Gestational carrier

Movie star Nicole Kidman and her husband, country singer Keith Urban, both of whom hail from Australia, had a baby.   They are the child’s biological parents, but their fertilized egg was implanted into another woman, thus farming out the  task of bearing the baby and giving birth.  I don’t know if some medical condition made this process necessary–if so, I’m not criticizing them, not being sure what I think of that.   Or if it is an example on another plane of the wealthy exploiting workers for their “labor.”

At any rate, what I want us to notice is a word that I haven’t heard before for the woman who had the baby.  Not “mother” but “gestational carrier.”  From the couple’s statement:

“Our family is truly blessed, and just so thankful, to have been given the gift of baby Faith Margaret. No words can adequately convey the incredible gratitude that we feel for everyone who was so supportive throughout this process, in particular our gestational carrier.”

via Nicole Kidman’s Baby — Kidman and Keith Urban Welcome New Baby through Surrogate | TMZ.com.

We may be hearing that term more and more as “reproductive engineering” proliferates.  Being a “gestational carrier”  may become a profession, with  women who can afford that service opting out of pregnancy altogether, while still getting to be moms.

So, all of you Solomons. . . .Does a “gestational carrier” have any claims to motherhood?  Do you see any ethical problems with this as a medical procedure for a woman who is unable to carry a child to term?  At least the married couple’s “one flesh union” is preserved and extended to the child, since no extra-marital semi-adulterous  egg donor or sperm donor were used.

Do you think this might catch on, not just with women who cannot carry a child, but with women who want a child but don’t want to go through pregnancy?  Mothers, would you have been open to this option if it were available and if you could afford it?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Stephen

    I think it will catch on among the rich, yes, like euthanasia and abortion, let alone hiring others to raise your children, etc.

    Todd get on this, though it will probably turn up in a day or so. There was an interview way back when Nicole Kidman got her divorce from Tom Cruise, maybe with Barbara Walters. I recall her saying something about not wanting to mess up her body with childbearing, that’s why they adopted the kids the two of them had. Just sayin’

    What cannot be done one way will be solved another as long as there is technology and money to pay for it. That answers the other question about legality too probably. People will be allowed just about anything if they can pay for it. Children are products and accessories to a lifestyle that may be bought and sold and disposed of. This the a fundamental anthropology at work. They can be assessed in terms of quality like intelligence and attractiveness and put to use for whatever purpose the economy has for them – pop star here, dishwasher there, abort that one.

    The child’s name is Faith. Well, I hope she is taught it. Maybe they will baptize her and the holy name of God will be spoken for that child. Because if it’s true that they hired another to do the work of carrying the child, it seems fairly clear they haven’t got any faith of their own.

  • Stephen

    I think it will catch on among the rich, yes, like euthanasia and abortion, let alone hiring others to raise your children, etc.

    Todd get on this, though it will probably turn up in a day or so. There was an interview way back when Nicole Kidman got her divorce from Tom Cruise, maybe with Barbara Walters. I recall her saying something about not wanting to mess up her body with childbearing, that’s why they adopted the kids the two of them had. Just sayin’

    What cannot be done one way will be solved another as long as there is technology and money to pay for it. That answers the other question about legality too probably. People will be allowed just about anything if they can pay for it. Children are products and accessories to a lifestyle that may be bought and sold and disposed of. This the a fundamental anthropology at work. They can be assessed in terms of quality like intelligence and attractiveness and put to use for whatever purpose the economy has for them – pop star here, dishwasher there, abort that one.

    The child’s name is Faith. Well, I hope she is taught it. Maybe they will baptize her and the holy name of God will be spoken for that child. Because if it’s true that they hired another to do the work of carrying the child, it seems fairly clear they haven’t got any faith of their own.

  • Sarah partain

    It has been in the news in the past that Kidman has had multiple miscarriages and so I completely understand their decision to use a gestational carrier. Also, if one is able to get pregnant, it takes alot of your life and so again, I understand, in their situation, the use of a carrier. There are women out there who love being pregnant and so are able to fulfill a couple’s wish of having a biological child by carrying their baby for them. It is odd, and I can’t imagine doing it, but I feel there are far worse things out there.

  • Sarah partain

    It has been in the news in the past that Kidman has had multiple miscarriages and so I completely understand their decision to use a gestational carrier. Also, if one is able to get pregnant, it takes alot of your life and so again, I understand, in their situation, the use of a carrier. There are women out there who love being pregnant and so are able to fulfill a couple’s wish of having a biological child by carrying their baby for them. It is odd, and I can’t imagine doing it, but I feel there are far worse things out there.

  • Stephen

    Sarah @ 2

    While I recall the comments she made in interview I mentioned, it may have been a way to guard herself in light of what you’ve said. If what you say is true, then I retract my earlier statement about Kidman in particular. I know the pain of miscarriage, but I can’t say I completely understand this gestational carrier situation as a “solution” in a world filled with children who need parents. It goes to my other comment about money and technology and what we will do when we have enough of both – that is, whatever.

  • Stephen

    Sarah @ 2

    While I recall the comments she made in interview I mentioned, it may have been a way to guard herself in light of what you’ve said. If what you say is true, then I retract my earlier statement about Kidman in particular. I know the pain of miscarriage, but I can’t say I completely understand this gestational carrier situation as a “solution” in a world filled with children who need parents. It goes to my other comment about money and technology and what we will do when we have enough of both – that is, whatever.

  • Sarah partain

    Stephen, very strong and critical words there. I believe that they do have faith, Kidman has said that she is catholic and that Scientology wasn’t for her. She had a miscarriage which is why they adopted and then had another as she and Cruise were divorcing. I would guess that she and Urban consider their daughter a miracle and didn’t want to chance another miscarriage. Have you ever gone thru that? They are living their lives like we are, before God. And with their Children’s names being Sunday and Faith and their getting thru tough things like alcoholism, I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt.

  • Sarah partain

    Stephen, very strong and critical words there. I believe that they do have faith, Kidman has said that she is catholic and that Scientology wasn’t for her. She had a miscarriage which is why they adopted and then had another as she and Cruise were divorcing. I would guess that she and Urban consider their daughter a miracle and didn’t want to chance another miscarriage. Have you ever gone thru that? They are living their lives like we are, before God. And with their Children’s names being Sunday and Faith and their getting thru tough things like alcoholism, I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt.

  • Sarah partain

    I didnt see your second comment before making my second comment, Stephen. Glad you retracted.

  • Sarah partain

    I didnt see your second comment before making my second comment, Stephen. Glad you retracted.

  • http://www.examiner.com/x-27802-Televangelism--Pop-Christianity-Examiner Bob Hunter

    She had two miscarriages with Tom Cruise according to http://www.hollywood.com/news/Kidman_I_Lost_Two_Babies/4994453

  • http://www.examiner.com/x-27802-Televangelism--Pop-Christianity-Examiner Bob Hunter

    She had two miscarriages with Tom Cruise according to http://www.hollywood.com/news/Kidman_I_Lost_Two_Babies/4994453

  • WebMonk

    This isn’t a brand new thing. I think I first heard of it happening about 8 years ago. It’s still pretty rare though, and I’ve never heard of it happening (yet) for a woman who just didn’t want to go through the pregnancy for self-image issues. Doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened, just that I haven’t heard of it.

    I don’t see any issues with the act itself. Of course it can be exploited, just like anything can be used for selfish reasons. Certainly the selfishness which is so deeply ingrained in all of us needs to be acknowledged, but the technique itself doesn’t raise any moral issues by itself.

  • WebMonk

    This isn’t a brand new thing. I think I first heard of it happening about 8 years ago. It’s still pretty rare though, and I’ve never heard of it happening (yet) for a woman who just didn’t want to go through the pregnancy for self-image issues. Doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened, just that I haven’t heard of it.

    I don’t see any issues with the act itself. Of course it can be exploited, just like anything can be used for selfish reasons. Certainly the selfishness which is so deeply ingrained in all of us needs to be acknowledged, but the technique itself doesn’t raise any moral issues by itself.

  • Joe

    This is a very hard issue to discuss. Each case would present many varying facts and issues related to why they are doing it. But on the global level, it does seem to me that we have many children in need of adoption and we have many couples who want desperately to be parents. It seems to be that each of these problems simply waiting to be solved by the other.

  • Joe

    This is a very hard issue to discuss. Each case would present many varying facts and issues related to why they are doing it. But on the global level, it does seem to me that we have many children in need of adoption and we have many couples who want desperately to be parents. It seems to be that each of these problems simply waiting to be solved by the other.

  • Eric Richey

    “Surrogacy”, as it is commonly known, goes way back in history but it began to be legally sanctioned (protected, payment etc.) in the US in the late 1970s / early 1980s. I think it is commonly accepted today by most Americans (though I suspect many would confess some intuitive doubts about the whole project).

    I still think there are ethical problems here:
    Is the “one-flesh union” really preserved when the “union” takes place inside the uterus of another woman?
    What view of the human body is put forward here?

    Bioethicist Gilbert Meilaender points out that we are tempted to view even our biological children as “projects of transformation” instead of as gifts of God. The temptation cannot be lessened any when we insert our intellect, planning, and extensive finances into the reproductive process.

    Note that I am not saying that all of those who have employed assisted reproduction fall prey to this – many do receive the child as a gift of God (through the means of the technology) – but we would be naive if we didn’t acknowledge the heightened temptation.

  • Eric Richey

    “Surrogacy”, as it is commonly known, goes way back in history but it began to be legally sanctioned (protected, payment etc.) in the US in the late 1970s / early 1980s. I think it is commonly accepted today by most Americans (though I suspect many would confess some intuitive doubts about the whole project).

    I still think there are ethical problems here:
    Is the “one-flesh union” really preserved when the “union” takes place inside the uterus of another woman?
    What view of the human body is put forward here?

    Bioethicist Gilbert Meilaender points out that we are tempted to view even our biological children as “projects of transformation” instead of as gifts of God. The temptation cannot be lessened any when we insert our intellect, planning, and extensive finances into the reproductive process.

    Note that I am not saying that all of those who have employed assisted reproduction fall prey to this – many do receive the child as a gift of God (through the means of the technology) – but we would be naive if we didn’t acknowledge the heightened temptation.

  • Cincinnatus

    WebMonk@7: “I don’t see any issues with the act itself.”

    I can: the commodification of wombs and babies.

  • Cincinnatus

    WebMonk@7: “I don’t see any issues with the act itself.”

    I can: the commodification of wombs and babies.

  • Booklover

    Here I was in my little old rural community, giving my son’s friends a ride home. I asked the young lady, “What does your mother do?” She replied, “She’s a surrogate.” Apparently, the woman had given birth to some children of her own, then gave birth to others as a surrogate. The latest “gestational carrying” was twins (!!!) for, if I remember right, a healthy Australian couple. For this, she was being paid $100,000. I believe she found them (or they found her) on the internet.

    After my head stopped spinning and thinking I was in an alternate universe, I remember wondering, What kind of husband would allow his wife’s body to be permanently changed for $100,000? How does one explain to one’s children that she’s giving away these babies that she’s been holding for nine months? How does the surrogate couple handle it when there are medical complications? (I believe the biological couple had to sign a legal paper saying they would pay for any medical complications. . . !!) I remember wondering, When did this all become O.K.?? What legal body is the check for all this?

    When I came home and told my son, he thought it was a great thing to do for couples who needed help with childbearing. I guess that’s a way to look at it, but I don’t recall that the Australian couple had health issues, just money.

  • Booklover

    Here I was in my little old rural community, giving my son’s friends a ride home. I asked the young lady, “What does your mother do?” She replied, “She’s a surrogate.” Apparently, the woman had given birth to some children of her own, then gave birth to others as a surrogate. The latest “gestational carrying” was twins (!!!) for, if I remember right, a healthy Australian couple. For this, she was being paid $100,000. I believe she found them (or they found her) on the internet.

    After my head stopped spinning and thinking I was in an alternate universe, I remember wondering, What kind of husband would allow his wife’s body to be permanently changed for $100,000? How does one explain to one’s children that she’s giving away these babies that she’s been holding for nine months? How does the surrogate couple handle it when there are medical complications? (I believe the biological couple had to sign a legal paper saying they would pay for any medical complications. . . !!) I remember wondering, When did this all become O.K.?? What legal body is the check for all this?

    When I came home and told my son, he thought it was a great thing to do for couples who needed help with childbearing. I guess that’s a way to look at it, but I don’t recall that the Australian couple had health issues, just money.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    I’ve seen dear sisters in Christ note that, as they loved being pregnant, they’d consider carrying a child for pay. That said, it would seem to be–apart from the reality of a biological child being carried–pretty much like adoption.

    In other words, it seems like an awful lot of time and expense that could be spared if people would simply adopt one of the millions of kids out there without good parents.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    I’ve seen dear sisters in Christ note that, as they loved being pregnant, they’d consider carrying a child for pay. That said, it would seem to be–apart from the reality of a biological child being carried–pretty much like adoption.

    In other words, it seems like an awful lot of time and expense that could be spared if people would simply adopt one of the millions of kids out there without good parents.

  • Cincinnatus

    Also, the exploitative and instrumentalized subjugation of nature in order to satisfy our boundless desires is a persistent theme or characteristic of modernity, related to the commodification of…everything. This trend of surrogacy seems to be only a continued and natural symptom of these trends–perhaps even the consummation of the trend.

    The humans of modernity find themselves unable to recognize limits–limits upon their nature and limits, restraints upon their concupiscence. While I can’t cast judgment on this particular situation, as I don’t know all the facts and don’t really care to know (celebrity gossip sickens me), the trend itself does seem to be inherently problematic if these aspects of the modern condition are taken as problematic. They are in my case. Callous as it may seem to say so, some individuals simply need to learn their limits. While it is sad, if not tragic, that certain couples cannot safely experience the joys of childbirth, this does not give them the right to commodity and exploit the bodies of other women, not to mention human children as well. And let’s preempt extreme free-marketeering here: regardless of whether some women “want” to provide this service (like Booklover’s acquaintance), there are some things we as limited, finite humans who acknowledge the sanctity of life, do not have the right or capacity to commodify, to “truck and barter” about. Fortunately, there are ethical outlets for the desire to bear children: thousands–perhaps millions–of children, even in our industrialized prosperous West, crave the love and attention of an actual family. Perhaps the barren womb is indicative, for some, of a vocation for the adoption of these children. I have a hard time believing that the barren womb instead provides a vocation for other women literally to commodify their bodies and treat children as goods to be bought and sold on a market.

  • Cincinnatus

    Also, the exploitative and instrumentalized subjugation of nature in order to satisfy our boundless desires is a persistent theme or characteristic of modernity, related to the commodification of…everything. This trend of surrogacy seems to be only a continued and natural symptom of these trends–perhaps even the consummation of the trend.

    The humans of modernity find themselves unable to recognize limits–limits upon their nature and limits, restraints upon their concupiscence. While I can’t cast judgment on this particular situation, as I don’t know all the facts and don’t really care to know (celebrity gossip sickens me), the trend itself does seem to be inherently problematic if these aspects of the modern condition are taken as problematic. They are in my case. Callous as it may seem to say so, some individuals simply need to learn their limits. While it is sad, if not tragic, that certain couples cannot safely experience the joys of childbirth, this does not give them the right to commodity and exploit the bodies of other women, not to mention human children as well. And let’s preempt extreme free-marketeering here: regardless of whether some women “want” to provide this service (like Booklover’s acquaintance), there are some things we as limited, finite humans who acknowledge the sanctity of life, do not have the right or capacity to commodify, to “truck and barter” about. Fortunately, there are ethical outlets for the desire to bear children: thousands–perhaps millions–of children, even in our industrialized prosperous West, crave the love and attention of an actual family. Perhaps the barren womb is indicative, for some, of a vocation for the adoption of these children. I have a hard time believing that the barren womb instead provides a vocation for other women literally to commodify their bodies and treat children as goods to be bought and sold on a market.

  • Tom Hering

    “… the commodification of … everything … the consummation of the trend.” – @ 13.

    I don’t know, Cincinnatus. I kind of think the consummation of commodification was the pre-modern selling of indulgences – of eternal life with God.

    And didn’t this whole surrogate thing start with Hagar and Sarah and Abraham?

  • Tom Hering

    “… the commodification of … everything … the consummation of the trend.” – @ 13.

    I don’t know, Cincinnatus. I kind of think the consummation of commodification was the pre-modern selling of indulgences – of eternal life with God.

    And didn’t this whole surrogate thing start with Hagar and Sarah and Abraham?

  • Dan Kempin

    I suspect that the “gestational carrier” may be somewhat of the victim here. It is fair to say that she has no genetic “skin in the game,” (so to speak), and it may be true that she loves being pregnant and is absolutely willing to undertake the gestation.

    Still, a woman learns to love pregnancy with her own child(ren). However clear the cerebral knowledge that a child is not one’s own, I don’t imagine anyone could carry a child to term without emotional investment. Something must die inside when a woman brings a child to term, gives birth, and then hands the baby off to his (her) “real” parents and becomes irrelevant to his life.

  • Dan Kempin

    I suspect that the “gestational carrier” may be somewhat of the victim here. It is fair to say that she has no genetic “skin in the game,” (so to speak), and it may be true that she loves being pregnant and is absolutely willing to undertake the gestation.

    Still, a woman learns to love pregnancy with her own child(ren). However clear the cerebral knowledge that a child is not one’s own, I don’t imagine anyone could carry a child to term without emotional investment. Something must die inside when a woman brings a child to term, gives birth, and then hands the baby off to his (her) “real” parents and becomes irrelevant to his life.

  • Mary Jack

    My heart really goes out for women who suffer serial miscarriages. If science could better determine causes of miscarriage, I think there would be more Christians could say about this particular case.

    If a woman’s body WERE the cause of miscarriages–if it could not for some reason carry children to term–then a surrogate may be the option for a fertile woman to care for her children. I think adoption is clearly a less ethically-messy solution, but I don’t know whether Christians are given to mandating adoption for fertile couples.

    Often miscarriages are due to the baby and not the mother. But I’m sure a mother who suffers miscarriages with NO successful carrying would question whether that is the case with her.

    Adoption is GREAT. It should be practiced much more frequently! But it is not the same thing as helping fertile couples bear their fruit to term. My prayer is that the medical community will better address miscarriages so that fewer babies die that way.

  • Mary Jack

    My heart really goes out for women who suffer serial miscarriages. If science could better determine causes of miscarriage, I think there would be more Christians could say about this particular case.

    If a woman’s body WERE the cause of miscarriages–if it could not for some reason carry children to term–then a surrogate may be the option for a fertile woman to care for her children. I think adoption is clearly a less ethically-messy solution, but I don’t know whether Christians are given to mandating adoption for fertile couples.

    Often miscarriages are due to the baby and not the mother. But I’m sure a mother who suffers miscarriages with NO successful carrying would question whether that is the case with her.

    Adoption is GREAT. It should be practiced much more frequently! But it is not the same thing as helping fertile couples bear their fruit to term. My prayer is that the medical community will better address miscarriages so that fewer babies die that way.

  • Mockingbird

    I have to wonder if the term “gestational carrier” is used purposefully, to communicate to the “carrier” that she is just a vessel, an employee; she is not the “mother”. I’m guessing this is especially helpful in those cases when after delivery the “carrier” gets the idea that somehow she has a connection to the “gestational product”.

    The other thing I find interesting is that we are constantly told the “gestational product” is simply a mass of cells, a part of the mother that can be kept or aborted as circumstance (or whims) dictate. But here, two people have gone through a lot of trouble to create a “mass of cells” that was theirs, and theirs alone.

  • Mockingbird

    I have to wonder if the term “gestational carrier” is used purposefully, to communicate to the “carrier” that she is just a vessel, an employee; she is not the “mother”. I’m guessing this is especially helpful in those cases when after delivery the “carrier” gets the idea that somehow she has a connection to the “gestational product”.

    The other thing I find interesting is that we are constantly told the “gestational product” is simply a mass of cells, a part of the mother that can be kept or aborted as circumstance (or whims) dictate. But here, two people have gone through a lot of trouble to create a “mass of cells” that was theirs, and theirs alone.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    If surrogacy is fine, why not organs for cash? Is there a difference? I’m asking, not airing an opinion.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    If surrogacy is fine, why not organs for cash? Is there a difference? I’m asking, not airing an opinion.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    I wonder about the wisdom of this medical practice, there is an ick factor involved. And in ethics, when there is an ick factor there does tend to be something ethically wrong. Ultimately, I am not sure what to think about this news. If there are medically sound reasons for seeking a surrogate then I am less prone to say its wrong, but I still wonder if it is ultimately right. The emotional stress of carrying a child just to be forced to give him or her up must be tremendous and we don’t even know yet the long term effects this will have emotionally on the surrogate. Women form bonds with the child inside them and that bond is going to be stripped even if she never sees the child after birth.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    I wonder about the wisdom of this medical practice, there is an ick factor involved. And in ethics, when there is an ick factor there does tend to be something ethically wrong. Ultimately, I am not sure what to think about this news. If there are medically sound reasons for seeking a surrogate then I am less prone to say its wrong, but I still wonder if it is ultimately right. The emotional stress of carrying a child just to be forced to give him or her up must be tremendous and we don’t even know yet the long term effects this will have emotionally on the surrogate. Women form bonds with the child inside them and that bond is going to be stripped even if she never sees the child after birth.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    There are some serious ethical issues here, but there are also some legal ones. Not sure if this happened in Australia or the U.S. or how the laws work, but European studies have shown significant psychological impact upon the “gestational carrier”. In the state of California, the birth mother has been granted the right to keep the child in at least one court case. Very thorny stuff.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    There are some serious ethical issues here, but there are also some legal ones. Not sure if this happened in Australia or the U.S. or how the laws work, but European studies have shown significant psychological impact upon the “gestational carrier”. In the state of California, the birth mother has been granted the right to keep the child in at least one court case. Very thorny stuff.

  • Rob

    To be affirmed: seeking life in a time when many are (by abortion) destroying it.

    To be questioned: at what point does this become an example of failing to “fear, love, and trust in God above all things”? In other words, when are we making either the desired baby or the health of the mother into idols rather than trusting God’s provision and purposes? (However, I am well aware the same questions could be raised against C-sections and other commonly-accepted practices.)

    To be condemned: any time that this process is used for purposes of convenience or commerce (but remember: the eighth commandment requires we never presume this is the case). Even just taking the practical view: parenting is a huge sacrifice, from conception till the final bell; no one unwilling to undertake the process of child-bearing is at all prepared to take on the process of child-rearing. Any surrogate or carrier enabling this process (again, when it is undertaken for convenience, not necessity) is partly culpable.

    A final word: I know many, many people who have been told that they could not have children who have successfully conceived and delivered healthy babies. I know many more who have seen God’s hand at work even through miscarriages or through the lives of babies born with disabilities. God sees more than we ever could and loves us more perfectly than we ever could. Though He has granted us the tools and abilities to aid and improve health, we must always remember that it is He who creates and sustains life.

  • Rob

    To be affirmed: seeking life in a time when many are (by abortion) destroying it.

    To be questioned: at what point does this become an example of failing to “fear, love, and trust in God above all things”? In other words, when are we making either the desired baby or the health of the mother into idols rather than trusting God’s provision and purposes? (However, I am well aware the same questions could be raised against C-sections and other commonly-accepted practices.)

    To be condemned: any time that this process is used for purposes of convenience or commerce (but remember: the eighth commandment requires we never presume this is the case). Even just taking the practical view: parenting is a huge sacrifice, from conception till the final bell; no one unwilling to undertake the process of child-bearing is at all prepared to take on the process of child-rearing. Any surrogate or carrier enabling this process (again, when it is undertaken for convenience, not necessity) is partly culpable.

    A final word: I know many, many people who have been told that they could not have children who have successfully conceived and delivered healthy babies. I know many more who have seen God’s hand at work even through miscarriages or through the lives of babies born with disabilities. God sees more than we ever could and loves us more perfectly than we ever could. Though He has granted us the tools and abilities to aid and improve health, we must always remember that it is He who creates and sustains life.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Louis, I’m uneasy at best with surrogacy, but regarding selling organs for cash….well, call me uneasy about that one, too, as in general, the heart must still be beating when the “harvest” of organs is done. Ya need safeguards to prevent harvesting from the living for cash…..

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Louis, I’m uneasy at best with surrogacy, but regarding selling organs for cash….well, call me uneasy about that one, too, as in general, the heart must still be beating when the “harvest” of organs is done. Ya need safeguards to prevent harvesting from the living for cash…..

  • Helen F

    Louis,
    Your post reminds me of a film that was out last year (not very popular in movie receipts) based upon a book by Kazuo Ishiguro, “Never Let Me Go,” which I’m currently reading.
    What happens if organs are routinely “harvested” from those who become “gestational carriers”?!
    For those interested, here is the Amazon link to the movie:
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004EQAVHI/ref=pe_57680_18398480_pe_vfe_t1

  • Helen F

    Louis,
    Your post reminds me of a film that was out last year (not very popular in movie receipts) based upon a book by Kazuo Ishiguro, “Never Let Me Go,” which I’m currently reading.
    What happens if organs are routinely “harvested” from those who become “gestational carriers”?!
    For those interested, here is the Amazon link to the movie:
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004EQAVHI/ref=pe_57680_18398480_pe_vfe_t1

  • http://www.higherthings.org Sandra Ostapowich

    Two things…

    Christianity Today had an interesting blog about this yesterday at http://blog.christianitytoday.com/women/2011/01/a_woman_not_a_gestational_carr.html.

