow
n child uses a third person, a
nother woman. People invent and
use machines to reduce work and make production
easy. In inverto fertilization a couple uses a
woman like machine as a means of producing their
child. Then in test t
ube fecundation only the
most healthy fertilized egg is implanted in th
e womb of a woman. In the process all other
fertilized eggs are destroyed. Here we see the
destruction of helpless hu
man beings existing in
fertilized eggs!
Some people say that the Christian religion has
no sympathy for or understanding of the pain and
suffering of the childless couples or barren pe
ople because the Church objects to surrogate
motherhood and invetro fertilization.
This is not a question of symp
athy and understandings. It is
a question of a child. It is a que
stion of human existence. A ch
ild is not the property of its
parents. A child is not a thing to be bought a
nd sold. A child is a prec
ious gift of God, the
Creator to its parents. Here we may recall the words of Khalil Gibran:
“Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of
Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.”
The parents have no right over thei
r children as they are the unique
gift of God to them. But the
children have their rights. They have the right fo
r the love and protection
of their parents. They
have the right to respect as a human being from
the moment of their conception in the wombs of
their mothers. They live their own ex
istence and have their own identity.
In a marriage if the woman or the man is barren
the couple need not consid
er the barrenness as a
curse or a crime. Christian religion teaches that
in the such situation of
childlessness the couple
should unite themselves to the Cross of Christ
. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC)
says, “The Gospel shows that physical sterility is
not an absolute evil. Spouses will still suffer
from infertility after exhausting legitimate medi
cal procedures should unit
e themselves with the
Lord’s Cross, the Source of all spiritual fecund
ity. They can give expres
sion to their generosity
by adopting abandoned children or performing de
manding service for others.” (contact the
(Last Changed : 01-08-2009)
(Next Change : 16-08-2009)
Fr. Varghese Paul © Copyright 2009