    That this is becoming more and more commonplace kind of carries shades of Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale.

  • http://www.higherthings.org Sandra Ostapowich

    Two things…

    Christianity Today had an interesting blog about this yesterday at http://blog.christianitytoday.com/women/2011/01/a_woman_not_a_gestational_carr.html.

    That this is becoming more and more commonplace kind of carries shades of Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale.

  • helen

    Eric @ 9
    “I still think there are ethical problems here:
    Is the “one-flesh union” really preserved when the “union” takes place inside the uterus of another woman?
    What view of the human body is put forward here?

    I haven’t paid attention to this case, but I would imagine the fertilization probably took place in a laboratory dish, to be sure it did take place.
    I have read other stories of women being hired by gay male couples to produce a child for them, one of the men being the father by artificial means. The comment was that women whose husbands were overseas for a year were doing it for the extra income.

    [Sorry, I can't provide a source off the top of my head; google probably can.]

  • helen

    Eric @ 9
    “I still think there are ethical problems here:
    Is the “one-flesh union” really preserved when the “union” takes place inside the uterus of another woman?
    What view of the human body is put forward here?

    I haven’t paid attention to this case, but I would imagine the fertilization probably took place in a laboratory dish, to be sure it did take place.
    I have read other stories of women being hired by gay male couples to produce a child for them, one of the men being the father by artificial means. The comment was that women whose husbands were overseas for a year were doing it for the extra income.

    [Sorry, I can't provide a source off the top of my head; google probably can.]

  • http://theravenskeep.blogspot.com/ Acolyte

    i don’t think surrogacy in and of itself, is wrong. but i think that it does bring up two interesting things about US attitudes.

    1) the “biological parents” are considered the “real parents.” in other words, while people pay a lot of lip service to things like adoption and what makes a family, the underlying belief is that the biological parents are the “real” ones.

    2) this is the problem that a lot of people in the US have with adoption. there is a very real fear that if you adopt a child here in the US, there is always that possibility that the biological parents will come and try to take the child back. for parents who have been unsuccessful for years to have children, this kind of loss is beyond comprehension.

    by way of illustration, i’m an adopted child myself (very happily so). however some of the most common questions i have received, from as young as five years old are things like: where are your real parents? do you know your real parents? why didn’t your real mum want you? the point i’m trying to make is that surrogacy (and adoption) bring to light beliefs people hold about what makes a family. while there are thousands of children who need loving homes, adoption has a lot of risks as well. that leaves parents with two options: surrogacy or international adoption. it takes a special kind of person to do an international adoption, so i can see why people would opt for surrogacy. just my two cents :)

  • http://theravenskeep.blogspot.com/ Acolyte

    i don’t think surrogacy in and of itself, is wrong. but i think that it does bring up two interesting things about US attitudes.

    1) the “biological parents” are considered the “real parents.” in other words, while people pay a lot of lip service to things like adoption and what makes a family, the underlying belief is that the biological parents are the “real” ones.

    2) this is the problem that a lot of people in the US have with adoption. there is a very real fear that if you adopt a child here in the US, there is always that possibility that the biological parents will come and try to take the child back. for parents who have been unsuccessful for years to have children, this kind of loss is beyond comprehension.

    by way of illustration, i’m an adopted child myself (very happily so). however some of the most common questions i have received, from as young as five years old are things like: where are your real parents? do you know your real parents? why didn’t your real mum want you? the point i’m trying to make is that surrogacy (and adoption) bring to light beliefs people hold about what makes a family. while there are thousands of children who need loving homes, adoption has a lot of risks as well. that leaves parents with two options: surrogacy or international adoption. it takes a special kind of person to do an international adoption, so i can see why people would opt for surrogacy. just my two cents :)

  • helen

    While I was writing, Sandra provided a better example than any I’ve seen.
    40+ years ago [prior to Roe vs Wade] it was not uncommon for unwed girls to be sequestered in a ‘home’ and their babies adopted right out of the hospital. In one state, the adoptive parents’ names are on the birth certificate. The child who grows up to ask, “Where did I come from, really?” is up against a brick wall of legally mandated silence if he tries to find out.
    The child who is at the head of this article at least knows (as well as any child can) that his Mom & Dad are his biological parents.

    [Although, considering the "musical chairs" habits of Hollywood marriages, I do wonder if any of them should venture into parenthood.]

  • helen

    While I was writing, Sandra provided a better example than any I’ve seen.
    40+ years ago [prior to Roe vs Wade] it was not uncommon for unwed girls to be sequestered in a ‘home’ and their babies adopted right out of the hospital. In one state, the adoptive parents’ names are on the birth certificate. The child who grows up to ask, “Where did I come from, really?” is up against a brick wall of legally mandated silence if he tries to find out.
    The child who is at the head of this article at least knows (as well as any child can) that his Mom & Dad are his biological parents.

    [Although, considering the "musical chairs" habits of Hollywood marriages, I do wonder if any of them should venture into parenthood.]

  • helen

    Acolyte,
    Now that genes and DNA have been discovered, doctors want to know more about your family medical history than ever before. How ironic that this should come about just as more and more children will grow up w/o any answers as to their heredity!

  • helen

    Acolyte,
    Now that genes and DNA have been discovered, doctors want to know more about your family medical history than ever before. How ironic that this should come about just as more and more children will grow up w/o any answers as to their heredity!

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    I wonder, too, about the emotional effect on the baby. It’s been said that a newborn recognizes his (gestational) mother’s voice. What happens when the baby is handed off to someone else?

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    I wonder, too, about the emotional effect on the baby. It’s been said that a newborn recognizes his (gestational) mother’s voice. What happens when the baby is handed off to someone else?

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    #29
    There are other considerations, also. Newborns having listened to their mother’s heart for the past nine months are comforted by pressing up to their mother’s post delivery and hearing her heartbeat again. It is one of the reasons Mom’s have a better chance at comforting a newborn than anybody else.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    #29
    There are other considerations, also. Newborns having listened to their mother’s heart for the past nine months are comforted by pressing up to their mother’s post delivery and hearing her heartbeat again. It is one of the reasons Mom’s have a better chance at comforting a newborn than anybody else.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    that should be “mother’s chest post”

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    that should be “mother’s chest post”

  • Elizabeth

    Reproductive issues are all difficult and emotional issues. Where does one draw the line between helpful medical advances and meddling with God’s work of creation and in a sense playing God? As to surrogacy, or any other extreme measures, I think what is actually at work here is an inability to deal with, grieve, and accept one’s reproductive state. In other words, instead of dealing with the emotional and spiritual effects of barrenness or infertility of whatever kind, surrogacy offers another “quick fix.” Instead, I would hope that couples dealing with issues of infertility could and would seek spiritual care and counseling. To forge ahead with what is at best a questionable practice is to perhaps ignore or deny one’s true feelings, as well as what God’s message may really be. In the end, the only “cure” for infertility and for the fear and guilt which plagues both men and women in this type of situation is the proclamation of Christ and him Crucified for THEM, for their infertility, for their miscarried or stillborn children, for all.

    It is demonstrably true that throughout the Old Testament matriarchs it is Yahweh who opens the womb (Sarah, Leah, Ruth, etc.) The phrase “and then Yahweh opened her womb” recurs frequently in Genesis and shows up again in Ruth. While it is difficult to understand why God opens some wombs and not others, the answers are not in why, but in Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection for our comfort and in the womb of the Virgin Mary, which Yahweh opened to redeem all wombs.

    I guess what I’m saying is, let’s treat the spiritual problems underlying the pain of infertility, not the symptom…

    Furthermore, Dr. Veith asked women to chime in. I had an emergency c-section after 36 hours of labor with my first child (which for emergency situations or medical reasons I see to be a helpful medical advance, but which can be abused by perfectly healthy women as a way to “schedule” having a child in to the rest of their life), then had to have major back surgery (a spinal fusion between T2 and L2). I may never be allowed to have children again, depending on the recovery process. My husband and I had wanted four children. As difficult as it sometimes is, I know that even if I am cleared for pregnancy, one more child is about all my body can take. But ultimately, I pray to be content with the family the Lord gives us. If that means we are the three of us, then that is wonderful, too. I would never consider a surrogate just because my body, even at my relatively young age of 28, has in some ways betrayed me and my wish for four children.

    Also, as a Deaconess Candidate in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, I see this area as a place where deaconess can really help to work with the women among us who face these difficulties in a way in which, perhaps, a pastor would not (due to the awkwardness of the discussion for some people). Let us pray that all those dealing with infertility find peace in Christ, rather than in “quick fixes.”

  • Elizabeth

    Reproductive issues are all difficult and emotional issues. Where does one draw the line between helpful medical advances and meddling with God’s work of creation and in a sense playing God? As to surrogacy, or any other extreme measures, I think what is actually at work here is an inability to deal with, grieve, and accept one’s reproductive state. In other words, instead of dealing with the emotional and spiritual effects of barrenness or infertility of whatever kind, surrogacy offers another “quick fix.” Instead, I would hope that couples dealing with issues of infertility could and would seek spiritual care and counseling. To forge ahead with what is at best a questionable practice is to perhaps ignore or deny one’s true feelings, as well as what God’s message may really be. In the end, the only “cure” for infertility and for the fear and guilt which plagues both men and women in this type of situation is the proclamation of Christ and him Crucified for THEM, for their infertility, for their miscarried or stillborn children, for all.

    It is demonstrably true that throughout the Old Testament matriarchs it is Yahweh who opens the womb (Sarah, Leah, Ruth, etc.) The phrase “and then Yahweh opened her womb” recurs frequently in Genesis and shows up again in Ruth. While it is difficult to understand why God opens some wombs and not others, the answers are not in why, but in Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection for our comfort and in the womb of the Virgin Mary, which Yahweh opened to redeem all wombs.

    I guess what I’m saying is, let’s treat the spiritual problems underlying the pain of infertility, not the symptom…

    Furthermore, Dr. Veith asked women to chime in. I had an emergency c-section after 36 hours of labor with my first child (which for emergency situations or medical reasons I see to be a helpful medical advance, but which can be abused by perfectly healthy women as a way to “schedule” having a child in to the rest of their life), then had to have major back surgery (a spinal fusion between T2 and L2). I may never be allowed to have children again, depending on the recovery process. My husband and I had wanted four children. As difficult as it sometimes is, I know that even if I am cleared for pregnancy, one more child is about all my body can take. But ultimately, I pray to be content with the family the Lord gives us. If that means we are the three of us, then that is wonderful, too. I would never consider a surrogate just because my body, even at my relatively young age of 28, has in some ways betrayed me and my wish for four children.

    Also, as a Deaconess Candidate in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, I see this area as a place where deaconess can really help to work with the women among us who face these difficulties in a way in which, perhaps, a pastor would not (due to the awkwardness of the discussion for some people). Let us pray that all those dealing with infertility find peace in Christ, rather than in “quick fixes.”

  • Helen F

    Elizabeth,
    You hit the nail on the head! Because our culture is so selfish, we have become so used to having our own way and are not (even some Christians!) the least bit concerned about God’s will is in such
    a situation. As you said, “…what is actually at work here is an inability to deal with, grieve, and accept one’s reproductive state. In other words, instead of dealing with the emotional and spiritual effects of barrenness or infertility of whatever kind, surrogacy offers another “quick fix.”
    This is what our culture promotes, isn’t it? This should NOT be the modus operandi of any Christian, however.

  • Helen F

    Elizabeth,
    You hit the nail on the head! Because our culture is so selfish, we have become so used to having our own way and are not (even some Christians!) the least bit concerned about God’s will is in such
    a situation. As you said, “…what is actually at work here is an inability to deal with, grieve, and accept one’s reproductive state. In other words, instead of dealing with the emotional and spiritual effects of barrenness or infertility of whatever kind, surrogacy offers another “quick fix.”
    This is what our culture promotes, isn’t it? This should NOT be the modus operandi of any Christian, however.

  • WebMonk

    Cin @ 10:

    WebMonk@7: “I don’t see any issues with the act itself.”
    I can: the commodification of wombs and babies.

    That would be the abuse of the technique. Just because something can be commodified doesn’t make it bad in and of itself.

  • WebMonk

    Cin @ 10:

    WebMonk@7: “I don’t see any issues with the act itself.”
    I can: the commodification of wombs and babies.

    That would be the abuse of the technique. Just because something can be commodified doesn’t make it bad in and of itself.

  • WebMonk

    Booklover: “What kind of husband would allow his wife’s body to be permanently changed for $100,000?”

    Are you kidding?!?! Lots of married women PAY thousands of dollars to permanently change their bodies. It’s called plastic surgery. Heck, piercing ones ears can be considered a permanent change. Liposuction. Gall bladder extraction. Tonselectomy. Tummy tuck. Etc. Etc. Etc.

    What you seem to be asking is why a husband would allow his wife to harms her body for money, since there are lots of permanent changes to a wife’s body which husbands regularly support and even pay handsomely to have happen.

    I would very strenuously disagree that a pregnancy harms a woman’s body. It certainly could do that, but most surrogates are women who have had previous pregnancies and show no signs of having problems with pregnancies – very little chance of any harm coming from the pregnancy.

  • WebMonk

    Booklover: “What kind of husband would allow his wife’s body to be permanently changed for $100,000?”

    Are you kidding?!?! Lots of married women PAY thousands of dollars to permanently change their bodies. It’s called plastic surgery. Heck, piercing ones ears can be considered a permanent change. Liposuction. Gall bladder extraction. Tonselectomy. Tummy tuck. Etc. Etc. Etc.

    What you seem to be asking is why a husband would allow his wife to harms her body for money, since there are lots of permanent changes to a wife’s body which husbands regularly support and even pay handsomely to have happen.

    I would very strenuously disagree that a pregnancy harms a woman’s body. It certainly could do that, but most surrogates are women who have had previous pregnancies and show no signs of having problems with pregnancies – very little chance of any harm coming from the pregnancy.

  • Cincinnatus

    WebMonk@34: “That would be the abuse of the technique. Just because something can be commodified doesn’t make it bad in and of itself.”

    How is paying a woman $100k to use her womb not a commodification of the womb/body? The question is not whether this process does commodify the human being (or some part of her), but whether commodification is ethically permissible. I argue that it is not.

  • Cincinnatus

    WebMonk@34: “That would be the abuse of the technique. Just because something can be commodified doesn’t make it bad in and of itself.”

    How is paying a woman $100k to use her womb not a commodification of the womb/body? The question is not whether this process does commodify the human being (or some part of her), but whether commodification is ethically permissible. I argue that it is not.

  • Mary Jack

    Cincinnatus,

    Receiving money for something certainly can change the ethical issues, but wouldn’t the technique be the same for snow flake adoptions? What if surrogate mothers agreed to volunteer their wombs for the sake of frozen embryos? Is that only serving the preborn if they are adopted by their specific surrogate?

  • Mary Jack

    Cincinnatus,

    Receiving money for something certainly can change the ethical issues, but wouldn’t the technique be the same for snow flake adoptions? What if surrogate mothers agreed to volunteer their wombs for the sake of frozen embryos? Is that only serving the preborn if they are adopted by their specific surrogate?

  • WebMonk

    Ah, ok I think I’m getting you now. I was taking “commodification” as a derogatory term meaning the immoral and exploitative use of something to make money.

    You’re using it in the sense of using something to make money.

    Commodification of that type is obviously ethically permissible as it includes things like “commodifying” land with crops, commodifying cattle (some vegetarians might call that fundamentally inethical), and commodifying tuna fish.

    I suspect what you meant is that you feel the commodification of one’s body is inethical.

    Have you thought that through? Everyone commodifies their body every single day they go to work. I am commodifying my body on site, giving its use over for another’s benefit in exchange for money.

    Apparently you think the commodification of one’s body through surrogacy is a particular type of commodification that is different from doing construction work (for example). Both are commodifications of the body, but you feel surrogacy is a fundamentally different type of commodification, and is inethical.

    What is it about surrogacy that makes that type of commodification inethical while construction work is entirely ethical.

    How about this? I know quite a few people who have signed up to be medical guinea pigs for drug testing, and they get paid for it. They don’t get paid very much for it, IMO, but they’re willing to do it. They’re commodifying their body. While I could be wrong, I guess you would be fine ethically with that.

    How is that different ethically? They’re letting drug companies pump their bodies full of different types of experimental drugs with the express intent to see if there are bad side effects. A surrogate is letting another person’s child grow in their body, something the surrogate has very probably done before (possibly several times) without any harm.

    Of the two, it would sound like the drug testing person would be in the more ethically dubious area, but no one has any ethical problems with it. What’s so very different about surrogacy?

  • WebMonk

    Ah, ok I think I’m getting you now. I was taking “commodification” as a derogatory term meaning the immoral and exploitative use of something to make money.

    You’re using it in the sense of using something to make money.

    Commodification of that type is obviously ethically permissible as it includes things like “commodifying” land with crops, commodifying cattle (some vegetarians might call that fundamentally inethical), and commodifying tuna fish.

    I suspect what you meant is that you feel the commodification of one’s body is inethical.

    Have you thought that through? Everyone commodifies their body every single day they go to work. I am commodifying my body on site, giving its use over for another’s benefit in exchange for money.

    Apparently you think the commodification of one’s body through surrogacy is a particular type of commodification that is different from doing construction work (for example). Both are commodifications of the body, but you feel surrogacy is a fundamentally different type of commodification, and is inethical.

    What is it about surrogacy that makes that type of commodification inethical while construction work is entirely ethical.

    How about this? I know quite a few people who have signed up to be medical guinea pigs for drug testing, and they get paid for it. They don’t get paid very much for it, IMO, but they’re willing to do it. They’re commodifying their body. While I could be wrong, I guess you would be fine ethically with that.

    How is that different ethically? They’re letting drug companies pump their bodies full of different types of experimental drugs with the express intent to see if there are bad side effects. A surrogate is letting another person’s child grow in their body, something the surrogate has very probably done before (possibly several times) without any harm.

    Of the two, it would sound like the drug testing person would be in the more ethically dubious area, but no one has any ethical problems with it. What’s so very different about surrogacy?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    What I wonder about is the emotional states of the folks involved. Some people can go for repro tech to have a baby with the attitude of let’s try it and see what happens. Others are emotionally desperate and when the tech fails, as it often does, they are devastated. I have known people in that situation. Anyway, there may also be those that are devastated because they can’t get pregnant anyway. It just seems like folks may not realize that it often takes numerous expensive attempts if it works at all. My friends who gave up after repro tech ended up getting pregnant a couple years later and each had two kids.

    Another emotional state aspect is whether folks who invest so much time, resources and emotional energy may also disproportionally have elevated expectations about how satisfying parenting is. I don’t know. I just wonder. Like anything, if you think it will be awesome, you may be disappointed. Whereas if you think it is going to be difficult, you may be pleasantly surprised.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    What I wonder about is the emotional states of the folks involved. Some people can go for repro tech to have a baby with the attitude of let’s try it and see what happens. Others are emotionally desperate and when the tech fails, as it often does, they are devastated. I have known people in that situation. Anyway, there may also be those that are devastated because they can’t get pregnant anyway. It just seems like folks may not realize that it often takes numerous expensive attempts if it works at all. My friends who gave up after repro tech ended up getting pregnant a couple years later and each had two kids.

    Another emotional state aspect is whether folks who invest so much time, resources and emotional energy may also disproportionally have elevated expectations about how satisfying parenting is. I don’t know. I just wonder. Like anything, if you think it will be awesome, you may be disappointed. Whereas if you think it is going to be difficult, you may be pleasantly surprised.

  • WebMonk

    “Like anything, if you think it will be awesome, you may be disappointed. Whereas if you think it is going to be difficult, you may be pleasantly surprised.”

    sg, you just outlined the advantage of being a pessimist!

  • WebMonk

    “Like anything, if you think it will be awesome, you may be disappointed. Whereas if you think it is going to be difficult, you may be pleasantly surprised.”

    sg, you just outlined the advantage of being a pessimist!

  • trotk

    WebMonk -

    I think that this is an area where analytical reductionism will utterly fail. Comparing this to working construction because both are a commodification of a person is a terrible comparison.

    Step back and look at the issue from a distance. A baby is being created using three people. There is something here that is fundamentally at odds with the natural biological, emotional, mental, and spiritual nature of man.

    To attempt to explain the ethics is always going to get complicated (too complicated!) in this situation. We should not turn reproduction into a career, because there is something more than the physical in reproduction. That’s it.

    It doesn’t matter whether the woman can bear children. It doesn’t matter if she has had 1000 miscarriages. This is against man’s nature, and the mental, emotional, and spiritual consequences are utterly unknown.

  • trotk

    WebMonk -

    I think that this is an area where analytical reductionism will utterly fail. Comparing this to working construction because both are a commodification of a person is a terrible comparison.

    Step back and look at the issue from a distance. A baby is being created using three people. There is something here that is fundamentally at odds with the natural biological, emotional, mental, and spiritual nature of man.

    To attempt to explain the ethics is always going to get complicated (too complicated!) in this situation. We should not turn reproduction into a career, because there is something more than the physical in reproduction. That’s it.

    It doesn’t matter whether the woman can bear children. It doesn’t matter if she has had 1000 miscarriages. This is against man’s nature, and the mental, emotional, and spiritual consequences are utterly unknown.

  • Grace

    Man’s way ON DEMAND!

    The idea is: if God doesn’t give us a child, we will go; either use our own sperm and eggs OR we can have another man’s sperm implanted into the wife OR we can have a woman carry whatever choices have been made, and then hand it over when the job is done.

    People make choices all the time, some choose to have children even though they aren’t married, while others abort their unwanted, unborn infants. None of this is Godly.

    God chooses who will and won’t have children. I have known women who, for whatever reason were unable to have a child – one of these women in particular was a wonderful role model for many who knew her. One of my friends since we were three loved her dearly.

    Demanding that one have a child, by any means isn’t submitting to the LORD and His Will. Carrying a child from someone, other than ones husband doesn’t line up with Scripture. It could be another woman’s egg and yet another mans sperm, …. when the child is born, the woman carrying the child hands it over, more often than not, for financial gain.

    The world is so upside down – more and more young people taking drugs, abortion, depression among a large precentage of American’s – then people wonder WHY the disconnect from reality, the loneliness without a purposeful life. Man becomes more immoral, with no conscience every day, demanding their own way – God is the only answer!

  • Grace

    Man’s way ON DEMAND!

    The idea is: if God doesn’t give us a child, we will go; either use our own sperm and eggs OR we can have another man’s sperm implanted into the wife OR we can have a woman carry whatever choices have been made, and then hand it over when the job is done.

    People make choices all the time, some choose to have children even though they aren’t married, while others abort their unwanted, unborn infants. None of this is Godly.

    God chooses who will and won’t have children. I have known women who, for whatever reason were unable to have a child – one of these women in particular was a wonderful role model for many who knew her. One of my friends since we were three loved her dearly.

    Demanding that one have a child, by any means isn’t submitting to the LORD and His Will. Carrying a child from someone, other than ones husband doesn’t line up with Scripture. It could be another woman’s egg and yet another mans sperm, …. when the child is born, the woman carrying the child hands it over, more often than not, for financial gain.

    The world is so upside down – more and more young people taking drugs, abortion, depression among a large precentage of American’s – then people wonder WHY the disconnect from reality, the loneliness without a purposeful life. Man becomes more immoral, with no conscience every day, demanding their own way – God is the only answer!

  • SKPeterson

    As another happily adopted sort, this points out the inadequacy of most of our adoption laws. The laws have been skewed toward the biological mothers (the rights of the fathers are interesting in and of themselves) and away from the adoptive parents to the detriment of the child involved, IMHO. Children are not automobiles – there shouldn’t be a “seller’s remorse” clause. If you decide to give up the child, you give it up*. My birth certificate has my parents names on it, not the birth mother. There is also a small legal matter – in Iowa in the late 60′s the adoption process involved my parents suing me in court as being completely incapable of taking care of myself, the nerve of some people!

    *I’m a firm believer in closed adoptions without any conditions of openness for the birth mother. I just think it is better and less confusing for the child involved. I also think that if adoption laws were clearer and better defined there might be more adoptions.

    One other thing that militates against adoption as a preferable means of growing a family – a gestational surrogate procedure, even with the considerable expense, is likely to be entirely or partially paid for by health insurance plans. Adoption costs are not covered and the tax credit is fairly meager in relation to adoption costs.

  • SKPeterson

    As another happily adopted sort, this points out the inadequacy of most of our adoption laws. The laws have been skewed toward the biological mothers (the rights of the fathers are interesting in and of themselves) and away from the adoptive parents to the detriment of the child involved, IMHO. Children are not automobiles – there shouldn’t be a “seller’s remorse” clause. If you decide to give up the child, you give it up*. My birth certificate has my parents names on it, not the birth mother. There is also a small legal matter – in Iowa in the late 60′s the adoption process involved my parents suing me in court as being completely incapable of taking care of myself, the nerve of some people!

    *I’m a firm believer in closed adoptions without any conditions of openness for the birth mother. I just think it is better and less confusing for the child involved. I also think that if adoption laws were clearer and better defined there might be more adoptions.

    One other thing that militates against adoption as a preferable means of growing a family – a gestational surrogate procedure, even with the considerable expense, is likely to be entirely or partially paid for by health insurance plans. Adoption costs are not covered and the tax credit is fairly meager in relation to adoption costs.

  • Grace

    44 – Pete M.

    ” It appears that it is God’s will for Kidman and Urban to have this child.”

    Because people are able to do something, does not mean that it is God’s Will. Surgeries are performed all the time, taking the genitals from a male, giving him hormones to grow breasts doesn’t make him a woman, nor is it God’s Will – removing breasts from a woman, taking male hormones, have the genitals of a male formed by a doctor does not make the woman a man. That is not God’s Will.

    Fornication/adultery is sinful and evil. Taking ones egg/sperm placing it in another woman’s body, in essence, equals to the same thing, without the sexual act. Taking sperm from a donor who is not your husband amounts to the same thing, without a sexual act. The point being, the woman is carrying a child who is not the biological child of her husband…. granted she did not have a sexual act with the male, but in essence, the results are the same, which is sinful.

  • Grace

    44 – Pete M.

    ” It appears that it is God’s will for Kidman and Urban to have this child.”

    Because people are able to do something, does not mean that it is God’s Will. Surgeries are performed all the time, taking the genitals from a male, giving him hormones to grow breasts doesn’t make him a woman, nor is it God’s Will – removing breasts from a woman, taking male hormones, have the genitals of a male formed by a doctor does not make the woman a man. That is not God’s Will.

    Fornication/adultery is sinful and evil. Taking ones egg/sperm placing it in another woman’s body, in essence, equals to the same thing, without the sexual act. Taking sperm from a donor who is not your husband amounts to the same thing, without a sexual act. The point being, the woman is carrying a child who is not the biological child of her husband…. granted she did not have a sexual act with the male, but in essence, the results are the same, which is sinful.

  • Elizabeth

    Father Abraham mated with Hagar at Sarah’s insistence because of a lack of faith in God’s Promise. Sure it happens in Scripture, but it is the practice of sinful human beings who do not trust in God’s promise to them. Leah and Rachel do it to compete with each other. Also not necessarily “right”, but God uses it, again, to bring about his ultimate and revealed Will: that Christ be born of a woman to save all mankind.

    In the end, finally, it’s not about looking into God’s will (which apart from Christ we cannot know), but about proclaiming the Gospel to those who are hurting and in need.

  • Elizabeth

    Father Abraham mated with Hagar at Sarah’s insistence because of a lack of faith in God’s Promise. Sure it happens in Scripture, but it is the practice of sinful human beings who do not trust in God’s promise to them. Leah and Rachel do it to compete with each other. Also not necessarily “right”, but God uses it, again, to bring about his ultimate and revealed Will: that Christ be born of a woman to save all mankind.

    In the end, finally, it’s not about looking into God’s will (which apart from Christ we cannot know), but about proclaiming the Gospel to those who are hurting and in need.

  • WebMonk

    trotke – I realize that a construction worker is vastly different than surrogacy, which is why, I hope you noticed, I only used it in the very broadest of comparisons, and only on the way toward the much more direct comparison with drug testing. Also note that it was in response to a claim that “commoditization” of oneself was fundamentally wrong.

    If you want to get into Natural Law extractions to extrapolate the immorality of an act, that’s one thing, but saying that an argument dealing with commoditization is wrong because of a distinctly separate realm thought is pretty sketchy, at best.

    I’ve never been a fan of Natural Law reasoning, so I am considerably less than impressed by the reasoning that because pregnancies typically happen with only two adults that it is fundamentally immoral to involve a third person.

    How much involvement causes the immorality to happen? Doctor or midwife helping? Surely not. Doctors doing surgery on the baby in utero? Not it. Blood donors? Nope. Organ donation? Not yet. Womb donation? Maybe. DNA donation? BING BING BING!

    For some reason people seem to draw the line at DNA for some reason. I don’t get that. Just like I don’t get why the womb donation for some reason crosses a line when all the other sorts of intervention didn’t cross a line even though they are wildly counter to what naturally happens.

    Yeah, I’m not a fan of Natural Law arguments of this type.

  • WebMonk

    trotke – I realize that a construction worker is vastly different than surrogacy, which is why, I hope you noticed, I only used it in the very broadest of comparisons, and only on the way toward the much more direct comparison with drug testing. Also note that it was in response to a claim that “commoditization” of oneself was fundamentally wrong.

    If you want to get into Natural Law extractions to extrapolate the immorality of an act, that’s one thing, but saying that an argument dealing with commoditization is wrong because of a distinctly separate realm thought is pretty sketchy, at best.

    I’ve never been a fan of Natural Law reasoning, so I am considerably less than impressed by the reasoning that because pregnancies typically happen with only two adults that it is fundamentally immoral to involve a third person.

    How much involvement causes the immorality to happen? Doctor or midwife helping? Surely not. Doctors doing surgery on the baby in utero? Not it. Blood donors? Nope. Organ donation? Not yet. Womb donation? Maybe. DNA donation? BING BING BING!

    For some reason people seem to draw the line at DNA for some reason. I don’t get that. Just like I don’t get why the womb donation for some reason crosses a line when all the other sorts of intervention didn’t cross a line even though they are wildly counter to what naturally happens.

    Yeah, I’m not a fan of Natural Law arguments of this type.

  • Elizabeth

    @Tom (14) and Pete M. (44) I completely forgot to say this in my previous post, but what Abraham did with Hagar and what Jacob did with Rachel, Leah, and their handmaidens was not surrogacy as we have it in this discussion, but more accurately polygamy. Pulling something out of Scripture without context is not helpful. In hinting at Father Abraham as setting a precedent for this, you completely misunderstand (or at least miscommunicate/overlook) the entire thrust of the narrative of the matriarchs and the patriarchs: they are about how God brings about his plan of salvation (despite the mistakes of human beings)…the SEED – JESUS. They are not prescriptive as to practices such as “surrogacy” or, more accurately, polygamy.

    And again, ultimately it is Jesus through his death and resurrection who holds the answers to all of our needs, desires, hurts, and pains. Philosophical and ethical discussions can only take you so far. Ultimately, it’s not about the “morality” or “ethical” rightness or wrongness of surrogacy, it is about the deep hurt and need that such a desperate practice reveals in those who use it and how we may help them in the healing process by proclaiming CHRIST CRUCIFIED FOR THEM. And I will continue to say so no matter what new little ethical/moral twists you all post. :-)

  • Elizabeth

    @Tom (14) and Pete M. (44) I completely forgot to say this in my previous post, but what Abraham did with Hagar and what Jacob did with Rachel, Leah, and their handmaidens was not surrogacy as we have it in this discussion, but more accurately polygamy. Pulling something out of Scripture without context is not helpful. In hinting at Father Abraham as setting a precedent for this, you completely misunderstand (or at least miscommunicate/overlook) the entire thrust of the narrative of the matriarchs and the patriarchs: they are about how God brings about his plan of salvation (despite the mistakes of human beings)…the SEED – JESUS. They are not prescriptive as to practices such as “surrogacy” or, more accurately, polygamy.

    And again, ultimately it is Jesus through his death and resurrection who holds the answers to all of our needs, desires, hurts, and pains. Philosophical and ethical discussions can only take you so far. Ultimately, it’s not about the “morality” or “ethical” rightness or wrongness of surrogacy, it is about the deep hurt and need that such a desperate practice reveals in those who use it and how we may help them in the healing process by proclaiming CHRIST CRUCIFIED FOR THEM. And I will continue to say so no matter what new little ethical/moral twists you all post. :-)

  • Grace

    46 Elizabeth

    “Leah and Rachel do it to compete with each other.”

    This is not correct Elizabeth, … read the account in Scripture, it had nothing to do with competing with one another.

    25 And it came to pass, that in the morning, behold, it was Leah: and he said to Laban, What is this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel? wherefore then hast thou beguiled me?

    26 And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn.

    27 Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years.

    28 And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also.
    Genesis 29

  • Grace

    46 Elizabeth

    “Leah and Rachel do it to compete with each other.”

    This is not correct Elizabeth, … read the account in Scripture, it had nothing to do with competing with one another.

    25 And it came to pass, that in the morning, behold, it was Leah: and he said to Laban, What is this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel? wherefore then hast thou beguiled me?

    26 And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn.

    27 Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years.

    28 And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also.
    Genesis 29

  • Grace

    48 Elizabeth

    Ultimately, it’s not about the “morality” or “ethical” rightness or wrongness of surrogacy, it is about the deep hurt and need that such a desperate practice reveals in those who use it”

    You could use that excuse for almost anything. So…. if you’re “desperate” and “hurt” the moral law isn’t such a big thing, and as you quip “little ethical/moral twists” -

  • Grace

    48 Elizabeth

    Ultimately, it’s not about the “morality” or “ethical” rightness or wrongness of surrogacy, it is about the deep hurt and need that such a desperate practice reveals in those who use it”

    You could use that excuse for almost anything. So…. if you’re “desperate” and “hurt” the moral law isn’t such a big thing, and as you quip “little ethical/moral twists” -

  • Elizabeth

    @ Grace: Keep reading. :-) Perhaps “compete” wasn’t the right word, but jealousy is:

    Genesis 30: 1 When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she envied her sister. She said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I shall die!” 2. Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel, and he said, “Am I in the place of God who has withheld from you the furit of the womb?” 3. Then she said, “Here is my servant, Bilhah; go in to her, so that she may give birth to children on my behalf, that even I may have children through her…”

    That happens then:

    30: 9When Leah saw that she had ceased bearing children, she took her servant Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife.

    This goes back and forth, even to the point of Leah and Rachel bartering for who gets to lie with Jacob by exchanging mandrakes for sex. Seriously.

    Anyway, my point is that the matriarchs and patriarchs don’t actually give us a carte blance for polygamy or surrogacy. That is not what the text is ultimately about. Again, it is about how God, even using fallible human beings who make mistakes and do things for the wrong reasons, brings about the Seed promised to Abraham: Jesus. And it is in Jesus that we find comfort for inerfility.

  • Elizabeth

    @ Grace: Keep reading. :-) Perhaps “compete” wasn’t the right word, but jealousy is:

    Genesis 30: 1 When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she envied her sister. She said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I shall die!” 2. Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel, and he said, “Am I in the place of God who has withheld from you the furit of the womb?” 3. Then she said, “Here is my servant, Bilhah; go in to her, so that she may give birth to children on my behalf, that even I may have children through her…”

    That happens then:

    30: 9When Leah saw that she had ceased bearing children, she took her servant Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife.

    This goes back and forth, even to the point of Leah and Rachel bartering for who gets to lie with Jacob by exchanging mandrakes for sex. Seriously.

    Anyway, my point is that the matriarchs and patriarchs don’t actually give us a carte blance for polygamy or surrogacy. That is not what the text is ultimately about. Again, it is about how God, even using fallible human beings who make mistakes and do things for the wrong reasons, brings about the Seed promised to Abraham: Jesus. And it is in Jesus that we find comfort for inerfility.

  • Elizabeth

    @ Grace 48: You are misunderstanding me. Perhaps I did not say it well, but I am saying that arguments about morality do not save or comfort, rather that Christ does. I am not saying that the Law is irrelevant or that we shouldn’t follow it. But again, the Law does not save. These people are experiencing the Law through their losses. While we must teach what is Biblically right and call each other on sin, the proclamation of the Gospel is the only thing which ultimately changes hearts. And by “moral/ethical twists” I meant the twists in all the other arguments going on here that they are using to support their philosophical takes on the issue. I am saying that this is ultimately a spiritual issue which can ultimately only be healed by Christ.

  • Elizabeth

    @ Grace 48: You are misunderstanding me. Perhaps I did not say it well, but I am saying that arguments about morality do not save or comfort, rather that Christ does. I am not saying that the Law is irrelevant or that we shouldn’t follow it. But again, the Law does not save. These people are experiencing the Law through their losses. While we must teach what is Biblically right and call each other on sin, the proclamation of the Gospel is the only thing which ultimately changes hearts. And by “moral/ethical twists” I meant the twists in all the other arguments going on here that they are using to support their philosophical takes on the issue. I am saying that this is ultimately a spiritual issue which can ultimately only be healed by Christ.

  • Grace

    Elisabeth – 51

    Leah and Rachel did not compete – the elder married first, and the explanation was given in the passage I posted. Both women wanted children, most women do.

    Now you swith your argument, but it’s a moot point – sperm and eggs were not taken and placed within another woman’s womb regarding Leah, Rachel or Abraham’s wife.

    What was brought out in the first post concerned Nicole and her husband. You can mix and play with the Bible, but it doesn’t correspond to Nicole Kidman.

  • Grace

    Elisabeth – 51

    Leah and Rachel did not compete – the elder married first, and the explanation was given in the passage I posted. Both women wanted children, most women do.

    Now you swith your argument, but it’s a moot point – sperm and eggs were not taken and placed within another woman’s womb regarding Leah, Rachel or Abraham’s wife.

    What was brought out in the first post concerned Nicole and her husband. You can mix and play with the Bible, but it doesn’t correspond to Nicole Kidman.

  • Grace

    Elisabeth – 52

    “But again, the Law does not save.”

    No one said it did!!

  • Grace

    Elisabeth – 52

    “But again, the Law does not save.”

    No one said it did!!

  • Stephen

    Is it just me, or does “gestational carrier” sound like Sci-fi? I’m picturing some alien bursting out of a corpse.

    “Once the genome is perfected to a simulacrum of the original prototype, it is then implanted into the harvested snowflakes. These snowflakes are then placed into the gestational carriers for a period not to exceed the requisite time for embryonic development. Upon full development, the carrier is not longer required and when the new bioform is harvested for its owner, the carrier is discarded.”

    File this one under “I shall because I can” which is about all the moral reasoning needed by any autonomous individual on most things these days.

    What seems missing is any consideration where this may lead for the women involved. Like abortion, which studies are beginning to show leads to more suicide, depression, drug and alcohol abuse, health problems with bearing other children, breast cancer, etc. Some have alluded to it here that there seems not a whiff of concern when this sort of thing comes along regarding the long-term concerns as to the emotional, let alone spiritual, lives of women “free” to become involved in this sort of thing (I’m talking about the “carriers” – they already sound like pariahs, don’t they?).

    Take the money and run. And suffer I’m guessing. But I suppose at this stage it is only a guess. Yet we do have a history of abortion and the selling of a woman’s body in other ways to know something of the pain it can potentially inflict on individuals and societies. And I’m not talking about supermodels. It seems to me we ought to question the morality of it on that level. And now there are children being traded in the mix. How’s that going to go over with them when they get a little older?

    So, if all things are lawful, what in this is useful? That’s the real question perhaps. I don’t like the sound of “gestational carrier” at all. It grates. But WebMonk pushes it in the right direction. I think time will tell. Maybe the women involved really are not bothered by it at all. I haven’t a clue. For all I just said about women, I’m really most concerned about kids and whether or not they will suffer from this strange arrangement. I guess we will see if this causes wreckage or not. But then, what have we ever tried that didn’t do that?

    I think we are watching a new genesis of where we come from take shape, and that is what is really freaking us out.

  • Stephen

    Is it just me, or does “gestational carrier” sound like Sci-fi? I’m picturing some alien bursting out of a corpse.

    “Once the genome is perfected to a simulacrum of the original prototype, it is then implanted into the harvested snowflakes. These snowflakes are then placed into the gestational carriers for a period not to exceed the requisite time for embryonic development. Upon full development, the carrier is not longer required and when the new bioform is harvested for its owner, the carrier is discarded.”

    File this one under “I shall because I can” which is about all the moral reasoning needed by any autonomous individual on most things these days.

    What seems missing is any consideration where this may lead for the women involved. Like abortion, which studies are beginning to show leads to more suicide, depression, drug and alcohol abuse, health problems with bearing other children, breast cancer, etc. Some have alluded to it here that there seems not a whiff of concern when this sort of thing comes along regarding the long-term concerns as to the emotional, let alone spiritual, lives of women “free” to become involved in this sort of thing (I’m talking about the “carriers” – they already sound like pariahs, don’t they?).

    Take the money and run. And suffer I’m guessing. But I suppose at this stage it is only a guess. Yet we do have a history of abortion and the selling of a woman’s body in other ways to know something of the pain it can potentially inflict on individuals and societies. And I’m not talking about supermodels. It seems to me we ought to question the morality of it on that level. And now there are children being traded in the mix. How’s that going to go over with them when they get a little older?

    So, if all things are lawful, what in this is useful? That’s the real question perhaps. I don’t like the sound of “gestational carrier” at all. It grates. But WebMonk pushes it in the right direction. I think time will tell. Maybe the women involved really are not bothered by it at all. I haven’t a clue. For all I just said about women, I’m really most concerned about kids and whether or not they will suffer from this strange arrangement. I guess we will see if this causes wreckage or not. But then, what have we ever tried that didn’t do that?

    I think we are watching a new genesis of where we come from take shape, and that is what is really freaking us out.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Oooh. Now there is an idea. Can a woman designate that should she become brain dead, she would prefer to remain on life support and be a gestational carrier?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Oooh. Now there is an idea. Can a woman designate that should she become brain dead, she would prefer to remain on life support and be a gestational carrier?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Oops, I just noticed I didn’t include the statement I was answering:

    “Is it just me, or does “gestational carrier” sound like Sci-fi? I’m picturing some alien bursting out of a corpse.”

    Oooh. Now there is an idea. Can a woman designate that should she become brain dead, she would prefer to remain on life support and be a gestational carrier?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Oops, I just noticed I didn’t include the statement I was answering:

    “Is it just me, or does “gestational carrier” sound like Sci-fi? I’m picturing some alien bursting out of a corpse.”

    Oooh. Now there is an idea. Can a woman designate that should she become brain dead, she would prefer to remain on life support and be a gestational carrier?

  • Grace

    Women have been since time, used to either entertaining the sexual lusts and ideas of men, OR to be used as their servants, even though they are their wives. Now we have women receiving money, albeit, using excuses to give their bodies to accommodate a sperm and an egg, to dwell therein until its birth – whereupon they deliver the child, hand it over and receive monies for doing so.

    This country allows abortion, receiving and giving sperm and eggs, in a variety of combinations to suit the purpose of those who could care less whether the end result is morally right. And YES, I know that most people do not follow, or believe in the LORD God, that’s apparent on a daily basis. But we as Believers are different and should know the difference by our relationship with the LORD Jesus Christ.

    All sorts of medical science can come down the road, but that doesn’t make it right, nor does it give us a license to either participate or sit like zombies, while and when it takes place.

    Because sin is lawful, doesn’t mean that we, as Believers can take part. We know better, and if we don’t see the difference, it’s time to search out the Scriptures.

  • Grace

    Women have been since time, used to either entertaining the sexual lusts and ideas of men, OR to be used as their servants, even though they are their wives. Now we have women receiving money, albeit, using excuses to give their bodies to accommodate a sperm and an egg, to dwell therein until its birth – whereupon they deliver the child, hand it over and receive monies for doing so.

    This country allows abortion, receiving and giving sperm and eggs, in a variety of combinations to suit the purpose of those who could care less whether the end result is morally right. And YES, I know that most people do not follow, or believe in the LORD God, that’s apparent on a daily basis. But we as Believers are different and should know the difference by our relationship with the LORD Jesus Christ.

    All sorts of medical science can come down the road, but that doesn’t make it right, nor does it give us a license to either participate or sit like zombies, while and when it takes place.

    Because sin is lawful, doesn’t mean that we, as Believers can take part. We know better, and if we don’t see the difference, it’s time to search out the Scriptures.

  • Booklover

    Elizabeth at #32 had a thoughtful, Christian response; it sounds like she will make an excellent deaconess.

  • Booklover

    Elizabeth at #32 had a thoughtful, Christian response; it sounds like she will make an excellent deaconess.

  • Grace

    Elizabeth -32

    “My husband and I had wanted four children. As difficult as it sometimes is, I know that even if I am cleared for pregnancy, one more child is about all my body can take. But ultimately, I pray to be content with the family the Lord gives us. If that means we are the three of us, then that is wonderful, too. I would never consider a surrogate just because my body, even at my relatively young age of 28, has in some ways betrayed me and my wish for four children. “

    Elizabeth, I missed this earlier post.

    God will see you through this time, He is good to us when we suffer sorrow, for those things that haven’t come to pass, or will never be. He knows our deepest desires and heartaches, even more than we do. Dependence on Him and His infinite power and love for us is enough.

    I wish there were some way to email through this site, if there were, I would certainly take advantage of it at this time.

    I will pray for you Elizabeth my friend.

    God bless you and your husband.

    Love, Grace

  • Grace

    Elizabeth -32

    “My husband and I had wanted four children. As difficult as it sometimes is, I know that even if I am cleared for pregnancy, one more child is about all my body can take. But ultimately, I pray to be content with the family the Lord gives us. If that means we are the three of us, then that is wonderful, too. I would never consider a surrogate just because my body, even at my relatively young age of 28, has in some ways betrayed me and my wish for four children. “

    Elizabeth, I missed this earlier post.

    God will see you through this time, He is good to us when we suffer sorrow, for those things that haven’t come to pass, or will never be. He knows our deepest desires and heartaches, even more than we do. Dependence on Him and His infinite power and love for us is enough.

    I wish there were some way to email through this site, if there were, I would certainly take advantage of it at this time.

    I will pray for you Elizabeth my friend.

    God bless you and your husband.

    Love, Grace

  • Elizabeth

    @Booklover 59 — Thank you. :-)

    @Grace 60– I was starting to think you may not have seen the earlier post. ;-) Thank you for your kind words. As to Leah and Rachel, I only wanted to point out that the situations of Leah, Rachel, Jacob, and Hagar, Abraham, Sarah, were NOT excuses/permission to use measures such as surrogacy. I think it is wrong, but I wanted to focus not on making arguments as to why, but on speaking to those who are hurting. Like I said somewhere along the line, yes we have to speak to what is right and wrong, but to change hearts, the Gospel must be paramount in all we say and do. Thank you for your words of Gospel to me in the last post. :-)

    In Christ,
    Elizabeth

  • Elizabeth

    @Booklover 59 — Thank you. :-)

    @Grace 60– I was starting to think you may not have seen the earlier post. ;-) Thank you for your kind words. As to Leah and Rachel, I only wanted to point out that the situations of Leah, Rachel, Jacob, and Hagar, Abraham, Sarah, were NOT excuses/permission to use measures such as surrogacy. I think it is wrong, but I wanted to focus not on making arguments as to why, but on speaking to those who are hurting. Like I said somewhere along the line, yes we have to speak to what is right and wrong, but to change hearts, the Gospel must be paramount in all we say and do. Thank you for your words of Gospel to me in the last post. :-)

    In Christ,
    Elizabeth

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    “gestational carrier”?

    Sounds like something Mr. Spock would say.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    “gestational carrier”?

    Sounds like something Mr. Spock would say.

  • sarabeth

    From the perspective of a woman (with a G0d given desire to have children) who has struggled with infertilty for five years: my heart is broken over these comments. Please, I ask you, do not tell me to adopt, to forgo any medical help for medical problems and to be content with what God has given me. Too many of you write like I have lost my keys or a favorite book. While it may not be the right attitude, I greatly understand Rachel telling God, “Give me children, or I shall die.” Because, on some days, right or wrong, I feel like that. I am not asking you to support every medical procedure available. There certainly are limits to what is right and just. But please do not underestimate my passion for having children or the loss I face daily.

    From someone who has lived in the world of infertility/ recurrent pregnancy loss/ adoption, here are some thoughts:

    Infertility is a medical problem. Generally requiring medical solutions even if not all medical solutions are right and just. Beyond some medical help, as Elizabeth @ 51 said, “it is in Jesus that we find comfort for inerfility.”

    Adoption is not a solution to infertility. I know it sounds great to match people who want to be parents with child who need parents. It’s not that simple. I wish it were, truly; because then my house would be full of children. From someone on this end, please hear me, it is not that simple even if you would love to adopt. Also, there are millions of US kids in foster care waiting to be adopted. It’s not appropriate for all but if we want to care as a church for orphans and widows, we need to start with this instead of telling those without children to adopt. Please visit adoptuskids.com and see for yourself that more than infertile couples are needed to solve this problem.

    Finally, I well understand that I should rejoice in all circumstances and be content. I believe it is right. Sometimes, though, it is appropriate to “sit” with a person and dwell with them in their time of suffering. Too many times I have heard that a barren woman should be content with what God has given her. Do you tell a cancer patient to be content with what God has given them? You may not tell them to havest and buy their neighbors organs to cure their cancer but you do not tell them accept it and be content either. Why must the response to infertility be to accept it and be content? It is not an appropriate response at all. Over time, that may be possible for infertile couples. But it is too often a automatic response to someone desiring children and it is not a solution or a comfort so just don’t say it.

    I would have really have liked to comment on the actual post, Mr. Veith. Unfortunately, when I read so many of these comments that dismiss infertility as a loss and push adoption as a solution, I forgot about the topic at hand. Still a great topic and question, wish I had more time to actually discuss the question!

  • sarabeth

    From the perspective of a woman (with a G0d given desire to have children) who has struggled with infertilty for five years: my heart is broken over these comments. Please, I ask you, do not tell me to adopt, to forgo any medical help for medical problems and to be content with what God has given me. Too many of you write like I have lost my keys or a favorite book. While it may not be the right attitude, I greatly understand Rachel telling God, “Give me children, or I shall die.” Because, on some days, right or wrong, I feel like that. I am not asking you to support every medical procedure available. There certainly are limits to what is right and just. But please do not underestimate my passion for having children or the loss I face daily.

    From someone who has lived in the world of infertility/ recurrent pregnancy loss/ adoption, here are some thoughts:

    Infertility is a medical problem. Generally requiring medical solutions even if not all medical solutions are right and just. Beyond some medical help, as Elizabeth @ 51 said, “it is in Jesus that we find comfort for inerfility.”

    Adoption is not a solution to infertility. I know it sounds great to match people who want to be parents with child who need parents. It’s not that simple. I wish it were, truly; because then my house would be full of children. From someone on this end, please hear me, it is not that simple even if you would love to adopt. Also, there are millions of US kids in foster care waiting to be adopted. It’s not appropriate for all but if we want to care as a church for orphans and widows, we need to start with this instead of telling those without children to adopt. Please visit adoptuskids.com and see for yourself that more than infertile couples are needed to solve this problem.

    Finally, I well understand that I should rejoice in all circumstances and be content. I believe it is right. Sometimes, though, it is appropriate to “sit” with a person and dwell with them in their time of suffering. Too many times I have heard that a barren woman should be content with what God has given her. Do you tell a cancer patient to be content with what God has given them? You may not tell them to havest and buy their neighbors organs to cure their cancer but you do not tell them accept it and be content either. Why must the response to infertility be to accept it and be content? It is not an appropriate response at all. Over time, that may be possible for infertile couples. But it is too often a automatic response to someone desiring children and it is not a solution or a comfort so just don’t say it.

    I would have really have liked to comment on the actual post, Mr. Veith. Unfortunately, when I read so many of these comments that dismiss infertility as a loss and push adoption as a solution, I forgot about the topic at hand. Still a great topic and question, wish I had more time to actually discuss the question!

  • Elizabeth

    Sarabeth @63

    Psalm 113 speaks beautifully to this. I am so sorry that you are struggling with this very difficult reality. I think you are right: there needs to be time to grieve and to learn to accept whatever may come (and even to fight it for a time). I think that with any couple newly dealing with any diagnosis which tells them having their own children may be difficult or impossible, it takes time to heal, to get past the shock, to think through other options, and to finally consider adoption (though not necessarily choose it). It seems that a lot of grieving and healing would have to take place before adoption could be considered, otherwise, it just becomes another “quick fix.” (Adoption itself is a wonderful, beautiful gift, but not a “quick fix.”) And I agree, many women have a God-given and God-pleasing desire for children. I feel for Rachel and Leah in their barrenness, and so does the LORD (The LORD “hears” them both at different points and gives them children of their own — not through their handmaidens). Their desires drove them to use their handmaidens, I pray that we as a church can help grieving couples heal and choose wisely and that Jesus can and will fulfill those desires, perhaps in ways of which they have not yet thought.

  • Elizabeth

    Sarabeth @63

    Psalm 113 speaks beautifully to this. I am so sorry that you are struggling with this very difficult reality. I think you are right: there needs to be time to grieve and to learn to accept whatever may come (and even to fight it for a time). I think that with any couple newly dealing with any diagnosis which tells them having their own children may be difficult or impossible, it takes time to heal, to get past the shock, to think through other options, and to finally consider adoption (though not necessarily choose it). It seems that a lot of grieving and healing would have to take place before adoption could be considered, otherwise, it just becomes another “quick fix.” (Adoption itself is a wonderful, beautiful gift, but not a “quick fix.”) And I agree, many women have a God-given and God-pleasing desire for children. I feel for Rachel and Leah in their barrenness, and so does the LORD (The LORD “hears” them both at different points and gives them children of their own — not through their handmaidens). Their desires drove them to use their handmaidens, I pray that we as a church can help grieving couples heal and choose wisely and that Jesus can and will fulfill those desires, perhaps in ways of which they have not yet thought.

  • Grace

    63 sarabeth

    It’s difficult to want something, pray for it, and still not receive it. I can see how much you would love to have a child, there are many just as yourself who wait and pray.

    I write this with all due respect: I would caution you not to compare infertility with cancer – cancer is a disease, not becoming pregnant is not. Not having children will NOT end your life, however cancer can end ones life, comparing the two is very unkind to those who face death with such a terrible disease, leaving husband/wife, children and family and too those of us who miss our loved ones.

    I have lost many female and male friends to cancer, it’s a terrible disease, with daily physical pain and suffering, many stays in the hospital – treatment for cancer and its side-effects are most heartbreaking for the cancer patient and their family and friends to witness, and to endure. One of my best friends daughter died of lymphoma, and 8 years later my friend died of the same disease, my child’s godmother died of pancreatic cancer, one of my other very good friends died of breast cancer….. the list goes on, – these being very young. Talking to these loved ones, comforting them in their time of sorrow, knowing they most likely have little time left, is most difficult.

    You may not like to hear it, but adoption is an option. God doesn’t always give us what we choose, but what He wants us to have, even though we don’t understand it.

    The question Dr. Veith asked, regarding surrogacy – the comments that followed are those each of us believe regarding the situation. It is only fair that we can answer them, giving our opinions, based on moral and ethical values, and Scripture. I don’t believe there is one person on this discussion that feels, as you state: – “Too many of you write like I have lost my keys or a favorite book.” – I for one most certainly don’t.

  • Grace

    63 sarabeth

    It’s difficult to want something, pray for it, and still not receive it. I can see how much you would love to have a child, there are many just as yourself who wait and pray.

    I write this with all due respect: I would caution you not to compare infertility with cancer – cancer is a disease, not becoming pregnant is not. Not having children will NOT end your life, however cancer can end ones life, comparing the two is very unkind to those who face death with such a terrible disease, leaving husband/wife, children and family and too those of us who miss our loved ones.

    I have lost many female and male friends to cancer, it’s a terrible disease, with daily physical pain and suffering, many stays in the hospital – treatment for cancer and its side-effects are most heartbreaking for the cancer patient and their family and friends to witness, and to endure. One of my best friends daughter died of lymphoma, and 8 years later my friend died of the same disease, my child’s godmother died of pancreatic cancer, one of my other very good friends died of breast cancer….. the list goes on, – these being very young. Talking to these loved ones, comforting them in their time of sorrow, knowing they most likely have little time left, is most difficult.

    You may not like to hear it, but adoption is an option. God doesn’t always give us what we choose, but what He wants us to have, even though we don’t understand it.

    The question Dr. Veith asked, regarding surrogacy – the comments that followed are those each of us believe regarding the situation. It is only fair that we can answer them, giving our opinions, based on moral and ethical values, and Scripture. I don’t believe there is one person on this discussion that feels, as you state: – “Too many of you write like I have lost my keys or a favorite book.” – I for one most certainly don’t.

  • Mary Jack

    Historically adoption hasn’t been accessible the way it is today, and even now adoption has to be pursued vigorously and at great cost. Even then, the adoption can fall through. While I certainly want more people to adopt–no question, and adopt out of the foster care system–I agree that adoption is not a solution to infertility.

    I think a number of people here are equating infertility with “wanting children.” That’s a false equation. There are also the medical components, anger at the body’s potential to betray, etc. And the command to procreate that causes our urges and longing for children–these go hand in hand and cannot be silenced just because there are also other people in need.

    Everyone has his or her crosses. It’s a shame we understand some less than others and so are less sensitive, less humane.

    Sarabeth, I’m sorry that we were insensitive to you and what you are going through.

  • Mary Jack

    Historically adoption hasn’t been accessible the way it is today, and even now adoption has to be pursued vigorously and at great cost. Even then, the adoption can fall through. While I certainly want more people to adopt–no question, and adopt out of the foster care system–I agree that adoption is not a solution to infertility.

    I think a number of people here are equating infertility with “wanting children.” That’s a false equation. There are also the medical components, anger at the body’s potential to betray, etc. And the command to procreate that causes our urges and longing for children–these go hand in hand and cannot be silenced just because there are also other people in need.

    Everyone has his or her crosses. It’s a shame we understand some less than others and so are less sensitive, less humane.

    Sarabeth, I’m sorry that we were insensitive to you and what you are going through.

  • Elizabeth

    Just as a quick note, the Commission on Theology and Church Relations of the Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod has produced several helpful reports on the topics of procreation and other related issues. If anyone is looking for some guidance in this area, you may want to try them. They are:

    Christans and Procreative Choices: How Do God’s Chosen Choose? (September 1996 –admittedly probably needs updating, but still helpful)

    and

    Marriage, Family, and Human Cloning (April 2002)

    They can be found here: http://www.lcms.org/pages/internal.asp?NavID=514

  • Elizabeth

    Just as a quick note, the Commission on Theology and Church Relations of the Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod has produced several helpful reports on the topics of procreation and other related issues. If anyone is looking for some guidance in this area, you may want to try them. They are:

    Christans and Procreative Choices: How Do God’s Chosen Choose? (September 1996 –admittedly probably needs updating, but still helpful)

    and

    Marriage, Family, and Human Cloning (April 2002)

    They can be found here: http://www.lcms.org/pages/internal.asp?NavID=514

  • Van

    As a woman who suffered with infertility for 10 years I feel fairly certain I know what most feel concerning this. I did invetro 5 times and now have two beautiful children. I can promise you that when it all boils down to the bottom….only God can give us life, no matter what man does to assist. While I was perfectly fine with accepting a life without children because I so deeply trusted my Father’s plan for me, my husband asked me to do the invetro. Honestly, I don’t know how I feel about it. I just knew that in the end only God could give me kids whether it was naturally, through adoption or whatever other medical assistance I used. God is in control whether we like it or not. He is merciful whether we see it or not. We are incapable making ANY decisions that please him outside of His holy will!!!!!!
    I don’t think this is a black or white issue at all!!! It is one that must be covered in much prayer.

  • Van

    As a woman who suffered with infertility for 10 years I feel fairly certain I know what most feel concerning this. I did invetro 5 times and now have two beautiful children. I can promise you that when it all boils down to the bottom….only God can give us life, no matter what man does to assist. While I was perfectly fine with accepting a life without children because I so deeply trusted my Father’s plan for me, my husband asked me to do the invetro. Honestly, I don’t know how I feel about it. I just knew that in the end only God could give me kids whether it was naturally, through adoption or whatever other medical assistance I used. God is in control whether we like it or not. He is merciful whether we see it or not. We are incapable making ANY decisions that please him outside of His holy will!!!!!!
    I don’t think this is a black or white issue at all!!! It is one that must be covered in much prayer.

  • Orianna Laun

    If possession is 9/10ths of the law, as the saying goes, what does that mean for a gestational carrier that changes her mind?
    Who is liable if something goes wrong with the pregnancy?
    To me, “gestational carrier” is another obfuscatory phrase to eliminate the humanity of the person. A mother is a person. A carrier is a container.

  • Orianna Laun

    If possession is 9/10ths of the law, as the saying goes, what does that mean for a gestational carrier that changes her mind?
    Who is liable if something goes wrong with the pregnancy?
    To me, “gestational carrier” is another obfuscatory phrase to eliminate the humanity of the person. A mother is a person. A carrier is a container.

  • sarabeth

    Grace – I apologize if it sounded like I was comparing the effects of infertility with the devastating effects of cancer. I meant only to compare the responses of others, not the pain infertility and cancer. I do not in any way think dealing with the minor health issues of infertility compare with life threatening cancer. I’m so sorry for those you have lost and for all their loved ones and you are absolutely right that they cannot be compared. I’m very sorry it sounded that way, I do not want to minimize the suffering and pain caused by cancer. I have much to be thankful for in life and I am thankful everyday that I only have minor health issues.

    As for adoption, I think it is a great option. I would love to adopt and have a house full of children. Right now I am navigating discussions about adoption with my husband, family and pastor. There is a lot to consider prayerfully as we learn more about adoption. I hope and pray that if this is what God desires for my family, it will be possible to grow our family in that way.

    Elizabeth – Thank you for your concern for women struggling with infertility. You will make a great deaconess. I agree with you that adoption is a wonderful, beautiful gift but not a quick fix. You are also right that the only true solution, no matter the circumstance, is the peace of Christ that surpasses all understanding. I’m also glad you brought up the reports of the LCMS. We reviewed them awhile back and with discussions with our pastor, found them to be of some help. I would recommend review of them for anyone struggling with the ethical issues of certain infertility treatments.

    I also agree with Mark Jack that equating infertility with wanting children is a false equation. There is a lot to process to be ready to adopt and sometimes it feels like the desire of wanting to bear children is dismissed when adoption is brought up. The hurt that this can cause is not intended but I wanted to just say that it can and does cause hurt to many struggling with these issues.

    I’m usually a lurker here and I know readers are generally very intelligent, thoughtful and considerate. If I did not believe that, I would not have spent my time commenting. I have heard too many assumptions (outside this blog) about those struggling with infertility and so I wanted to give a voice to those of us who are usually silent. Thank you for your understanding.

  • sarabeth

    Grace – I apologize if it sounded like I was comparing the effects of infertility with the devastating effects of cancer. I meant only to compare the responses of others, not the pain infertility and cancer. I do not in any way think dealing with the minor health issues of infertility compare with life threatening cancer. I’m so sorry for those you have lost and for all their loved ones and you are absolutely right that they cannot be compared. I’m very sorry it sounded that way, I do not want to minimize the suffering and pain caused by cancer. I have much to be thankful for in life and I am thankful everyday that I only have minor health issues.

    As for adoption, I think it is a great option. I would love to adopt and have a house full of children. Right now I am navigating discussions about adoption with my husband, family and pastor. There is a lot to consider prayerfully as we learn more about adoption. I hope and pray that if this is what God desires for my family, it will be possible to grow our family in that way.

    Elizabeth – Thank you for your concern for women struggling with infertility. You will make a great deaconess. I agree with you that adoption is a wonderful, beautiful gift but not a quick fix. You are also right that the only true solution, no matter the circumstance, is the peace of Christ that surpasses all understanding. I’m also glad you brought up the reports of the LCMS. We reviewed them awhile back and with discussions with our pastor, found them to be of some help. I would recommend review of them for anyone struggling with the ethical issues of certain infertility treatments.

    I also agree with Mark Jack that equating infertility with wanting children is a false equation. There is a lot to process to be ready to adopt and sometimes it feels like the desire of wanting to bear children is dismissed when adoption is brought up. The hurt that this can cause is not intended but I wanted to just say that it can and does cause hurt to many struggling with these issues.

    I’m usually a lurker here and I know readers are generally very intelligent, thoughtful and considerate. If I did not believe that, I would not have spent my time commenting. I have heard too many assumptions (outside this blog) about those struggling with infertility and so I wanted to give a voice to those of us who are usually silent. Thank you for your understanding.

  • Grace

    70 sarabeth

    Thank you for your kind remarks :) – you have done nothing wrong, I understand that this is a highly charged emotional situation you and your husband face. But know this Sarabeth, the LORD knows your heart and desire, – be open to His leading, His giving you peace when you find no rest, but longing for that which you desire.

    I adopted – it’s something that MUST be brought before the LORD with much prayer, it is between you, your husband and the LORD. It’s a big step!

    Keep posting –

    God bless you my friend.

  • Grace

    70 sarabeth

    Thank you for your kind remarks :) – you have done nothing wrong, I understand that this is a highly charged emotional situation you and your husband face. But know this Sarabeth, the LORD knows your heart and desire, – be open to His leading, His giving you peace when you find no rest, but longing for that which you desire.

    I adopted – it’s something that MUST be brought before the LORD with much prayer, it is between you, your husband and the LORD. It’s a big step!

    Keep posting –

    God bless you my friend.

  • kerner

    A couple of things have struck me reading all these comments. A lot of the arguments against surrogate motherhood have been along the lines of “it’s unnatural and wrong to rent a woman’s body for any purpose; women bond with with the babies they carry in preganacy, so how can such a woman ever give up the children they have carried and born?”

    Maybe there is some difference in degree, but don’t women emotionally bond with the children they nurse? And aren’t a woman’s breasts part of her body? And yet, before the invention of baby formula, was it not a common practice throughout the world, including Christendom, for rich women to hire poor women to nurse their children? Sometimes this may have been done due to the rich woman’s inability to nurse, but my understanding is that it was mostly done because the rich woman could afford it and the poor one needed the money.

    Yet, I don’t recall any moral outrage, nor appeals to natural law, at the prospect of rich woman “commodifying” a poor woman’s breasts. And if it is no big deal to “rent” a woman’s breasts as though they were commodities, why is paying her for the use of her womb any worse?

    Also, I think I agree (at least so far) with those who say that the desire for Rachel, Leah, and Sarah to have children “through” their servant women is essentially the same as Nicole Kidman’s desire to hire a surrogate. They obviously didn’t have today’s technology in Biblical times, but I dare say that if there had been a way to plant one of her own fertilized eggs in in Hagar, Sarah would have chosen that option in a heartbeat over having Abraham actually have sex with the help. Ditto for Rachel and Leah.

    This may be hyper technical, but strictly speaking what was going on with Hagar, Bilhah and Zilpah was not polygamy. It was concubinage. These women were not considered wives. Theirs was a practical and financial arrangement.

    I undestand the arguments that the fact that Abraham and Jacob did these things is not necessarily an endorcement of the practice, and I think I agree that the failure of these OT fathers to trust God to give the children He wanted them to have was wrong. But I would be more readily convinced if the Biblical texts were more overtly condemning them.

    Finally, I understand the pain of those of you who have infertility problems, having had one myself. My problem was surgically corrected (my wife enthusiasticly allowed someone to permanantly change my body) and now I have 5 grown children and 4 (so far) grandchildren. They are the great joy of my life (insofar as anything in this world can give us joy). But if it wasn’t “unnatural” to fix me, I am very hard pressed to condemn Sarabeth and Van and women like them (even Nicole Kidman), if medical science works out a way to do so.

    Elizabeth, maybe I am just being a man, but I am interested in why you think surrogacy is wrong, if you don’t mind articulating it. Though I commend you for comforting those who are hurting.

  • kerner

    A couple of things have struck me reading all these comments. A lot of the arguments against surrogate motherhood have been along the lines of “it’s unnatural and wrong to rent a woman’s body for any purpose; women bond with with the babies they carry in preganacy, so how can such a woman ever give up the children they have carried and born?”

    Maybe there is some difference in degree, but don’t women emotionally bond with the children they nurse? And aren’t a woman’s breasts part of her body? And yet, before the invention of baby formula, was it not a common practice throughout the world, including Christendom, for rich women to hire poor women to nurse their children? Sometimes this may have been done due to the rich woman’s inability to nurse, but my understanding is that it was mostly done because the rich woman could afford it and the poor one needed the money.

    Yet, I don’t recall any moral outrage, nor appeals to natural law, at the prospect of rich woman “commodifying” a poor woman’s breasts. And if it is no big deal to “rent” a woman’s breasts as though they were commodities, why is paying her for the use of her womb any worse?

    Also, I think I agree (at least so far) with those who say that the desire for Rachel, Leah, and Sarah to have children “through” their servant women is essentially the same as Nicole Kidman’s desire to hire a surrogate. They obviously didn’t have today’s technology in Biblical times, but I dare say that if there had been a way to plant one of her own fertilized eggs in in Hagar, Sarah would have chosen that option in a heartbeat over having Abraham actually have sex with the help. Ditto for Rachel and Leah.

    This may be hyper technical, but strictly speaking what was going on with Hagar, Bilhah and Zilpah was not polygamy. It was concubinage. These women were not considered wives. Theirs was a practical and financial arrangement.

    I undestand the arguments that the fact that Abraham and Jacob did these things is not necessarily an endorcement of the practice, and I think I agree that the failure of these OT fathers to trust God to give the children He wanted them to have was wrong. But I would be more readily convinced if the Biblical texts were more overtly condemning them.

    Finally, I understand the pain of those of you who have infertility problems, having had one myself. My problem was surgically corrected (my wife enthusiasticly allowed someone to permanantly change my body) and now I have 5 grown children and 4 (so far) grandchildren. They are the great joy of my life (insofar as anything in this world can give us joy). But if it wasn’t “unnatural” to fix me, I am very hard pressed to condemn Sarabeth and Van and women like them (even Nicole Kidman), if medical science works out a way to do so.

    Elizabeth, maybe I am just being a man, but I am interested in why you think surrogacy is wrong, if you don’t mind articulating it. Though I commend you for comforting those who are hurting.

  • Cincinnatus

    The example of Hagar and Sarah is spurious. The case can be made that, implicitly at least, the action was sinful, potentially for a variety of reasons: employing someone else’s sacred body as a means (as Kant would use the word), evincing a lack of trust in the provision and will of God, engaging in adultery, etc. You might as well argue that incest isn’t necessarily problematic because Lot slept with his daughters.

    The sort of ne0-Kantian ethics I’ve been citing have their weaknesses, but I’m still not convinced that surrogacy is an acceptable use of technology like, for example, fertility treatments.

  • Cincinnatus

    The example of Hagar and Sarah is spurious. The case can be made that, implicitly at least, the action was sinful, potentially for a variety of reasons: employing someone else’s sacred body as a means (as Kant would use the word), evincing a lack of trust in the provision and will of God, engaging in adultery, etc. You might as well argue that incest isn’t necessarily problematic because Lot slept with his daughters.

    The sort of ne0-Kantian ethics I’ve been citing have their weaknesses, but I’m still not convinced that surrogacy is an acceptable use of technology like, for example, fertility treatments.

  • Cincinnatus

    kerner@72: I penned (or rather, typed) a reply to you, but it was captured by the filter for some reason. I must have inadvertently embedded the name for a popular pharmaceutical in my post somewhere. Maybe it will be released…

  • Cincinnatus

    kerner@72: I penned (or rather, typed) a reply to you, but it was captured by the filter for some reason. I must have inadvertently embedded the name for a popular pharmaceutical in my post somewhere. Maybe it will be released…

  • Elizabeth

    kerner@72: I think that when you go outside of the marriage in such a way as to have someone else carry your child, it raises many difficulties (even through implantation) and renders the one flesh union suspect (in other words, you’re on shakey ground)…you are seeking outside of your marriage in another person something which you cannot accomplish/have within it. There are many other medical advances that I think can and are often used in thoughtful and ethical ways by Christians. However, surrogacy seems like it reveals something deeper precisely because it is such a desparate measure. It would seem to me that the Lord’s answer is “no” if other forms of fertility which are ethical and God-pleasing cannot accomplish a pregnancy in the womb of the woman, as difficult as that is. I think what it reveals, as does every single sin at core, is a distrust of the Lord God, a breaking of the first commandment.

    What it also reveals, to me, is that we as a church body and also as a society in general, have not done a great job of addressing the hurt, pain, and confusion caused by infertility. We all cry out in pain concerning inferitility precisely because we know, in our hearts, that it is not how God intended things to be before the Fall into sin. We struggle with this knowledge that it is not right, not as it should be, but then turn to at best “iffy” practices like surrogacy to fill a “hole” or “void” that only the Lord Jesus Christ can ultimately fill in us. And the Church is not always vocal or helpful in this. Sometimes I think those of us who have not experienced infertility don’t know what to say, so we either say nothing at all, loudly condemn, dismiss the hurt, or just agree to whatever seems like the “quickest fix.” I guess I see the desperate turn towards surrogacy as a symptom of a deeper problem. Which is partly why I wanted to speak more about how to help the hurting and proclaim the Gospel to them than about the why’s.

  • Elizabeth

    kerner@72: I think that when you go outside of the marriage in such a way as to have someone else carry your child, it raises many difficulties (even through implantation) and renders the one flesh union suspect (in other words, you’re on shakey ground)…you are seeking outside of your marriage in another person something which you cannot accomplish/have within it. There are many other medical advances that I think can and are often used in thoughtful and ethical ways by Christians. However, surrogacy seems like it reveals something deeper precisely because it is such a desparate measure. It would seem to me that the Lord’s answer is “no” if other forms of fertility which are ethical and God-pleasing cannot accomplish a pregnancy in the womb of the woman, as difficult as that is. I think what it reveals, as does every single sin at core, is a distrust of the Lord God, a breaking of the first commandment.

    What it also reveals, to me, is that we as a church body and also as a society in general, have not done a great job of addressing the hurt, pain, and confusion caused by infertility. We all cry out in pain concerning inferitility precisely because we know, in our hearts, that it is not how God intended things to be before the Fall into sin. We struggle with this knowledge that it is not right, not as it should be, but then turn to at best “iffy” practices like surrogacy to fill a “hole” or “void” that only the Lord Jesus Christ can ultimately fill in us. And the Church is not always vocal or helpful in this. Sometimes I think those of us who have not experienced infertility don’t know what to say, so we either say nothing at all, loudly condemn, dismiss the hurt, or just agree to whatever seems like the “quickest fix.” I guess I see the desperate turn towards surrogacy as a symptom of a deeper problem. Which is partly why I wanted to speak more about how to help the hurting and proclaim the Gospel to them than about the why’s.

  • kerner

    While I’m waiting for Cincinnatus reply to show up, I’m going to agree that comparing infertility to cancer is a bad analogy. Maybe a better analogy would be comparing infertility to glaucoma or macular degeneration.

    Or maybe comparing infertility to the paralysis of the arms or legs is a better analogy. If my hands didn’t work, I don’t think anyone would complain if I hired someone to do my typing.

    I would like more explanation of the moral distinction between renting someone else’s hands and renting someone else’s womb, if anyone cares to give it.

  • kerner

    While I’m waiting for Cincinnatus reply to show up, I’m going to agree that comparing infertility to cancer is a bad analogy. Maybe a better analogy would be comparing infertility to glaucoma or macular degeneration.

    Or maybe comparing infertility to the paralysis of the arms or legs is a better analogy. If my hands didn’t work, I don’t think anyone would complain if I hired someone to do my typing.

    I would like more explanation of the moral distinction between renting someone else’s hands and renting someone else’s womb, if anyone cares to give it.

  • kerner

    Elizabeth:

    Thank you for your thoughtful response (which you posted while I was asking commenters to distinguish between infertility and other disabilities. If I understand you correctly, you are saying that the creation of children is only proper within the marriage relationship, so that inviting a third person to help with creating a child is in effect inviting a third person into your marriage. Hence it is different that hiring someone to do mundane things like typing.

    I’m not sure I completely agree with you, but it gives me food for thought. But still, you didn’t directly answer my question about wet-nursing. It seems to me that nursing is pretty personal and an integral part of the mother-child relationship (of course, I only have a second hand opinion about this). Should not inviting third persons into the mother-child relationship cause the same kinds of concerns as surrogate motherhood?

  • kerner

    Elizabeth:

    Thank you for your thoughtful response (which you posted while I was asking commenters to distinguish between infertility and other disabilities. If I understand you correctly, you are saying that the creation of children is only proper within the marriage relationship, so that inviting a third person to help with creating a child is in effect inviting a third person into your marriage. Hence it is different that hiring someone to do mundane things like typing.

    I’m not sure I completely agree with you, but it gives me food for thought. But still, you didn’t directly answer my question about wet-nursing. It seems to me that nursing is pretty personal and an integral part of the mother-child relationship (of course, I only have a second hand opinion about this). Should not inviting third persons into the mother-child relationship cause the same kinds of concerns as surrogate motherhood?

  • kerner

    I guess what I’m saying is that I consider a surrogate mother (who carries the implanted fertilized egg of a married couple) to be a whole lot more like a wet nurse that she is like a concubine.

    I however agree with you that, as much as we want something we regard as good, the ends do not justify immoral means.

  • kerner

    I guess what I’m saying is that I consider a surrogate mother (who carries the implanted fertilized egg of a married couple) to be a whole lot more like a wet nurse that she is like a concubine.

    I however agree with you that, as much as we want something we regard as good, the ends do not justify immoral means.

  • Grace

    Surrogacy morally/sinful wrong?

    Placing an egg, or an egg and sperm within the womb of a woman who is not married to either the male or the wife of the male is no less than committing fornication without the sexual rewards. It’s a cold fact that science has gone far beyond the Will of God.

    Is surrogacy in the Bible? No it isn’t, … this has become an age of Frankenstein, remember the old movies? we thought they were strange, but here we are 2011 and looking straight through the cloudy glass of medical transformations, even to the extent of creating new life within the womb using sperm and eggs, from here and there, choosing to have a boy, or maybe a girl -

    Taking the best genes, the brightest, best looking, and making it into a person, growing within a womb, waiting to arrive in A1 top condition. OR, maybe they want a child that is half theirs, using just the sperm, because the sperm which the husband contributes isn’t viable. Or maybe the wife’s egg won’t work, so take the husbands, find a female donor but then you have half again.

    People can cry; what about cornea transplants, liver, kidney, lung, heart, blood transfusions, …. but that isn’t the same and you know it. These organs don’t create a NEW PERSON, they keep others alive, or perhaps they give some sight, or in the case of cancer, the blood gives extra time, or platelets from blood which help those with leukemia, etc. That isn’t creating a NEW LIFE, its helping those who ill.

  • Grace

    Surrogacy morally/sinful wrong?

    Placing an egg, or an egg and sperm within the womb of a woman who is not married to either the male or the wife of the male is no less than committing fornication without the sexual rewards. It’s a cold fact that science has gone far beyond the Will of God.

    Is surrogacy in the Bible? No it isn’t, … this has become an age of Frankenstein, remember the old movies? we thought they were strange, but here we are 2011 and looking straight through the cloudy glass of medical transformations, even to the extent of creating new life within the womb using sperm and eggs, from here and there, choosing to have a boy, or maybe a girl -

    Taking the best genes, the brightest, best looking, and making it into a person, growing within a womb, waiting to arrive in A1 top condition. OR, maybe they want a child that is half theirs, using just the sperm, because the sperm which the husband contributes isn’t viable. Or maybe the wife’s egg won’t work, so take the husbands, find a female donor but then you have half again.

    People can cry; what about cornea transplants, liver, kidney, lung, heart, blood transfusions, …. but that isn’t the same and you know it. These organs don’t create a NEW PERSON, they keep others alive, or perhaps they give some sight, or in the case of cancer, the blood gives extra time, or platelets from blood which help those with leukemia, etc. That isn’t creating a NEW LIFE, its helping those who ill.

  • kerner

    I don’t know, Grace. I always thought that fornication was the illicit sexual rewards.

    I think there is the question about separating procreation from the sexual act, and Catholics take the position that this is wrong even if a married couple implant their own fertilized egg in the wife.

    But I really don’t see how you can have fornication without having sex.

  • kerner

    I don’t know, Grace. I always thought that fornication was the illicit sexual rewards.

    I think there is the question about separating procreation from the sexual act, and Catholics take the position that this is wrong even if a married couple implant their own fertilized egg in the wife.

    But I really don’t see how you can have fornication without having sex.

  • Grace

    77 kerner

    “I guess what I’m saying is that I consider a surrogate mother (who carries the implanted fertilized egg of a married couple) to be a whole lot more like a wet nurse that she is like a concubine.”

    A “wet nurse” is providing milk, she is not CREATING NEW LIFE in her womb – the two are very different.

    Kerner, I’m rather surprised at your response. You’re mixing milk, a womb and concubine to be basically the same, and it doesn’t come close.

    Creation of life is up to God – He alone is the creator. Man has become very proud, he wants his way and that means human embryo stem cell research.

  • Grace

    77 kerner

    “I guess what I’m saying is that I consider a surrogate mother (who carries the implanted fertilized egg of a married couple) to be a whole lot more like a wet nurse that she is like a concubine.”

    A “wet nurse” is providing milk, she is not CREATING NEW LIFE in her womb – the two are very different.

    Kerner, I’m rather surprised at your response. You’re mixing milk, a womb and concubine to be basically the same, and it doesn’t come close.

    Creation of life is up to God – He alone is the creator. Man has become very proud, he wants his way and that means human embryo stem cell research.

  • kerner

    Grace:

    I am not saying that milk, the womb and a concubine are the same at all.

    First of all, I think most Christians (certainly pro life Christians) agree that Life begins at conception. Accordingly, the human life is created when the egg is fertilized.

    Therefore, the surrogate does not “help create life”. Rather, she nurtures and keeps alive a life that was already “created” when the egg was fertilized apart from the surrogate.

    This is why I think a surrogate is like a wet-nurse (not the same, but similar). Both the surrogate and the wet-nurse nuture and feed and keep alive the child. The surrogate does so in the womb, the wet-nurse does so after the baby is able to live outside the womb. Neither of them “create” the life. That takes place in a petrie dish.

    The concubine actually does create the new life by having sex with the father. She also has a sexual relationship with the father, by difinition. The surrogate and the wet-nurse do neither of these.

    Therefore, the surrogate and the wet nurse are similar because both of them keep the baby alive when the mom is unable or unwilling to do so, and because neither of them create the life or have sex with dad.

    (The surrogates I’m talking about ae the ones who accept the implantation of a married couple’s fertilize egg, which is how Nicole Kidman got her baby. I am not talking about a husband fertilizing the egg of some woman not his wife.)

    But that brings us back to the question of whether it is right to create the new life in a petrie dish at all. I understand Catholics say “no”, but it has been a long time since I heard their arguments as to why. And I won’t have time to look them up for awhile.

  • kerner

    Grace:

    I am not saying that milk, the womb and a concubine are the same at all.

    First of all, I think most Christians (certainly pro life Christians) agree that Life begins at conception. Accordingly, the human life is created when the egg is fertilized.

    Therefore, the surrogate does not “help create life”. Rather, she nurtures and keeps alive a life that was already “created” when the egg was fertilized apart from the surrogate.

    This is why I think a surrogate is like a wet-nurse (not the same, but similar). Both the surrogate and the wet-nurse nuture and feed and keep alive the child. The surrogate does so in the womb, the wet-nurse does so after the baby is able to live outside the womb. Neither of them “create” the life. That takes place in a petrie dish.

    The concubine actually does create the new life by having sex with the father. She also has a sexual relationship with the father, by difinition. The surrogate and the wet-nurse do neither of these.

    Therefore, the surrogate and the wet nurse are similar because both of them keep the baby alive when the mom is unable or unwilling to do so, and because neither of them create the life or have sex with dad.

    (The surrogates I’m talking about ae the ones who accept the implantation of a married couple’s fertilize egg, which is how Nicole Kidman got her baby. I am not talking about a husband fertilizing the egg of some woman not his wife.)

    But that brings us back to the question of whether it is right to create the new life in a petrie dish at all. I understand Catholics say “no”, but it has been a long time since I heard their arguments as to why. And I won’t have time to look them up for awhile.

  • Stephen

    kerner – sorta for you . . .

    In the case of abortion, those who oppose it generally want to make the case that the woman who carries the child is responsible for it, at least until it is born, and that responsibility rest on a number of things. In the barest terms, she provides the nourishing environment for that child to survive until it can be brought outside her body. I suppose that someday a method could be developed where a fetus could be transplanted into another willing woman should the original “carrier” not wish to bring the child to term. Now what do we have going on?

    I think what we want to say, those of us with some kind of feeling for wombs, mothers and children all being of a piece, is that “what God has joined let no science tear asunder.” Why is that? I’m not completely sure why, but it feels like the way it’s supposed to be.

    One thing that is going on though is that we push our sense of God’s role in all this further into ever shrinking gaps. We leave him out of every detail and consideration that science cannot mend for our personal convenience and happiness, except when it can’t, in which case we fall at his feet and cry for mercy. Have we read the 1st commandment? I think Elizabeth was trying to get us to think this way. God is really meant to be our first option, not so far down the list after we have exhausted all accounts, financial, emotional, etc.

    So what now? What if we could transplant babies womb to womb to “save” them from abortion, what would we be saying about abortion then. Would we have changed any hearts or minds or just created another situation of denial? Would we have made progress toward refocusing people on what is really at stake – which I think is the human spirit, and the fact that we no longer see human beings as spiritual, not really, but as products of our whim or commodities to be traded, which was an earlier point I made. I think this under-girds the whole enterprise here. Do you see how small the gap is here for God?

    I don’t think it is about natural law. I think it is about the integrity of the human person. I’m pretty sure Christians fight the kind of battles they do because, for one thing, Jesus himself was a person. I think the question we need to ask is how is this science useful to bring love and mercy, the things God desires us all to have, to everyone involved in this process – the donor parents, the “carrier,” and especially the most vulnerable person who does not get a say in the matter – the child that will be born into this novel, if not extremely odd, situation. It sounds weird to say this, but is it merciful to do all we can to “manufacture” children just so we can have them, if that’s what this is?

    My conscience is troubled when I consider it all.

  • Stephen

    kerner – sorta for you . . .

    In the case of abortion, those who oppose it generally want to make the case that the woman who carries the child is responsible for it, at least until it is born, and that responsibility rest on a number of things. In the barest terms, she provides the nourishing environment for that child to survive until it can be brought outside her body. I suppose that someday a method could be developed where a fetus could be transplanted into another willing woman should the original “carrier” not wish to bring the child to term. Now what do we have going on?

    I think what we want to say, those of us with some kind of feeling for wombs, mothers and children all being of a piece, is that “what God has joined let no science tear asunder.” Why is that? I’m not completely sure why, but it feels like the way it’s supposed to be.

    One thing that is going on though is that we push our sense of God’s role in all this further into ever shrinking gaps. We leave him out of every detail and consideration that science cannot mend for our personal convenience and happiness, except when it can’t, in which case we fall at his feet and cry for mercy. Have we read the 1st commandment? I think Elizabeth was trying to get us to think this way. God is really meant to be our first option, not so far down the list after we have exhausted all accounts, financial, emotional, etc.

    So what now? What if we could transplant babies womb to womb to “save” them from abortion, what would we be saying about abortion then. Would we have changed any hearts or minds or just created another situation of denial? Would we have made progress toward refocusing people on what is really at stake – which I think is the human spirit, and the fact that we no longer see human beings as spiritual, not really, but as products of our whim or commodities to be traded, which was an earlier point I made. I think this under-girds the whole enterprise here. Do you see how small the gap is here for God?

    I don’t think it is about natural law. I think it is about the integrity of the human person. I’m pretty sure Christians fight the kind of battles they do because, for one thing, Jesus himself was a person. I think the question we need to ask is how is this science useful to bring love and mercy, the things God desires us all to have, to everyone involved in this process – the donor parents, the “carrier,” and especially the most vulnerable person who does not get a say in the matter – the child that will be born into this novel, if not extremely odd, situation. It sounds weird to say this, but is it merciful to do all we can to “manufacture” children just so we can have them, if that’s what this is?

    My conscience is troubled when I consider it all.

  • Grace

    Kerner – 81

    “Therefore, the surrogate does not “help create life”. Rather, she nurtures and keeps alive a life that was already “created” when the egg was fertilized apart from the surrogate.”

    Without the “surrogate” womb there would be no life to “help create” – the egg was fertilized, and then set in her womb, but without her womb…. there would be no life. You can’t sustain life going without a womb.

    “This is why I think a surrogate is like a wet-nurse (not the same, but similar). Both the surrogate and the wet-nurse nuture and feed and keep alive the child. The surrogate does so in the womb, the wet-nurse does so after the baby is able to live outside the womb. Neither of them “create” the life. That takes place in a petri dish.”

    Science can use a “petrie dish” but without a womb, the unborn die. It’s not a “wet nurse” connection, we aren’t talking about breast feeding, you can feed an infant formula. The lab produces the material to create the “petri dish” taking the sperm and egg and then ARTIFICIALLY injecting it into the womb of a woman, be it a surrogate, or a woman who’s using a donor sperm, is that ethical or moral ? No, unless it is her egg, her husbands sperm, in her womb it’s not morally right – it’s nothing short of FORNICATION. The result is the same, with or without a sexual act, it’s done either to produce gratification, or to gratify, producing a child, both being immoral, and sinful.

    Kerner, for the rest of your post,…. I won’t comment, it’s ridiculous as to your arguments. I honestly thought we disagreed on doctrine to some extent, but I certainly had no idea you could contrive a concoction such as this for surrogacy -

  • Grace

    Kerner – 81

    “Therefore, the surrogate does not “help create life”. Rather, she nurtures and keeps alive a life that was already “created” when the egg was fertilized apart from the surrogate.”

    Without the “surrogate” womb there would be no life to “help create” – the egg was fertilized, and then set in her womb, but without her womb…. there would be no life. You can’t sustain life going without a womb.

    “This is why I think a surrogate is like a wet-nurse (not the same, but similar). Both the surrogate and the wet-nurse nuture and feed and keep alive the child. The surrogate does so in the womb, the wet-nurse does so after the baby is able to live outside the womb. Neither of them “create” the life. That takes place in a petri dish.”

    Science can use a “petrie dish” but without a womb, the unborn die. It’s not a “wet nurse” connection, we aren’t talking about breast feeding, you can feed an infant formula. The lab produces the material to create the “petri dish” taking the sperm and egg and then ARTIFICIALLY injecting it into the womb of a woman, be it a surrogate, or a woman who’s using a donor sperm, is that ethical or moral ? No, unless it is her egg, her husbands sperm, in her womb it’s not morally right – it’s nothing short of FORNICATION. The result is the same, with or without a sexual act, it’s done either to produce gratification, or to gratify, producing a child, both being immoral, and sinful.

    Kerner, for the rest of your post,…. I won’t comment, it’s ridiculous as to your arguments. I honestly thought we disagreed on doctrine to some extent, but I certainly had no idea you could contrive a concoction such as this for surrogacy -

  • Grace

    Stephen – 82

    “It sounds weird to say this, but is it merciful to do all we can to “manufacture” children just so we can have them, if that’s what this is?

    My conscience is troubled when I consider it all.”

    HEAR HEAR!

  • Grace

    Stephen – 82

    “It sounds weird to say this, but is it merciful to do all we can to “manufacture” children just so we can have them, if that’s what this is?

    My conscience is troubled when I consider it all.”

    HEAR HEAR!

  • kerner

    Stephen:

    Our ability to do a lot of things through technology today raises issues that trouble the conscience. I don’t believe that our old principles change with the times. But I do believe that formerly impossible situations come up because we are now able to do things that we formerly could not, and this requires us to apply our old, eternal really, principles to a new situation. It troubles my conscience too, because we face questions we never did before. But, that is why it is so important to apply our principles consistantly, and not just react emotionally.

    You suggest that at some future time we may be able to transfer a growing embryo form one womb to another, and thus save a child who might otherwise be aborted. I agree, we might. We might also be able to create an artificial environment in which to keep the child alive, but I dare say this would be very expensive.

    Today, however, the stage of development at which we can sustain the life of a premature child is much earlier than it used to be. So, are we saying that the new technology in incubators is “unnatural”, because premature babies (say those born earlier than 5 months after conception) cannot live “naturally” without the “unnatural” incubator keeping them alive.

    Grace says above that babies need the womb to sustain their lives. Well, they don’t as much as they used to.

    This brings me to a point we need to consider. Why do we say that technology is “unnatural”? The ability to develop technology is the major natural advantage humans have over other species. In our non technological state, infant mortality was very high. There was no such thing as baby formula a couple centuries ago. If mom could not nurse her child (or if she couldn’t get someone else to nurse the child for her) the baby died. A lot of women died in “natural” child birth too.

    Now we have learned that “natural” nursing is better than artificial baby formula in a number of ways. It is better for the baby in terms of nutritian and immunities, and it strengthens the emotional bond between mother and child. In a perfect world, all women would feed their children this way. But this is not a perfect world. Sometimes women cannot produce sufficient milk. Sometimes circumstances make natural nursing impractical. Sometimes women make choices that don’t allow for nursing.

    But, I am very hard pressed to condemn women who do a good thing (raising a child) in what may be in my opinion a less than perfect way. Who am I to judge that?

    I feel the same way about conceiving and “carrying” children in gestation. Producing children is not just something “we want”. There are plenty of Biblical passages that teach that a married couple producing children is an objectively good thing. The desire of a man and woman to marry, and expand their marriage relationship into a family by producing children is not simply a selfish desire, and we demean the family when we call it that.

    So using technology to do a God honoring thing that we would not otherwise be able to do is not in and of itself “unnatural”.

    Now there may be immoral means that accomplish an otherwise good end. But I am still waiting for a convincing argument to the effect that having another woman sustain the life of my child by carrying the child in her womb is essentially different than having another woman sustain the life of my child in an incubator, or by feeding the child from her breasts, or just by caring for the child generally as a nanny. The differences seem to me to be of degree, not in kind.

  • kerner

    Stephen:

    Our ability to do a lot of things through technology today raises issues that trouble the conscience. I don’t believe that our old principles change with the times. But I do believe that formerly impossible situations come up because we are now able to do things that we formerly could not, and this requires us to apply our old, eternal really, principles to a new situation. It troubles my conscience too, because we face questions we never did before. But, that is why it is so important to apply our principles consistantly, and not just react emotionally.

    You suggest that at some future time we may be able to transfer a growing embryo form one womb to another, and thus save a child who might otherwise be aborted. I agree, we might. We might also be able to create an artificial environment in which to keep the child alive, but I dare say this would be very expensive.

    Today, however, the stage of development at which we can sustain the life of a premature child is much earlier than it used to be. So, are we saying that the new technology in incubators is “unnatural”, because premature babies (say those born earlier than 5 months after conception) cannot live “naturally” without the “unnatural” incubator keeping them alive.

    Grace says above that babies need the womb to sustain their lives. Well, they don’t as much as they used to.

    This brings me to a point we need to consider. Why do we say that technology is “unnatural”? The ability to develop technology is the major natural advantage humans have over other species. In our non technological state, infant mortality was very high. There was no such thing as baby formula a couple centuries ago. If mom could not nurse her child (or if she couldn’t get someone else to nurse the child for her) the baby died. A lot of women died in “natural” child birth too.

    Now we have learned that “natural” nursing is better than artificial baby formula in a number of ways. It is better for the baby in terms of nutritian and immunities, and it strengthens the emotional bond between mother and child. In a perfect world, all women would feed their children this way. But this is not a perfect world. Sometimes women cannot produce sufficient milk. Sometimes circumstances make natural nursing impractical. Sometimes women make choices that don’t allow for nursing.

    But, I am very hard pressed to condemn women who do a good thing (raising a child) in what may be in my opinion a less than perfect way. Who am I to judge that?

    I feel the same way about conceiving and “carrying” children in gestation. Producing children is not just something “we want”. There are plenty of Biblical passages that teach that a married couple producing children is an objectively good thing. The desire of a man and woman to marry, and expand their marriage relationship into a family by producing children is not simply a selfish desire, and we demean the family when we call it that.

    So using technology to do a God honoring thing that we would not otherwise be able to do is not in and of itself “unnatural”.

    Now there may be immoral means that accomplish an otherwise good end. But I am still waiting for a convincing argument to the effect that having another woman sustain the life of my child by carrying the child in her womb is essentially different than having another woman sustain the life of my child in an incubator, or by feeding the child from her breasts, or just by caring for the child generally as a nanny. The differences seem to me to be of degree, not in kind.

  • Stephen

    Kerner-

    I get it. And I am waiting, I guess, for an argument to convince me that this is not indeed manufacturing children. In this particular case, it seems to lack all the things that make what we understand “two becoming one flesh” to be. Everything, it seems to me, is replaced by a technological or some other go between, not just the stand-in womb. It would be one thing if we were talking about handmaidens or nursemaids or even adoption, but we’re not. We’re talking about the whole process of childbirth start to finish as I understand it. The parental role is DNA contribution at the clinic (if that, because even that is not assured completely), and pick up the goods and pay the bill when the package arrives.

    You make a thorough argument, and I don’t begrudge anyone using the means you describe to care for a pre-me for instance, but I think this “carrier” thing and all that attends it pushes what you term “God honoring” to the periphery. And I don’t see that as some kind of argument from nature. It has to do with the integrity of human persons and what they are inherently – that is, creatures made in the image of God by God, not products of sheer human will, which is the premise of legalized abortion, the earlier point I was pushing.

    Anyway, carry on. You’ve got me thinking.

  • Stephen

    Kerner-

    I get it. And I am waiting, I guess, for an argument to convince me that this is not indeed manufacturing children. In this particular case, it seems to lack all the things that make what we understand “two becoming one flesh” to be. Everything, it seems to me, is replaced by a technological or some other go between, not just the stand-in womb. It would be one thing if we were talking about handmaidens or nursemaids or even adoption, but we’re not. We’re talking about the whole process of childbirth start to finish as I understand it. The parental role is DNA contribution at the clinic (if that, because even that is not assured completely), and pick up the goods and pay the bill when the package arrives.

    You make a thorough argument, and I don’t begrudge anyone using the means you describe to care for a pre-me for instance, but I think this “carrier” thing and all that attends it pushes what you term “God honoring” to the periphery. And I don’t see that as some kind of argument from nature. It has to do with the integrity of human persons and what they are inherently – that is, creatures made in the image of God by God, not products of sheer human will, which is the premise of legalized abortion, the earlier point I was pushing.

    Anyway, carry on. You’ve got me thinking.

  • kerner

    Stephen:

    And you have me thinking. This is not settled in my own mind, but I thought it worthwhile to make the argument to see where it takes us.

    I agree that the elevation of the human will is one premise of the argument for legalized abortion.

    But another premise the pro-aborts use is to say that the unborn baby is only part of the mother, not a distinct human life of his/her own. I think all pro lifers agree that a baby, once conceived, is a human life and should be sustained and protected from harm. If the best place to do that is in the womb of somone other than his mother, then maybe that’s where the new human being has to be.

    But that still leaves the question of whether we should be fertilizing human eggs by technological means in the first place. I am still struggling with that one.

  • kerner

    Stephen:

    And you have me thinking. This is not settled in my own mind, but I thought it worthwhile to make the argument to see where it takes us.

    I agree that the elevation of the human will is one premise of the argument for legalized abortion.

    But another premise the pro-aborts use is to say that the unborn baby is only part of the mother, not a distinct human life of his/her own. I think all pro lifers agree that a baby, once conceived, is a human life and should be sustained and protected from harm. If the best place to do that is in the womb of somone other than his mother, then maybe that’s where the new human being has to be.

    But that still leaves the question of whether we should be fertilizing human eggs by technological means in the first place. I am still struggling with that one.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Kerner (@85, 81), thanks so much for your thoughts. And your thoughtfulness. I agree with your take on this topic.

    I am very hard pressed to condemn women who do a good thing (raising a child) in what may be in my opinion a less than perfect way.

    Amen! Would that more Christians shared this attitude!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Kerner (@85, 81), thanks so much for your thoughts. And your thoughtfulness. I agree with your take on this topic.

    I am very hard pressed to condemn women who do a good thing (raising a child) in what may be in my opinion a less than perfect way.

    Amen! Would that more Christians shared this attitude!

  • Cincinnatus

    High praise, tODD. Are you planning to hire a “gestational carrier” or something?

    Meanwhile, kerner, my commented snagged by the filter merely noted as spurious your analogy to Sarah and Hagar. Without reiterating everything I said there, your argument, in short, was like condoning inc3st because Lot is successfully seduced by his daughters.

    Equating the womb and the hands is also a spurious move. While I am no Marxist, I am deeply sympathetic to Marx’s discourses on the alienation of labor, how the selling of one’s labor to capital degrades the human person, etc. But even if one does not buy those arguments, the simple fact of the matter is that one’s hands are created precisely to serve others. That is their vocation, if you will. The womb is not so created. It is a sacred and mysterious vessel whose fruits can only be realized within the privacy and sanctity of marriage.

    And that, I think, is something we have lost in this discussion: it used to be that childbirth and rearing was considered a fundamental component of the sacrament, covenant, bond, [choose your preferred terminology] we call marriage. The conception of children was not only proper to marriage, but something that could only be pursued within the marriage relationship. Now that we have jettisoned that particular aspect of marriage, we are adrift: why not hire someone to carry our babies? Why not proposition Hagar, says Sarah? Aside from other problems mentioned here (the possibility of exploiting the poor, the implementation of the human womb as “capital,” as a means, etc.), there seems to be something intrinsically problematic about this whole thing, and I dare say that my gut reaction isn’t just a Luddite apprehension in the face of new technology.

    Finally, the equation of fertility treatments and surrogacy is also spurious. My personal jury is still out on what I think of fertility treatments (e.g., in-vitro), but the simple fact of the matter is that there is a qualitative distinction between, say, seeking technico-medical assistance to conceive children–after all, infertility is a medical problem much like any other, and there are ways of treating it that I think are no less acceptable than, say, seeking chemotherapy to treat cancer–and hiring someone else’s body to carry one’s child. Can we make that distinction? Is that fair?

  • Cincinnatus

    High praise, tODD. Are you planning to hire a “gestational carrier” or something?

    Meanwhile, kerner, my commented snagged by the filter merely noted as spurious your analogy to Sarah and Hagar. Without reiterating everything I said there, your argument, in short, was like condoning inc3st because Lot is successfully seduced by his daughters.

    Equating the womb and the hands is also a spurious move. While I am no Marxist, I am deeply sympathetic to Marx’s discourses on the alienation of labor, how the selling of one’s labor to capital degrades the human person, etc. But even if one does not buy those arguments, the simple fact of the matter is that one’s hands are created precisely to serve others. That is their vocation, if you will. The womb is not so created. It is a sacred and mysterious vessel whose fruits can only be realized within the privacy and sanctity of marriage.

    And that, I think, is something we have lost in this discussion: it used to be that childbirth and rearing was considered a fundamental component of the sacrament, covenant, bond, [choose your preferred terminology] we call marriage. The conception of children was not only proper to marriage, but something that could only be pursued within the marriage relationship. Now that we have jettisoned that particular aspect of marriage, we are adrift: why not hire someone to carry our babies? Why not proposition Hagar, says Sarah? Aside from other problems mentioned here (the possibility of exploiting the poor, the implementation of the human womb as “capital,” as a means, etc.), there seems to be something intrinsically problematic about this whole thing, and I dare say that my gut reaction isn’t just a Luddite apprehension in the face of new technology.

    Finally, the equation of fertility treatments and surrogacy is also spurious. My personal jury is still out on what I think of fertility treatments (e.g., in-vitro), but the simple fact of the matter is that there is a qualitative distinction between, say, seeking technico-medical assistance to conceive children–after all, infertility is a medical problem much like any other, and there are ways of treating it that I think are no less acceptable than, say, seeking chemotherapy to treat cancer–and hiring someone else’s body to carry one’s child. Can we make that distinction? Is that fair?

  • Stephen

    kerner (and to a lesser extent, my old pal Todd),

    I admit to never having really dug into this stuff until the last few years until becoming a parent. I thought of something to sweeten the pot and really scramble our brains. Try this:

    Womb farming. In fact, we could use women’s prisons. That is, if the economic model holds and it is just labor like wet nursing and such being performed, then what’s the harm really? It could pay for the women’s prison system perhaps. It really isn’t about human rights per se. We have prisoners do all sorts of labor, don’t we? If it works in the economy at large, why not in the prison system?

    Think of all the ways that makes you itch. Who has the right to woman’s body? That’s the pro-abortion stance, and it seems that it is being argued that the woman has the right to use her own body to commerce with it as she chooses more or less, even when it comes to her womb. Well then, why should she be beholding to other laws that restrict what goes on in there? And if it is something that is wide open for the labor market, why can’t it be exploited by the prison system in the way I described?

    Does that bend it around a different way? It does for me. I’m still trying to figure out if there is potential harm going on. while in our society adults are generally free to inflict harm upon themselves, I still wonder about the kids being “produced” out of all this. But then maybe that is not a necessary concern. It might be if we were to truly have something like farms where there were no parents involved, or where parenting became purely a matter of shopping or “harvesting” as it were. Can you tell I like those slippery slope, imaginary scenarios?

    It sort of sounded like you were headed in that direction, that the main thing was to get a kid born come hell or high water. If that is all that matters, then technology might as well take over. Having babies is messy and uncomfortable and scary, as I’m sure you know. And we haven’t even grazed the subject of the “reject” in the economic model, the one that does not pass inspection and has not future in the production sector. If everything reduces down to an economic model, I fear that this is where we end up (as I slip on the slope again). We will make decisions about the end product based on the same criteria, which always has to do with feasibility and gains opposed to losses. There is no sense of inherent worth to human persons. Instead, only quantitative distinctions hold sway.

  • Stephen

    kerner (and to a lesser extent, my old pal Todd),

    I admit to never having really dug into this stuff until the last few years until becoming a parent. I thought of something to sweeten the pot and really scramble our brains. Try this:

    Womb farming. In fact, we could use women’s prisons. That is, if the economic model holds and it is just labor like wet nursing and such being performed, then what’s the harm really? It could pay for the women’s prison system perhaps. It really isn’t about human rights per se. We have prisoners do all sorts of labor, don’t we? If it works in the economy at large, why not in the prison system?

    Think of all the ways that makes you itch. Who has the right to woman’s body? That’s the pro-abortion stance, and it seems that it is being argued that the woman has the right to use her own body to commerce with it as she chooses more or less, even when it comes to her womb. Well then, why should she be beholding to other laws that restrict what goes on in there? And if it is something that is wide open for the labor market, why can’t it be exploited by the prison system in the way I described?

    Does that bend it around a different way? It does for me. I’m still trying to figure out if there is potential harm going on. while in our society adults are generally free to inflict harm upon themselves, I still wonder about the kids being “produced” out of all this. But then maybe that is not a necessary concern. It might be if we were to truly have something like farms where there were no parents involved, or where parenting became purely a matter of shopping or “harvesting” as it were. Can you tell I like those slippery slope, imaginary scenarios?

    It sort of sounded like you were headed in that direction, that the main thing was to get a kid born come hell or high water. If that is all that matters, then technology might as well take over. Having babies is messy and uncomfortable and scary, as I’m sure you know. And we haven’t even grazed the subject of the “reject” in the economic model, the one that does not pass inspection and has not future in the production sector. If everything reduces down to an economic model, I fear that this is where we end up (as I slip on the slope again). We will make decisions about the end product based on the same criteria, which always has to do with feasibility and gains opposed to losses. There is no sense of inherent worth to human persons. Instead, only quantitative distinctions hold sway.

  • Stephen

    I should have said only “qualitative” distinctions, as in the quality of the product.

  • Stephen

    I should have said only “qualitative” distinctions, as in the quality of the product.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I wanted more children and there is a huge gap between my kids, but I could not deal with the idea of the treatments. So, I never sought any. It was just emotionally easier for me to just ignore it, although I did cry when I finally gave away my first child’s baby junk. Then after that I kicked myself for not doing it sooner because I got pregnant a month later. Popular folk wisdom is that getting rid of the crib is the most potent fertility treatment. :-)

    I am not recommending others adopt my attitude because I don’t think people can just magically choose to feel differently, but I have noticed that giving up does sometimes work. Sorry no data to back that up. :-)

    I really sympathize with those who want a child or more children. I just could not go through the emotional roller coaster of fertility treatments. I would make some salient ethical argument but the truth is that the treatment itself is the deterrent. These types of things are highly idiosyncratic. I don’t think most people know what they would do until they actually face the situation. Also, listening to my friends tell me what they went through and none got pregnant as a result really clued me in that no, it isn’t always worth it because more often than not you end up with nothing anyway.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I wanted more children and there is a huge gap between my kids, but I could not deal with the idea of the treatments. So, I never sought any. It was just emotionally easier for me to just ignore it, although I did cry when I finally gave away my first child’s baby junk. Then after that I kicked myself for not doing it sooner because I got pregnant a month later. Popular folk wisdom is that getting rid of the crib is the most potent fertility treatment. :-)

    I am not recommending others adopt my attitude because I don’t think people can just magically choose to feel differently, but I have noticed that giving up does sometimes work. Sorry no data to back that up. :-)

    I really sympathize with those who want a child or more children. I just could not go through the emotional roller coaster of fertility treatments. I would make some salient ethical argument but the truth is that the treatment itself is the deterrent. These types of things are highly idiosyncratic. I don’t think most people know what they would do until they actually face the situation. Also, listening to my friends tell me what they went through and none got pregnant as a result really clued me in that no, it isn’t always worth it because more often than not you end up with nothing anyway.

  • Stephen

    sg -

    “These types of things are highly idiosyncratic. I don’t think most people know what they would do until they actually face the situation.”

    I really appreciate your sensitivity, and with all that I’ve said (I got in the very first comment on this thread and was accused of being “hard”) I think this is true. In everything that I’ve said I think it might seem like I was being flippant. That wasn’t my intention. You end your post with the question of worth. I notice that it seems that you are talking about something on an emotional level, along with the other women here, while the men seem to discuss it largely on the ethics of the economics, setting emotions aside. The fact that we are disturbed in both realms ought to tell us something, and that the “cost” is not adding up either economically or emotionally.

    And so like everything else I want to bring it back to law and gospel. What is the whole of the law? Is this loving toward God, that is, putting our faith and trust in him, and loving toward our neighbor – does it do them harm? It seems we are beginning to answer those questions in the negative from what I hear. At the heart of this is a broken human creature, and it is there we can find God most certainly in Jesus Christ. That is exactly where the gospel comes to us. What does that mean for women who can’t have children? Maybe, as in your case, it does in fact mean surrendering to the way things are because we see in Jesus that God has not abandoned us. Maybe that is the most merciful thing to do. Without Him, our troubled hearts will drive for a way to fix not just this collapsed miracle, but absolutely everything else, and we will not stop until we have accomplished it, or until we die doing it, and inflict all kinds of misery upon ourselves and each other along the way.

  • Stephen

    sg -

    “These types of things are highly idiosyncratic. I don’t think most people know what they would do until they actually face the situation.”

    I really appreciate your sensitivity, and with all that I’ve said (I got in the very first comment on this thread and was accused of being “hard”) I think this is true. In everything that I’ve said I think it might seem like I was being flippant. That wasn’t my intention. You end your post with the question of worth. I notice that it seems that you are talking about something on an emotional level, along with the other women here, while the men seem to discuss it largely on the ethics of the economics, setting emotions aside. The fact that we are disturbed in both realms ought to tell us something, and that the “cost” is not adding up either economically or emotionally.

    And so like everything else I want to bring it back to law and gospel. What is the whole of the law? Is this loving toward God, that is, putting our faith and trust in him, and loving toward our neighbor – does it do them harm? It seems we are beginning to answer those questions in the negative from what I hear. At the heart of this is a broken human creature, and it is there we can find God most certainly in Jesus Christ. That is exactly where the gospel comes to us. What does that mean for women who can’t have children? Maybe, as in your case, it does in fact mean surrendering to the way things are because we see in Jesus that God has not abandoned us. Maybe that is the most merciful thing to do. Without Him, our troubled hearts will drive for a way to fix not just this collapsed miracle, but absolutely everything else, and we will not stop until we have accomplished it, or until we die doing it, and inflict all kinds of misery upon ourselves and each other along the way.

  • kerner

    sg:

    Well, I can tell you from my own experience with infertility treatment that the diagnostic process was humiliating and the surgery was painful (in the short term), and the outcome was uncertain. But I went through with it anyway, and God, in His mercy, saw fit to answer our prayers through it. Maybe He would have done so anyway, but we’ll never know that.

    Cincinnatus:

    First, I really have very little sympathy for the Marxian philosophy that finds something degrading in selling ones labor to capital. I seriously doubt that any electrician you know feels degraded because 99.99999999% of the circuits he has wired are in other people’s homes. The electricians I know live in very nice houses because capital has paid them well for their labor. The way to ensure that selling your labor to capital is not degrading is to get a good price for it.

    Next, maybe equating one’s hands with the womb is a strained analogy. But I think I am right when I regard gestation and nursing as different stages in the same process. God is the author of our biological nature, and our ideal natural situation is for a newly conceived child to spend the first 9 months after conception growing and being sustained in his/her mother’s womb, and for the child to spend the 9 months after birth being being nurtured and sustained at his/her mother’s breasts. This is probably the route Our Lord took after being conceived by the Holy Spirit, and at least one person in the Bible remarked on it, Luke 11:27.

    But I think it is a mistake to derive from this that any part of our flesh is sacred or mystical. Note Our Lord’s response in Luke 11:28.

    Next: “it used to be that childbirth and rearing was a fundamental component of…mariage.”

    Not historically. There are plenty of examples of people going outside of marriage to have children, from Abraham and Sarah to some of the kings of England. Although I agree that those people were wrong to do so.

    But as for child rearing, wealthy parents throughout history have hired that out. As I said before, wealthy women have routinely hired poor women to nurse their babies. But they also farmed out the day to day rearing as well. Take for example the British practice of hiring nannies to care for the needs of preschoolers and then shipping the kids off to boarding school at age 6.

    For many of my parents generation (the WWII “greatest generation”) nursing was considered vulgar. For them, the civilized, modern thing to do was for strangers in factories far away to manufacture artificial food and artificial nipples through which the artificial food could be injected into newborn children.

    In my opinion at least, the fact that women of my generation in some degree returned to natural nursing when possible is one of the few instances of baby boomers correcting their parents’ errors.

    And yet, I don’t get upset and judgmental when I see a bottle fed baby. First, because I have not assigned some sacred, mystical, status to what is, after all, a biological function. And second, because I am aware that for a lot of women, their breasts simply don’t produce enough milk, so how am I to condemn a mother for doing the right thing by alternative means?

    Which brings us to Nicole Kidman.

    Stephen and Cincinnatus:

    I understand the “slippery slope” arguments. I certainly see a danger of degrading human dignity by introduciing a commercial aspect into the gestational process.

    But as near as I can tell, Ms. Kidman and her husband have not done any of the things you are worried about (except, perhaps, of coming up with an impersonal term for the surrogate mother who carried the child). Faith is genetically the child of Ms. Kidman and her husband. She will have her parents’ eyes and hair and other genetic features. But there is a problem with Ms. Kidman’s womb such that she has difficulty carrying her children long enough to survive outside it. They have, therefore, sought and found a alternative means of bringing a new child into the world. And they appear to be as committed to their parental responsibilities as any other biological parents.

    I still see this decision as akin to women who hire the baby formula industry (or the wet nurse profession before it) to help them do a God honoring thing by artificial, and less perfect, means. But “less perfect” is not the same thing as “so wrong it should be forbidden”.

    While I believe that natural nursing increases the bond between mother and child and should therefore be encouraged, I have no information that indicates that bottle fed (or wet nursed) babies are so emotionally disconnected from their mothers that we should outlaw or morally condemn bottle feeding (or wet nursing).

    Likewise, while I believe (through 2nd hand observation only) that gestation increases the bond between mother and child and is far and away the preferred way to go, I have no information that indicates that having a child by surrogate will cause such serious problems that it will harm the mother-child relationship. Certainly mothers who adopt children that were carried in someone else’s womb usually manage to bond with their adoptive children. I also don’t see this causing stress to Ms. Kidman’s marriage in the same way that Abraham having sex with Hagar must have injected stress into his marriage.

    So I am not convinced that Ms. Kidman and her husband should be condemned for bringing Faith into the world the way they did.

    Now, they may turn out ot be bad parents for other reasons, but that is a different question.

  • kerner

    sg:

    Well, I can tell you from my own experience with infertility treatment that the diagnostic process was humiliating and the surgery was painful (in the short term), and the outcome was uncertain. But I went through with it anyway, and God, in His mercy, saw fit to answer our prayers through it. Maybe He would have done so anyway, but we’ll never know that.

    Cincinnatus:

    First, I really have very little sympathy for the Marxian philosophy that finds something degrading in selling ones labor to capital. I seriously doubt that any electrician you know feels degraded because 99.99999999% of the circuits he has wired are in other people’s homes. The electricians I know live in very nice houses because capital has paid them well for their labor. The way to ensure that selling your labor to capital is not degrading is to get a good price for it.

    Next, maybe equating one’s hands with the womb is a strained analogy. But I think I am right when I regard gestation and nursing as different stages in the same process. God is the author of our biological nature, and our ideal natural situation is for a newly conceived child to spend the first 9 months after conception growing and being sustained in his/her mother’s womb, and for the child to spend the 9 months after birth being being nurtured and sustained at his/her mother’s breasts. This is probably the route Our Lord took after being conceived by the Holy Spirit, and at least one person in the Bible remarked on it, Luke 11:27.

    But I think it is a mistake to derive from this that any part of our flesh is sacred or mystical. Note Our Lord’s response in Luke 11:28.

    Next: “it used to be that childbirth and rearing was a fundamental component of…mariage.”

    Not historically. There are plenty of examples of people going outside of marriage to have children, from Abraham and Sarah to some of the kings of England. Although I agree that those people were wrong to do so.

    But as for child rearing, wealthy parents throughout history have hired that out. As I said before, wealthy women have routinely hired poor women to nurse their babies. But they also farmed out the day to day rearing as well. Take for example the British practice of hiring nannies to care for the needs of preschoolers and then shipping the kids off to boarding school at age 6.

    For many of my parents generation (the WWII “greatest generation”) nursing was considered vulgar. For them, the civilized, modern thing to do was for strangers in factories far away to manufacture artificial food and artificial nipples through which the artificial food could be injected into newborn children.

    In my opinion at least, the fact that women of my generation in some degree returned to natural nursing when possible is one of the few instances of baby boomers correcting their parents’ errors.

    And yet, I don’t get upset and judgmental when I see a bottle fed baby. First, because I have not assigned some sacred, mystical, status to what is, after all, a biological function. And second, because I am aware that for a lot of women, their breasts simply don’t produce enough milk, so how am I to condemn a mother for doing the right thing by alternative means?

    Which brings us to Nicole Kidman.

    Stephen and Cincinnatus:

    I understand the “slippery slope” arguments. I certainly see a danger of degrading human dignity by introduciing a commercial aspect into the gestational process.

    But as near as I can tell, Ms. Kidman and her husband have not done any of the things you are worried about (except, perhaps, of coming up with an impersonal term for the surrogate mother who carried the child). Faith is genetically the child of Ms. Kidman and her husband. She will have her parents’ eyes and hair and other genetic features. But there is a problem with Ms. Kidman’s womb such that she has difficulty carrying her children long enough to survive outside it. They have, therefore, sought and found a alternative means of bringing a new child into the world. And they appear to be as committed to their parental responsibilities as any other biological parents.

    I still see this decision as akin to women who hire the baby formula industry (or the wet nurse profession before it) to help them do a God honoring thing by artificial, and less perfect, means. But “less perfect” is not the same thing as “so wrong it should be forbidden”.

    While I believe that natural nursing increases the bond between mother and child and should therefore be encouraged, I have no information that indicates that bottle fed (or wet nursed) babies are so emotionally disconnected from their mothers that we should outlaw or morally condemn bottle feeding (or wet nursing).

    Likewise, while I believe (through 2nd hand observation only) that gestation increases the bond between mother and child and is far and away the preferred way to go, I have no information that indicates that having a child by surrogate will cause such serious problems that it will harm the mother-child relationship. Certainly mothers who adopt children that were carried in someone else’s womb usually manage to bond with their adoptive children. I also don’t see this causing stress to Ms. Kidman’s marriage in the same way that Abraham having sex with Hagar must have injected stress into his marriage.

    So I am not convinced that Ms. Kidman and her husband should be condemned for bringing Faith into the world the way they did.

    Now, they may turn out ot be bad parents for other reasons, but that is a different question.

  • Stephen

    Kerner -

    Way to stick to the facts at hand! Good show! After reading sg and knowing my own wife and how much she has wanted a child, I can’t actually say that if I were a rich man, given the option, I wouldn’t relent and go for the same thing.

    Now, how about those womb farms? Just kidding, but hey, just sayin’

  • Stephen

    Kerner -

    Way to stick to the facts at hand! Good show! After reading sg and knowing my own wife and how much she has wanted a child, I can’t actually say that if I were a rich man, given the option, I wouldn’t relent and go for the same thing.

    Now, how about those womb farms? Just kidding, but hey, just sayin’

  • Cincinnatus

    kerner@95: I’m just not convinced by any of your rebuttals. Instead of providing logical flaws in my arguments, you’re just providing exceptions to each of them. In the case of the womb/hand analogy, you really provide no argument at all, except that my terminology of “sacred” and “mystical” is perhaps obfuscatory or inappropriate–but I’m not sure why, and I’m not sure how such a concession would weaken my argument. Is there or is there not a distinction between the womb and the hands? Even if you’re averse to Marxian language (there is a difference between a tradesman like an electrician and a factory worker, by the way), surely you can see a substantive difference: our hands, as I said, are created precisely for doing things in the world, for making, creating, repairing, and helping others. We are, with our hands, homo faber. This is the vocation of our hands. But the womb is different: it is designed solely to nurture a fetus within the sacred bond of marriage. Aside from your semantic arguments, can you actually combat this contention? Which brings me to the next point:

    Your next “argument” posits that marriage has never historically been about childbirth (which is completely and patently false, by the way) because we have examples of English kings (Henry VIII and others in his line were, of course, paragons of virtue!) and biblical characters (notably Sarah and Hagar; note, however, that we can compellingly conclude that this was not a worthy example but was rather an instance of sin) violated the marriage bond. I’m just not terribly convinced here. Historically, sacramentally, etc., marriage has always been about (at least) two things: the expression and nourishment of marital/erotic love and the conception of children. No third persons allowed. I see no need to rehash the myriad ethical arguments that militate against the inclusion of a third “gestational carrier” here. I see no need also to reiterate that those arguments are separate from maintaining the sanctity of marriage. I also see no need to make yet more spurious connections (you really have a thing for those!) between “gestational carriers” and nannies or baby-sitters.

    Meanwhile, I’ll say something less convincing: how Kidman and her husband behave in this particular instance is largely irrelevant. Is the case “closed” on surrogacy is Kidman and her wealthy maternal friends “treat” their surrogates well? Would it thus be ethical, Q.E.D.? On the other hand, would the case be closed if she treated the surrogate badly, if exploitation was determined, if the baby was ill-treated, or if some other bad consequence revealed itself? I think not. The atomic bomb isn’t an ethically acceptable use of technology just because the United States has happened to use it for arguably good reasons. Similarly, the anarchical paradigm “governing” the usage of the internet isn’t in need of adjustment simply because many people have exploited the system for pornographic purposes. In short, consequentialist arguments are, for me, unconvincing and, I think, dangerous. The problems I cite here are intrinsic, and they do not change depending upon who uses surrogacy.

  • Cincinnatus

    kerner@95: I’m just not convinced by any of your rebuttals. Instead of providing logical flaws in my arguments, you’re just providing exceptions to each of them. In the case of the womb/hand analogy, you really provide no argument at all, except that my terminology of “sacred” and “mystical” is perhaps obfuscatory or inappropriate–but I’m not sure why, and I’m not sure how such a concession would weaken my argument. Is there or is there not a distinction between the womb and the hands? Even if you’re averse to Marxian language (there is a difference between a tradesman like an electrician and a factory worker, by the way), surely you can see a substantive difference: our hands, as I said, are created precisely for doing things in the world, for making, creating, repairing, and helping others. We are, with our hands, homo faber. This is the vocation of our hands. But the womb is different: it is designed solely to nurture a fetus within the sacred bond of marriage. Aside from your semantic arguments, can you actually combat this contention? Which brings me to the next point:

    Your next “argument” posits that marriage has never historically been about childbirth (which is completely and patently false, by the way) because we have examples of English kings (Henry VIII and others in his line were, of course, paragons of virtue!) and biblical characters (notably Sarah and Hagar; note, however, that we can compellingly conclude that this was not a worthy example but was rather an instance of sin) violated the marriage bond. I’m just not terribly convinced here. Historically, sacramentally, etc., marriage has always been about (at least) two things: the expression and nourishment of marital/erotic love and the conception of children. No third persons allowed. I see no need to rehash the myriad ethical arguments that militate against the inclusion of a third “gestational carrier” here. I see no need also to reiterate that those arguments are separate from maintaining the sanctity of marriage. I also see no need to make yet more spurious connections (you really have a thing for those!) between “gestational carriers” and nannies or baby-sitters.

    Meanwhile, I’ll say something less convincing: how Kidman and her husband behave in this particular instance is largely irrelevant. Is the case “closed” on surrogacy is Kidman and her wealthy maternal friends “treat” their surrogates well? Would it thus be ethical, Q.E.D.? On the other hand, would the case be closed if she treated the surrogate badly, if exploitation was determined, if the baby was ill-treated, or if some other bad consequence revealed itself? I think not. The atomic bomb isn’t an ethically acceptable use of technology just because the United States has happened to use it for arguably good reasons. Similarly, the anarchical paradigm “governing” the usage of the internet isn’t in need of adjustment simply because many people have exploited the system for pornographic purposes. In short, consequentialist arguments are, for me, unconvincing and, I think, dangerous. The problems I cite here are intrinsic, and they do not change depending upon who uses surrogacy.

  • Stephen

    I was also thinking it leaves in tact the idea that a woman has full command of her womb, even to go so far as selling the real estate (“womb estate” perhaps) for whatever purpose. This plays right into the hands of the pro-abortion argument. And while I am fuzzy on how we legislate against abortion, I think that what we are up against is a fundamental view of the human person. Something inherent is being lost, I think, beyond the intrinsic nature of marriage, though perhaps it is that too.

  • Stephen

    I was also thinking it leaves in tact the idea that a woman has full command of her womb, even to go so far as selling the real estate (“womb estate” perhaps) for whatever purpose. This plays right into the hands of the pro-abortion argument. And while I am fuzzy on how we legislate against abortion, I think that what we are up against is a fundamental view of the human person. Something inherent is being lost, I think, beyond the intrinsic nature of marriage, though perhaps it is that too.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I know I’ve played a fairly ancillary role in this conversation, but it occurs to me that you (Cincinnatus, Kerner, Stephen) are not all talking about the same thing.

    Best I can tell, Stephen and Cincinnatus are mainly voicing slippery-slope concerns, to the apparent end of condemning this practice in general. On the other hand, Kerner and I are (or at least I am) arguing for the possibility that this procedure could be used in a proper, moral, loving way.

    I think we are all in agreement that this procedure, as with all new technologies and methods, offers a lot of potential for abuse. And we all agree that such abuse would be wrong and should be condemned. Fine. Does any more need to be said about such abuse?

    For what it’s worth, Cincinnatus, where I am coming from is not hoping to get your blessing on my family’s forthcoming use of a “gestational carrier”. And while I’d like to think that my opinions are merely something I’ve arrived at, I will admit that my own family does lend itself to some of my positions.

    My son was born with a cleft palate. As such, he was not able to suck, and therefore could not breast-feed. It also happened that even pumping was difficult for my wife. As such, my son was mostly raised on formula. His cleft has since been fixed with plastic surgery.

    I’m not 100% sure of the history of dealing with cleft palates, but I’m fairly sure that, historically, most babies born without the ability to suck would not have lived very long. As such, I’m supremely thankful for the modern inventions of baby formula and bottles made for babies with a weak-to-nonexistant suck.

    Here’s the thing. My wife and I are the kind of people who really wanted to breastfeed our children. Like many of our peers, we reacted against the modernism inherent in formula and bottle-feeding, seeing such things not as advances, but as mistakes. And, in general, I still feel that way. That technology is ripe for abusing by unloving, uncaring parents who can’t be bothered to breastfeed their children, even though there are so many advantages to breastfeeding.

    But in our situation, that wasn’t an alternative. And so I’m thankful for these medical developments, even if they might be abused by people who do have a choice.

    I know you don’t see the parallels between bottle-feeding and “gestational carriers”, but I do, and this almost certainly informs my reaction in this discussion.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I know I’ve played a fairly ancillary role in this conversation, but it occurs to me that you (Cincinnatus, Kerner, Stephen) are not all talking about the same thing.

    Best I can tell, Stephen and Cincinnatus are mainly voicing slippery-slope concerns, to the apparent end of condemning this practice in general. On the other hand, Kerner and I are (or at least I am) arguing for the possibility that this procedure could be used in a proper, moral, loving way.

    I think we are all in agreement that this procedure, as with all new technologies and methods, offers a lot of potential for abuse. And we all agree that such abuse would be wrong and should be condemned. Fine. Does any more need to be said about such abuse?

    For what it’s worth, Cincinnatus, where I am coming from is not hoping to get your blessing on my family’s forthcoming use of a “gestational carrier”. And while I’d like to think that my opinions are merely something I’ve arrived at, I will admit that my own family does lend itself to some of my positions.

    My son was born with a cleft palate. As such, he was not able to suck, and therefore could not breast-feed. It also happened that even pumping was difficult for my wife. As such, my son was mostly raised on formula. His cleft has since been fixed with plastic surgery.

    I’m not 100% sure of the history of dealing with cleft palates, but I’m fairly sure that, historically, most babies born without the ability to suck would not have lived very long. As such, I’m supremely thankful for the modern inventions of baby formula and bottles made for babies with a weak-to-nonexistant suck.

    Here’s the thing. My wife and I are the kind of people who really wanted to breastfeed our children. Like many of our peers, we reacted against the modernism inherent in formula and bottle-feeding, seeing such things not as advances, but as mistakes. And, in general, I still feel that way. That technology is ripe for abusing by unloving, uncaring parents who can’t be bothered to breastfeed their children, even though there are so many advantages to breastfeeding.

    But in our situation, that wasn’t an alternative. And so I’m thankful for these medical developments, even if they might be abused by people who do have a choice.

    I know you don’t see the parallels between bottle-feeding and “gestational carriers”, but I do, and this almost certainly informs my reaction in this discussion.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    That was a general reply. A more specific reply to Cincinnatus’ comment (@97), now. But first, I have to admit I’m a little daunted in trying this. I know you’re a smart guy, Cincinnatus, with far more knowledge than I about philosophy and such. I’m almost certain that this comment will inspire you to discuss teleology, at which point my eyes will roll back in my head. Sorry. But here we go, anyhow …

    “Instead of providing logical flaws in my arguments, you’re just providing exceptions to each of them.” Yes, well, it would seem to me that the logical flaw in your argument is the slippery-slope nature of it. The exceptions that I can see happen to be the details of the actual case we’re ostensibly discussing, and themselves prove that your apparent argument — that this procedure is, of itself, wrong, period — is flawed. (If that is, in fact, your argument.)

    “The womb is different: it is designed solely to nurture a fetus within the sacred bond of marriage”. Here is where I fear the word “teleology” will make its entrance into the discussion. But on what basis are you concluding what the womb was “designed” for? Strictly speaking, wasn’t the womb “designed” to serve as a place for a fertilized egg to develop? Certainly we could add that it is God’s will that egg fertilization take place in the context of marriage. But to argue that the womb was not designed to nurture a fetus outside of the context of marriage seems to have an awful lot of historical counterarguments. I think you’re conflating several things when you do that.

    And though you dislike these analogies, again, there is the question of breast-feeding and wet nurses. What are the breasts designed to do? To produce and deliver milk when suction is applied to them (typically that of a baby’s mouth)? Or only to breast-feed one’s own children? If one argues (as you have, analogously) that breasts are only “designed” to feed one’s own children, then we must necessarily condemn wet nurses, as well as the more modern practice of moms donating breast milk to other moms.

    As to Stephen’s slippery-slope argument (@98) — that “this plays right into the hands of the pro-abortion argument” — I really think that the fundemental argument of such people is that the fertilized egg, fetus, etc. are not an individual human being. Thus argued, they go on to conclude that it is nothing more than a part of the mother’s body, and that she can therefore do with it as she pleases.

    But one need not agree with that position in arguing that there could be a use for “gestational carriers” that is not immoral, even if it is also not ideal. In the particular case that brought this topic up, I would be concerned that the in vitro fertilization that led to the surrogate’s pregnancy followed modern methodology that does not respect the individual lives being created. That would be a valid argument against this practice.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    That was a general reply. A more specific reply to Cincinnatus’ comment (@97), now. But first, I have to admit I’m a little daunted in trying this. I know you’re a smart guy, Cincinnatus, with far more knowledge than I about philosophy and such. I’m almost certain that this comment will inspire you to discuss teleology, at which point my eyes will roll back in my head. Sorry. But here we go, anyhow …

    “Instead of providing logical flaws in my arguments, you’re just providing exceptions to each of them.” Yes, well, it would seem to me that the logical flaw in your argument is the slippery-slope nature of it. The exceptions that I can see happen to be the details of the actual case we’re ostensibly discussing, and themselves prove that your apparent argument — that this procedure is, of itself, wrong, period — is flawed. (If that is, in fact, your argument.)

    “The womb is different: it is designed solely to nurture a fetus within the sacred bond of marriage”. Here is where I fear the word “teleology” will make its entrance into the discussion. But on what basis are you concluding what the womb was “designed” for? Strictly speaking, wasn’t the womb “designed” to serve as a place for a fertilized egg to develop? Certainly we could add that it is God’s will that egg fertilization take place in the context of marriage. But to argue that the womb was not designed to nurture a fetus outside of the context of marriage seems to have an awful lot of historical counterarguments. I think you’re conflating several things when you do that.

    And though you dislike these analogies, again, there is the question of breast-feeding and wet nurses. What are the breasts designed to do? To produce and deliver milk when suction is applied to them (typically that of a baby’s mouth)? Or only to breast-feed one’s own children? If one argues (as you have, analogously) that breasts are only “designed” to feed one’s own children, then we must necessarily condemn wet nurses, as well as the more modern practice of moms donating breast milk to other moms.

    As to Stephen’s slippery-slope argument (@98) — that “this plays right into the hands of the pro-abortion argument” — I really think that the fundemental argument of such people is that the fertilized egg, fetus, etc. are not an individual human being. Thus argued, they go on to conclude that it is nothing more than a part of the mother’s body, and that she can therefore do with it as she pleases.

    But one need not agree with that position in arguing that there could be a use for “gestational carriers” that is not immoral, even if it is also not ideal. In the particular case that brought this topic up, I would be concerned that the in vitro fertilization that led to the surrogate’s pregnancy followed modern methodology that does not respect the individual lives being created. That would be a valid argument against this practice.

  • Stephen

    Todd,

    I get that too, and I very much appreciate your willingness to offer your own experience. I am stewing on this still. I’m a daddy as you know. I am also someone with chronic health issues that would not be able to live the life I have without modern medicine.

    The way my mind works, I tend to play things out and see where they take me, so that’s how I get some of the conclusions for my opinions on things. I’m not sure, however, that I have a rock solid one on this, just that I think the stakes are high and that it is beginning to get dicey now.

    It seems to me that at some point, labor becomes trafficking. It also seems that at some point, the integrity of the human person is violated when separated from the sources of embodiment that we have been given by God as this seems to me to be. Take that for what it is worth. It may actually come back to bite me now that I’ve said it. I think it is different than what you describe about your son. Like you, I would chop off my arm and hand it over to a surgeon if he said it would save my child.

    Anyway, if what I just said just sounds abstract, Luddite, or whatever, I don’t have an answer for that. I won’t try to mine the scriptures to prove to you that this practice somehow violates God’s intended created order of things to make a natural law argument. That isn’t exactly my point, and I’m not sure that it does in any certain way. I may not even have a point, just a cautionary note. “I think we are getting into a weird area here” would be about it.

    In Hebrew the word for womb is akin to the word for breath and spirit – Ruach. As I understand it, it means an “opening” or space for the miraculous. There is a sense that what happens in the womb is like what happened in the garden – God breathes life into nothing and make us, his image. All I have is a feeling that this is being diminished. I may be wrong. But as you say, I’m just sayin’

  • Stephen

    Todd,

    I get that too, and I very much appreciate your willingness to offer your own experience. I am stewing on this still. I’m a daddy as you know. I am also someone with chronic health issues that would not be able to live the life I have without modern medicine.

    The way my mind works, I tend to play things out and see where they take me, so that’s how I get some of the conclusions for my opinions on things. I’m not sure, however, that I have a rock solid one on this, just that I think the stakes are high and that it is beginning to get dicey now.

    It seems to me that at some point, labor becomes trafficking. It also seems that at some point, the integrity of the human person is violated when separated from the sources of embodiment that we have been given by God as this seems to me to be. Take that for what it is worth. It may actually come back to bite me now that I’ve said it. I think it is different than what you describe about your son. Like you, I would chop off my arm and hand it over to a surgeon if he said it would save my child.

    Anyway, if what I just said just sounds abstract, Luddite, or whatever, I don’t have an answer for that. I won’t try to mine the scriptures to prove to you that this practice somehow violates God’s intended created order of things to make a natural law argument. That isn’t exactly my point, and I’m not sure that it does in any certain way. I may not even have a point, just a cautionary note. “I think we are getting into a weird area here” would be about it.

    In Hebrew the word for womb is akin to the word for breath and spirit – Ruach. As I understand it, it means an “opening” or space for the miraculous. There is a sense that what happens in the womb is like what happened in the garden – God breathes life into nothing and make us, his image. All I have is a feeling that this is being diminished. I may be wrong. But as you say, I’m just sayin’

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    How many of these fertility issues are related to waiting till women are older? Let’s assume at least a certain percentage. I think as parents we need to be honest with our children that having a family is as important as career goals and it is okay to have a family sooner than later. Having children sooner doesn’t ruin your life despite the popularity of that idea. We need to learn from experience and share the info with our kids.

    tODD, I hope your son is doing well. We are lucky to have all the wonderful technology to help babies that need it.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    How many of these fertility issues are related to waiting till women are older? Let’s assume at least a certain percentage. I think as parents we need to be honest with our children that having a family is as important as career goals and it is okay to have a family sooner than later. Having children sooner doesn’t ruin your life despite the popularity of that idea. We need to learn from experience and share the info with our kids.

    tODD, I hope your son is doing well. We are lucky to have all the wonderful technology to help babies that need it.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Stephen (@101), as much as I’ve submitted my own personal anecdotes for argument, I’m not really taking your arguments (or others’) personally, as such. At least, I’m not over here, crying. But I do have a dog in this fight, at least indirectly. And thank you, SG (@102) — my son appears to be doing great, at least as far as the cleft palate goes (went?). The surgery — which I still do not understand, nor am I sure I want to — was very successful, and, God willing, he’ll never know that he had a cleft palate except for the stories we tell him.

    Anyhow, Stephen said, “the stakes are high and that it is beginning to get dicey now”. Sure. As I said, this new development, as with almost all new developments, is ripe for abuse. Again, I don’t think anyone is arguing otherwise. I am merely trying to make a case for its not being solely capable of abuse.

    Do I think that the wealthy could easily take advantage of women for whom the pay-off for such surrogacy is too great? Sure. But if we’re discussing that, let’s also talk about the problem of plasma donation and how it offers an easy pay-off for the poor. Let’s discuss how that could become an avenue for “trafficking”, for “commoditization”, even as it’s also an obvious avenue for life-saving treatment.

    I would hope that it’s obvious that I’m also arguing for caution here, that any tinkering with the production of life should not be undertaken lightly. But nor do I think that those who are all-too-aware of the effects of sin on their bodies should be forced to endure the barbs of critics not similarly subjected because their plans do not match up to the critics’ Platonic ideals.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Stephen (@101), as much as I’ve submitted my own personal anecdotes for argument, I’m not really taking your arguments (or others’) personally, as such. At least, I’m not over here, crying. But I do have a dog in this fight, at least indirectly. And thank you, SG (@102) — my son appears to be doing great, at least as far as the cleft palate goes (went?). The surgery — which I still do not understand, nor am I sure I want to — was very successful, and, God willing, he’ll never know that he had a cleft palate except for the stories we tell him.

    Anyhow, Stephen said, “the stakes are high and that it is beginning to get dicey now”. Sure. As I said, this new development, as with almost all new developments, is ripe for abuse. Again, I don’t think anyone is arguing otherwise. I am merely trying to make a case for its not being solely capable of abuse.

    Do I think that the wealthy could easily take advantage of women for whom the pay-off for such surrogacy is too great? Sure. But if we’re discussing that, let’s also talk about the problem of plasma donation and how it offers an easy pay-off for the poor. Let’s discuss how that could become an avenue for “trafficking”, for “commoditization”, even as it’s also an obvious avenue for life-saving treatment.

    I would hope that it’s obvious that I’m also arguing for caution here, that any tinkering with the production of life should not be undertaken lightly. But nor do I think that those who are all-too-aware of the effects of sin on their bodies should be forced to endure the barbs of critics not similarly subjected because their plans do not match up to the critics’ Platonic ideals.

  • Grace

    Todd,

    I do not agree with surrogacy, but I do want to comment on your posts.

    The heartfelt story you tell about your son who has/had a cleft palate, reminds me of one of the nicest guys I went to school with. He along with another guy sat behind me, … I was made to sit in front of the teacher (don’t bother to guess, you’ll be right) My friend who I’ll call James… and I went all through school together. We have always stayed in touch, he married a great woman. The point of my post is, James had a cleft palate, we all went through school and high school together. He is one of the brightest men I know.

    James went to UCLA, he became an attorney – …. he is one of the best, representing some of the most famous people, … you would recognize there names immediately. He’s not just successful, but he’s a wonderful man.

    A few years ago we had a conversation after a brunch down on the beach, with all our old school friends. I was taken by his demeanor, his kindness, thoughtful remarks… perhaps he had walked along a path in his life that gave him purpose which some of us lack. To my knowledge James doesn’t know Christ as his Savior, nor does his wife, … this makes me very sad. I wish everyone would pray for him. He’s a special man, who stood out amongst all the rest all throughout school, and his career as a lawyer.

    Your son is very fortunate to have you as a father, don’t try and shield him from what he was burdened with, but remind him how he has been given so much more. It’s these things that make us what we are intended to be, through trials, even when we are too young to understand.

    Blessings

  • Grace

    Todd,

    I do not agree with surrogacy, but I do want to comment on your posts.

    The heartfelt story you tell about your son who has/had a cleft palate, reminds me of one of the nicest guys I went to school with. He along with another guy sat behind me, … I was made to sit in front of the teacher (don’t bother to guess, you’ll be right) My friend who I’ll call James… and I went all through school together. We have always stayed in touch, he married a great woman. The point of my post is, James had a cleft palate, we all went through school and high school together. He is one of the brightest men I know.

    James went to UCLA, he became an attorney – …. he is one of the best, representing some of the most famous people, … you would recognize there names immediately. He’s not just successful, but he’s a wonderful man.

    A few years ago we had a conversation after a brunch down on the beach, with all our old school friends. I was taken by his demeanor, his kindness, thoughtful remarks… perhaps he had walked along a path in his life that gave him purpose which some of us lack. To my knowledge James doesn’t know Christ as his Savior, nor does his wife, … this makes me very sad. I wish everyone would pray for him. He’s a special man, who stood out amongst all the rest all throughout school, and his career as a lawyer.

    Your son is very fortunate to have you as a father, don’t try and shield him from what he was burdened with, but remind him how he has been given so much more. It’s these things that make us what we are intended to be, through trials, even when we are too young to understand.

    Blessings

  • kerner

    Cincinnatus @97

    I was going to reply, but tODD has already said pretty much what I would have said; and maybe said it better.

  • kerner

    Cincinnatus @97

    I was going to reply, but tODD has already said pretty much what I would have said; and maybe said it better.

  • Grace

    Abortion is nothing short of murdering a child in the womb, most Bible Believing Christians are against abortion. But yet, bring up the idea of surrogacy, artificial insemination of any combination, which is making life in a ‘petri dish’ – and some Believers think that’s just ducky. It’s a LIFE and DEATH issue – it all depends on which LIFE and DEATH sheet of reasons you make your claim, and then ask yourself – who is the creator – if you believe God is the creator, can you create life from scratch because God has not not blessed you with a child? Can another KILL the infant in the womb, because it isn’t convenient, for whatever reasons?

    LIFE from a petri dish

    1 a. wife’s egg combined with a man’s sperm, (not her husbands) implanted in her womb
    2 b. husbands sperm with another woman’s egg, (not his wife) implanted in wife’s womb
    3 c. wife and husband can find donors of female and male, and implant in wife’s womb
    4 d. husband and wife can take their sperm and egg and implant in another woman’s womb

    DEATH from the abortionist knife

    5 a. husband doesn’t want more children
    6 b. wife doesn’t want more children
    7 c. woman isn’t married to the man
    8 d. woman doesn’t want anything to interrupt her life

    One can kill an infant in a womb for any reason, 5 a. through 8 d.

    One can make an infant in a petri dish of any combination 1 a. through 4 d. –

    Surgeons knife verses the petri dish

    – - From these descriptions/definitions it is man who is making the choice of LIFE/DEATH, calling the shots, …. using a tearful ado to emotional heartache because of an unexpected pregnancy, OR a pregnancy that can be concocted using a ‘petri dish’ –

    God opens the womb, not man – God takes life, not man – find a place in the Word of God that states man can create an infant, or that man can take an infant from the womb and kill it!

    SHAKY ________ GROUND!

  • Grace

    Abortion is nothing short of murdering a child in the womb, most Bible Believing Christians are against abortion. But yet, bring up the idea of surrogacy, artificial insemination of any combination, which is making life in a ‘petri dish’ – and some Believers think that’s just ducky. It’s a LIFE and DEATH issue – it all depends on which LIFE and DEATH sheet of reasons you make your claim, and then ask yourself – who is the creator – if you believe God is the creator, can you create life from scratch because God has not not blessed you with a child? Can another KILL the infant in the womb, because it isn’t convenient, for whatever reasons?

    LIFE from a petri dish

    1 a. wife’s egg combined with a man’s sperm, (not her husbands) implanted in her womb
    2 b. husbands sperm with another woman’s egg, (not his wife) implanted in wife’s womb
    3 c. wife and husband can find donors of female and male, and implant in wife’s womb
    4 d. husband and wife can take their sperm and egg and implant in another woman’s womb

    DEATH from the abortionist knife

    5 a. husband doesn’t want more children
    6 b. wife doesn’t want more children
    7 c. woman isn’t married to the man
    8 d. woman doesn’t want anything to interrupt her life

    One can kill an infant in a womb for any reason, 5 a. through 8 d.

    One can make an infant in a petri dish of any combination 1 a. through 4 d. –

    Surgeons knife verses the petri dish

    – - From these descriptions/definitions it is man who is making the choice of LIFE/DEATH, calling the shots, …. using a tearful ado to emotional heartache because of an unexpected pregnancy, OR a pregnancy that can be concocted using a ‘petri dish’ –

    God opens the womb, not man – God takes life, not man – find a place in the Word of God that states man can create an infant, or that man can take an infant from the womb and kill it!

    SHAKY ________ GROUND!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@106), what’s your point, and what do you hope to accomplish by comparing “LIFE from a petri dish” and “DEATH from the abortionist knife”? Is anyone here even disputing that abortion is murder?

    As to what appears to be your other point, “if you believe God is the creator, can you create life from scratch because God has not not blessed you with a child?”, you appear to be mistaken. Fertilizing an egg in vitro (which, just so you know, almost certainly doesn’t actually happen in a “petri dish”) isn’t creating life “from scratch”. It’s bringing human life about in the way that it’s always brought about, albeit in a different venue. Anyhow, on what scriptural basis would you condemn the fertilizing of an egg with the intent of bringing that life into a fully-grown baby?

    “Find a place in the Word of God that states man can create an infant”. Again, the use of in vitro fertilization (IVF) does not, of itself, create an infant any more or less than does the use of in utero fertilization. Nor does IVF, as such, preclude a belief that God is the source of all life, its beginning and its ending.

    Consider John 1: “to those who believed in his name, [Jesus] gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God” (my emphasis).

    The Bible contrasts spiritual children with physical children, noting that those born of flesh are born “of human decision or a husband’s will”. Ponder that.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@106), what’s your point, and what do you hope to accomplish by comparing “LIFE from a petri dish” and “DEATH from the abortionist knife”? Is anyone here even disputing that abortion is murder?

    As to what appears to be your other point, “if you believe God is the creator, can you create life from scratch because God has not not blessed you with a child?”, you appear to be mistaken. Fertilizing an egg in vitro (which, just so you know, almost certainly doesn’t actually happen in a “petri dish”) isn’t creating life “from scratch”. It’s bringing human life about in the way that it’s always brought about, albeit in a different venue. Anyhow, on what scriptural basis would you condemn the fertilizing of an egg with the intent of bringing that life into a fully-grown baby?

    “Find a place in the Word of God that states man can create an infant”. Again, the use of in vitro fertilization (IVF) does not, of itself, create an infant any more or less than does the use of in utero fertilization. Nor does IVF, as such, preclude a belief that God is the source of all life, its beginning and its ending.

    Consider John 1: “to those who believed in his name, [Jesus] gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God” (my emphasis).

    The Bible contrasts spiritual children with physical children, noting that those born of flesh are born “of human decision or a husband’s will”. Ponder that.

  • Grace

    tODD – 107

    “Fertilizing an egg in vitro (which, just so you know, almost certainly doesn’t actually happen in a “petri dish”) isn’t creating life “from scratch”. It’s bringing human life about in the way that it’s always brought about, albeit in a different venue. Anyhow, on what scriptural basis would you condemn the fertilizing of an egg with the intent of bringing that life into a fully-grown baby?”

    The following from Stanford University Medical Center –

    “IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) Overview

    With IVF, oocytes (eggs) are retrieved from the ovary and placed in a Petri dish with active, motile sperm. Because fertilization occurs in the Petri dish rather than in the woman’s body, this process has been called “in vitro.” The eggs and sperm are maintained in a special culture media (nutrient fluid) within a controlled environment (incubator). If a fertilized egg is developing properly, it will consist of 6-8 cells at 3 days after egg retrieval. If an embryo is continuing develop appropriately, it will form a blastocyst by 5-6 days after egg retrieval. After embryos have developed in the laboratory for several days, one or more are selected for transfer into your uterus and if additional embryos are developing, they may be frozen to be transferred at a future time.”

    http://www.stanfordivf.com/ivf.html

    The entire piece offers much information.

    “Consider John 1: “to those who believed in his name, [Jesus] gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God” (my emphasis).

    The Bible contrasts spiritual children with physical children, noting that those born of flesh are born “of human decision or a husband’s will”. Ponder that.”

    The passage you use:

    11He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

    12But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

    13Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1

    The above passage has nothing to do with IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) Nothing to ponder!

  • Grace

    tODD – 107

    “Fertilizing an egg in vitro (which, just so you know, almost certainly doesn’t actually happen in a “petri dish”) isn’t creating life “from scratch”. It’s bringing human life about in the way that it’s always brought about, albeit in a different venue. Anyhow, on what scriptural basis would you condemn the fertilizing of an egg with the intent of bringing that life into a fully-grown baby?”

    The following from Stanford University Medical Center –

    “IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) Overview

    With IVF, oocytes (eggs) are retrieved from the ovary and placed in a Petri dish with active, motile sperm. Because fertilization occurs in the Petri dish rather than in the woman’s body, this process has been called “in vitro.” The eggs and sperm are maintained in a special culture media (nutrient fluid) within a controlled environment (incubator). If a fertilized egg is developing properly, it will consist of 6-8 cells at 3 days after egg retrieval. If an embryo is continuing develop appropriately, it will form a blastocyst by 5-6 days after egg retrieval. After embryos have developed in the laboratory for several days, one or more are selected for transfer into your uterus and if additional embryos are developing, they may be frozen to be transferred at a future time.”

    http://www.stanfordivf.com/ivf.html

    The entire piece offers much information.

    “Consider John 1: “to those who believed in his name, [Jesus] gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God” (my emphasis).

    The Bible contrasts spiritual children with physical children, noting that those born of flesh are born “of human decision or a husband’s will”. Ponder that.”

    The passage you use:

    11He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

    12But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

    13Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1

    The above passage has nothing to do with IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) Nothing to ponder!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@108), I stand corrected. I had bad information in my head about modern IVF methods.

    Anyhow, you say that John 1 “has nothing to do with IVF”, but then, I offered it in response to a question that also had nothing to do with IVF!

    Recall, you had challenged us (@106), “Find a place in the Word of God that states man can create an infant”. Well, there you go — the Bible tells us that physical children are “born … of the will of the flesh, … of the will of man”! The “creation of an infant” begins with the uniting of a sperm and an egg. Show me from Scripture where it says that it is wrong for this fertilization to take place in a Petri dish.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@108), I stand corrected. I had bad information in my head about modern IVF methods.

    Anyhow, you say that John 1 “has nothing to do with IVF”, but then, I offered it in response to a question that also had nothing to do with IVF!

    Recall, you had challenged us (@106), “Find a place in the Word of God that states man can create an infant”. Well, there you go — the Bible tells us that physical children are “born … of the will of the flesh, … of the will of man”! The “creation of an infant” begins with the uniting of a sperm and an egg. Show me from Scripture where it says that it is wrong for this fertilization to take place in a Petri dish.

  • Grace

    No tODD, you have twisted the Scripture .. it isn’t even close.

    God opens the womb – man has chosen to create children (egg and sperm) using a petri dish his own way – it’s all legal. In so doing, man is taking the creation of life into his own hands.

    Embryonic stem cells in vitro are coming into play, many are opposed, however that doesn’t matter to many scientists and others who don’t think of the consequences…… and of course one can say, that will help find cures for diseseae – and where do you think the (embryos) come from? Some come from eggs and sperm that were not used during in vitro,….. yes people are asked to donate, …. but if they don’t, they go in the trash? Some from aborted infants?

    CNN Health

    What happens to extra embryos after IVF?

    September 1, 2009 By Laura Beil

    “Michelle DeCrane of Austin, Texas, has also been paying for embryo storage for two years. She has a 2-year-old daughter — and six frozen embryos. “I would love to have another baby, if I were younger — I’m 40 — and if money was not an object.” She finds herself trapped in a mental loop; while she doesn’t have the same mind-blowing love for the embryos as she has for her daughter, neither does she consider them anonymous laboratory tissue. And there’s another wrinkle: One of the six embryos is biologically hers and her husband’s; the five others were created with donor eggs and his sperm. “What do people do?” she asks. “You have all of these embryos in all of these labs. Are people going to keep doing what I’m doing and pay the $40 a month ad infinitum?”

    http://edition.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/09/01/extra.ivf.embryos/index.html

  • Grace

    No tODD, you have twisted the Scripture .. it isn’t even close.

    God opens the womb – man has chosen to create children (egg and sperm) using a petri dish his own way – it’s all legal. In so doing, man is taking the creation of life into his own hands.

    Embryonic stem cells in vitro are coming into play, many are opposed, however that doesn’t matter to many scientists and others who don’t think of the consequences…… and of course one can say, that will help find cures for diseseae – and where do you think the (embryos) come from? Some come from eggs and sperm that were not used during in vitro,….. yes people are asked to donate, …. but if they don’t, they go in the trash? Some from aborted infants?

    CNN Health

    What happens to extra embryos after IVF?

    September 1, 2009 By Laura Beil

    “Michelle DeCrane of Austin, Texas, has also been paying for embryo storage for two years. She has a 2-year-old daughter — and six frozen embryos. “I would love to have another baby, if I were younger — I’m 40 — and if money was not an object.” She finds herself trapped in a mental loop; while she doesn’t have the same mind-blowing love for the embryos as she has for her daughter, neither does she consider them anonymous laboratory tissue. And there’s another wrinkle: One of the six embryos is biologically hers and her husband’s; the five others were created with donor eggs and his sperm. “What do people do?” she asks. “You have all of these embryos in all of these labs. Are people going to keep doing what I’m doing and pay the $40 a month ad infinitum?”

    http://edition.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/09/01/extra.ivf.embryos/index.html

  • Grace

    Which embryos get their mother’s WOMB HOME? How many embryos are stashed in a freezer waiting to be warmed by their mothers womb, but never get the chance?

    Once ANYONE has chosen to have their eggs removed for fertilization, they are trusting they will be met with respect according to their wishes. That goes for ANYONE who has chosen to give their sperm to be used to fertilize the eggs of their wife.

    Wanting a child, and having seven fertilized eggs – ONE or TWO used to instill in the female, the rest to be frozen. If the embryo is successful, the wife is now pregnant, and then bears a child that brings the couple much happiness. WHAT HAPPENS to the other SIX fertilized eggs, sitting in the freezer who are just as human, but cannot develop or mature because they have not their mother’s womb home?

    This is the moral/ethical question, or MUCH MORE IMPORTANT BIBLICAL – who chooses? up to this point there has been only a DESIRE from a couple to have children, now they have a child, but there are 6 other embryos who have no womb home, what do you do with them? have another go at pregnancy, and if so, what then do you do with those left over? – that’s not God’s creation, it’s mans – every time man tries to create what is only God’s right, he flops, he cannot make it work. That’s why it’s wrong, and has no moral compass.

    Lets go back to “Which embryos get their mother’s WOMB HOME? How many embryos are stashed in a freezer waiting to be warmed by their mothers womb, but never get the chance?” – - – -

    if one chooses to dispose of those embryos which she and her husband won’t be using, is that any different than abortion? – if so, how. Abortion is ridding oneself of a growing child/embryo an embryo is a child, in the case of the frozen, they don’t have a home….. is killing/disposing of an embryo any different than killing one in the womb? – is a frozen embryo less human than the one implanted in the mother?

    Last but not least – who makes the choice of which embryo get’s the chance of life?

    God is the creator, He is the one who is able to choose who will, and who will not have children by His choice, not the petri dish, nor the person involved in the in vitro process – if you believe you can leave God out out of conception, you’ve missed what God wrote concerning marriage – The petri dish isn’t the answer, it’s the beginning of pain, giving some up to destruction, or to science – all frozen embryo’s, children without a womb –

  • Grace

    Which embryos get their mother’s WOMB HOME? How many embryos are stashed in a freezer waiting to be warmed by their mothers womb, but never get the chance?

    Once ANYONE has chosen to have their eggs removed for fertilization, they are trusting they will be met with respect according to their wishes. That goes for ANYONE who has chosen to give their sperm to be used to fertilize the eggs of their wife.

    Wanting a child, and having seven fertilized eggs – ONE or TWO used to instill in the female, the rest to be frozen. If the embryo is successful, the wife is now pregnant, and then bears a child that brings the couple much happiness. WHAT HAPPENS to the other SIX fertilized eggs, sitting in the freezer who are just as human, but cannot develop or mature because they have not their mother’s womb home?

    This is the moral/ethical question, or MUCH MORE IMPORTANT BIBLICAL – who chooses? up to this point there has been only a DESIRE from a couple to have children, now they have a child, but there are 6 other embryos who have no womb home, what do you do with them? have another go at pregnancy, and if so, what then do you do with those left over? – that’s not God’s creation, it’s mans – every time man tries to create what is only God’s right, he flops, he cannot make it work. That’s why it’s wrong, and has no moral compass.

    Lets go back to “Which embryos get their mother’s WOMB HOME? How many embryos are stashed in a freezer waiting to be warmed by their mothers womb, but never get the chance?” – - – -

    if one chooses to dispose of those embryos which she and her husband won’t be using, is that any different than abortion? – if so, how. Abortion is ridding oneself of a growing child/embryo an embryo is a child, in the case of the frozen, they don’t have a home….. is killing/disposing of an embryo any different than killing one in the womb? – is a frozen embryo less human than the one implanted in the mother?

    Last but not least – who makes the choice of which embryo get’s the chance of life?

    God is the creator, He is the one who is able to choose who will, and who will not have children by His choice, not the petri dish, nor the person involved in the in vitro process – if you believe you can leave God out out of conception, you’ve missed what God wrote concerning marriage – The petri dish isn’t the answer, it’s the beginning of pain, giving some up to destruction, or to science – all frozen embryo’s, children without a womb –

  • Grace

    Definition: embryo def

    1. human offspring in initial developmental stage: a human offspring in the early stages following conception up to the end of the eighth week, after which it is classified as a fetus.

  • Grace

    Definition: embryo def

    1. human offspring in initial developmental stage: a human offspring in the early stages following conception up to the end of the eighth week, after which it is classified as a fetus.

  • kerner

    Grace:

    Now, here you have a point. While you haven’t convinced me that it is wrong to fertilize a wife’s egg with her husband’s sperm and implant it in the wife’s womb, there is a real problem with fertilizing a wife’s egg with her husband’s sperm and putting the new human life in the freezer indefinitely.

  • kerner

    Grace:

    Now, here you have a point. While you haven’t convinced me that it is wrong to fertilize a wife’s egg with her husband’s sperm and implant it in the wife’s womb, there is a real problem with fertilizing a wife’s egg with her husband’s sperm and putting the new human life in the freezer indefinitely.

  • Grace

    Kerner,

    When embarking on the In vitro path, few understand that there most always will be a number of embryo’s that won’t be used, but will be frozen. What these embroy’s are? children without their mother’s womb. Perhaps they will never be given the womb of their parents, but instead thrown away just like an infant during abortion.

    It’s tragic that people know very little about, In Vitro Fertilization, there is a lot more to it, than they realize.

  • Grace

    Kerner,

    When embarking on the In vitro path, few understand that there most always will be a number of embryo’s that won’t be used, but will be frozen. What these embroy’s are? children without their mother’s womb. Perhaps they will never be given the womb of their parents, but instead thrown away just like an infant during abortion.

    It’s tragic that people know very little about, In Vitro Fertilization, there is a lot more to it, than they realize.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    One concern I have is whether the treatment needed to induce ovulation carries risks to the mother. I have lost confidence that the medical community will disclose all the risks of many treatments of this sort. Consider how long it took for them to disclose the risks of hormone treatment. Consider the conspicuous lack of discussion of the corresponding rise in breast cancer as women are older when they have their first baby often after a significant number of years using steroidal birth control.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    One concern I have is whether the treatment needed to induce ovulation carries risks to the mother. I have lost confidence that the medical community will disclose all the risks of many treatments of this sort. Consider how long it took for them to disclose the risks of hormone treatment. Consider the conspicuous lack of discussion of the corresponding rise in breast cancer as women are older when they have their first baby often after a significant number of years using steroidal birth control.

  • Grace

    SG – 115

    “Consider how long it took for them to disclose the risks of hormone treatment. ”

    The American Cancer Society has a good site, clarifing the risks of hormone treatment (HRT) This would include those women who have had a hysterectomy.

    Menopausal Hormone Replacement Therapy and Cancer Risk

    http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/othercarcinogens/medicaltreatments/menopausal-hormone-replacement-therapy-and-cancer-risk

  • Grace

    SG – 115

    “Consider how long it took for them to disclose the risks of hormone treatment. ”

    The American Cancer Society has a good site, clarifing the risks of hormone treatment (HRT) This would include those women who have had a hysterectomy.

    Menopausal Hormone Replacement Therapy and Cancer Risk

    http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/othercarcinogens/medicaltreatments/menopausal-hormone-replacement-therapy-and-cancer-risk

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@114), I alluded to the problem with modern IVF techniques several comments back (@100):

    I would be concerned that the in vitro fertilization that led to the surrogate’s pregnancy followed modern methodology that does not respect the individual lives being created. That would be a valid argument against this practice.

    However, along with Kerner (@113) I will continue to note that “you haven’t convinced me that it is wrong to fertilize a wife’s egg with her husband’s sperm and implant it in the wife’s womb”. You have especially failed to do any convincing from Scripture.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@114), I alluded to the problem with modern IVF techniques several comments back (@100):

    I would be concerned that the in vitro fertilization that led to the surrogate’s pregnancy followed modern methodology that does not respect the individual lives being created. That would be a valid argument against this practice.

    However, along with Kerner (@113) I will continue to note that “you haven’t convinced me that it is wrong to fertilize a wife’s egg with her husband’s sperm and implant it in the wife’s womb”. You have especially failed to do any convincing from Scripture.

  • Grace

    Abortion is wrong – frozen embryo’s which are waiting for their mothers womb, the majority of which will never get that opportunity, is nothing but another form of abortion.

    In vitro fertilization sounds slick, until you begin to understand, what takes place to make that happen ….. either you understand it, or you don’t, bury your head in the sand, and pretend you aren’t able to comprehend.

    God is charge of creating a human being, just as He decides when we die. Man has decided to take life and death into his own hands.

    If people want to rid themselves of a child by abortion, they will find an excuse, no matter how dishonest or immoral – the same goes for In vitro fertilization, storing embryo’s waiting for their mothers womb, left to freeze, trashed or waiting to used in scientific experiments.

  • Grace

    Abortion is wrong – frozen embryo’s which are waiting for their mothers womb, the majority of which will never get that opportunity, is nothing but another form of abortion.

    In vitro fertilization sounds slick, until you begin to understand, what takes place to make that happen ….. either you understand it, or you don’t, bury your head in the sand, and pretend you aren’t able to comprehend.

    God is charge of creating a human being, just as He decides when we die. Man has decided to take life and death into his own hands.

    If people want to rid themselves of a child by abortion, they will find an excuse, no matter how dishonest or immoral – the same goes for In vitro fertilization, storing embryo’s waiting for their mothers womb, left to freeze, trashed or waiting to used in scientific experiments.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@118), are you replying to anything that has been said here? Do you think you’re rebutting anyone?

    No one here disagrees with you that “abortion is wrong”. No one here disagrees with the common (though not necessary) IVF practice of producing multiple fertilized embryos, especially if they are not intended to be implanted.

    But making statements like “God is charge of creating a human being” and “Man has decided to take life … into his own hands” ignores the fact that God has given man a role in the process of creating life. God does not merely cause a baby to magically appear in a woman’s uterus. No, a baby is formed in the uterus because of the will of at least one human, if not two. Fertilizing an egg in a Petri dish is no more “taking life into our own hands” than is fertilizing an egg in a uterus.

    This is the point we have been discussing, but you keep bringing up other topics that no one is discussing.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@118), are you replying to anything that has been said here? Do you think you’re rebutting anyone?

    No one here disagrees with you that “abortion is wrong”. No one here disagrees with the common (though not necessary) IVF practice of producing multiple fertilized embryos, especially if they are not intended to be implanted.

    But making statements like “God is charge of creating a human being” and “Man has decided to take life … into his own hands” ignores the fact that God has given man a role in the process of creating life. God does not merely cause a baby to magically appear in a woman’s uterus. No, a baby is formed in the uterus because of the will of at least one human, if not two. Fertilizing an egg in a Petri dish is no more “taking life into our own hands” than is fertilizing an egg in a uterus.

    This is the point we have been discussing, but you keep bringing up other topics that no one is discussing.

  • Grace

    Some of you may have not heard of “Selective Pregnancy Reducton” –

    Northern California Fertility Medical Center

    Additional In Vitro Fertilization Information

    Selective Pregnancy Reduction

    Although we do our best to minimize the occurrence of multiple pregnancies, it occasionally happens that more than one or two embryos successfully implant in the uterus and continue to develop. Unfortunately, this often puts an unsafe amount of stress on the woman’s body and can endanger the fetuses as well. Selective reduction of pregnancy is a procedure that will reduce the number of fetuses and allow those that remain to grow to full viability.

    We must emphasize that our program does not advocate the performance of abortion. We feel that selective pregnancy reduction can be justified when it diminishes the chances of serious pregnancy complication and protects the lives of the mother and/or the remaining fetus(es).”

    http://www.ncfmc.com/consider-invitro-fertilization.htm

  • Grace

    Some of you may have not heard of “Selective Pregnancy Reducton” –

    Northern California Fertility Medical Center

    Additional In Vitro Fertilization Information

    Selective Pregnancy Reduction

    Although we do our best to minimize the occurrence of multiple pregnancies, it occasionally happens that more than one or two embryos successfully implant in the uterus and continue to develop. Unfortunately, this often puts an unsafe amount of stress on the woman’s body and can endanger the fetuses as well. Selective reduction of pregnancy is a procedure that will reduce the number of fetuses and allow those that remain to grow to full viability.

    We must emphasize that our program does not advocate the performance of abortion. We feel that selective pregnancy reduction can be justified when it diminishes the chances of serious pregnancy complication and protects the lives of the mother and/or the remaining fetus(es).”

    http://www.ncfmc.com/consider-invitro-fertilization.htm

  • Grace

    This should open the eyes of everyone!

    Too Much to Carry?
    Women pregnant with multiple fetuses face one of the toughest choices imaginable: Risk the health of all, or take the lives of some

    By Liza Mundy
    Sunday, May 20, 2007

    ____an excerpt from article

    “Selective reduction is one of the most unpleasant facts of fertility medicine, which has helped hundreds of thousands of couples have children but has also produced a sharp rise in high-risk multiple pregnancies. There is no way to know how many pregnancies achieved by fertility treatment start out as triplets or quadruplets and are quietly reduced to something more manageable. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which publishes an annual report on fertility clinic outcomes, does not include selective-reduction figures because of the reluctance to report them.

    The industry doesn’t publish them, either. “This is a very sensitive topic,” says David Grainger, president of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, the membership group for IVF clinics. It’s sensitive, personally, for patients, but also politically, for doctors.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/15/AR2007051501730.html

  • Grace

    This should open the eyes of everyone!

    Too Much to Carry?
    Women pregnant with multiple fetuses face one of the toughest choices imaginable: Risk the health of all, or take the lives of some

    By Liza Mundy
    Sunday, May 20, 2007

    ____an excerpt from article

    “Selective reduction is one of the most unpleasant facts of fertility medicine, which has helped hundreds of thousands of couples have children but has also produced a sharp rise in high-risk multiple pregnancies. There is no way to know how many pregnancies achieved by fertility treatment start out as triplets or quadruplets and are quietly reduced to something more manageable. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which publishes an annual report on fertility clinic outcomes, does not include selective-reduction figures because of the reluctance to report them.

    The industry doesn’t publish them, either. “This is a very sensitive topic,” says David Grainger, president of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, the membership group for IVF clinics. It’s sensitive, personally, for patients, but also politically, for doctors.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/15/AR2007051501730.html

  • Stephen

    I heard a report on the radio yesterday about a woman who was getting breast milk for her baby through Facebook. Seems there are health risks in sharing it so it has to be by prescription in some areas, but she cannot afford that so she gets it free on the Internet. Resourceful for sure. Like I said, I would cut off my arm if I had to and I would not let the government stop me from helping my child.

    That said, I wonder what kind of role there is for government in all this in terms of “regulation of womb use” since we at least seem to agree that abuses are possible. We have immunizations and such, and this seems to be why this woman “trafficking” in breast milk needs a prescription to share milk, because there is a risk of spreading disease.

    Don’t know, just asking.

    You can hear the program here:

    http://www.npr.org/templates/rundowns/rundown.php?prgId=3&prgDate=1-24-2011

  • Stephen

    I heard a report on the radio yesterday about a woman who was getting breast milk for her baby through Facebook. Seems there are health risks in sharing it so it has to be by prescription in some areas, but she cannot afford that so she gets it free on the Internet. Resourceful for sure. Like I said, I would cut off my arm if I had to and I would not let the government stop me from helping my child.

    That said, I wonder what kind of role there is for government in all this in terms of “regulation of womb use” since we at least seem to agree that abuses are possible. We have immunizations and such, and this seems to be why this woman “trafficking” in breast milk needs a prescription to share milk, because there is a risk of spreading disease.

    Don’t know, just asking.

    You can hear the program here:

    http://www.npr.org/templates/rundowns/rundown.php?prgId=3&prgDate=1-24-2011

  • Grace

    There is a big difference between being a “nurse maid” and making a choice to discard the embryo of one’s children, either in the womb or out, in or out of a frozen condition.

    Northern California Fertility Medical Center

    Human Life International Pro-life Missionaries to the world.

    IVF Procedure Efficiency. The chances of a single transplanted embryo surviving the entire IVF process are quite slim. So, the donor woman routinely receives fertility drugs to make her produce several eggs during ovulation (a process known as “superovulation”). Doctors fertilize these multiple eggs with sperm, then transfer them to the receiving woman’s uterus.

    Despite using multiple eggs, the average probability of pregnancy per in-vitro cycle is only about 25 percent.[11]

    Pro-life activists object to IVF mainly because it requires the intentional killing of many human embryos. For example, only four percent of 14,585 human embryos survived to birth, according to a 1984 European study, and a 1987 study in the United States’ largest IVF center in Norfolk, Virginia, concluded that only five percent of 4,500 embryos survived to birth.[12]

    Embryos that appear to be defective in any way are simply discarded as biological waste. If a woman becomes pregnant with multiple embryos, an abortionist often commits a “pregnancy reduction,” a fancy name for selective abortion. The unwanted children are killed with a shot of potassium chloride to the heart and they are simply reabsorbed by the mother’s body.

    Naturally, other researchers hate to see all of these perfectly good embryos go to waste, so they extract them alive and experiment upon them.”

    http://www.hli.org/index.php/activism/490?task=view

  • Grace

    There is a big difference between being a “nurse maid” and making a choice to discard the embryo of one’s children, either in the womb or out, in or out of a frozen condition.

    Northern California Fertility Medical Center

    Human Life International Pro-life Missionaries to the world.

    IVF Procedure Efficiency. The chances of a single transplanted embryo surviving the entire IVF process are quite slim. So, the donor woman routinely receives fertility drugs to make her produce several eggs during ovulation (a process known as “superovulation”). Doctors fertilize these multiple eggs with sperm, then transfer them to the receiving woman’s uterus.

    Despite using multiple eggs, the average probability of pregnancy per in-vitro cycle is only about 25 percent.[11]

    Pro-life activists object to IVF mainly because it requires the intentional killing of many human embryos. For example, only four percent of 14,585 human embryos survived to birth, according to a 1984 European study, and a 1987 study in the United States’ largest IVF center in Norfolk, Virginia, concluded that only five percent of 4,500 embryos survived to birth.[12]

    Embryos that appear to be defective in any way are simply discarded as biological waste. If a woman becomes pregnant with multiple embryos, an abortionist often commits a “pregnancy reduction,” a fancy name for selective abortion. The unwanted children are killed with a shot of potassium chloride to the heart and they are simply reabsorbed by the mother’s body.

    Naturally, other researchers hate to see all of these perfectly good embryos go to waste, so they extract them alive and experiment upon them.”

    http://www.hli.org/index.php/activism/490?task=view

  • sarabeth

    Regarding IVF – doctors create multiple embryos to increase (with a “better” quality embryo) a women’s chance to conceive and carry to term in the least number of cycles possible . This results in frozen embryos that are stored for years (people do pay for this), donated to others to be born, used for research or destroyed at the option of the parents. There are clear pro-life objections to these aspects of IVF. However, it is becoming increasingly popular to do “natural” cycle IVF. This is when the doctor removes a naturally grown egg from the women’s body in hopes to transfer one embryo back. This especially happens in europe and canada where their public health care covers IVF and cost is not a factor. So what are the arguments against natural cycle IVF?

    Regarding selective reduction – it is the recommended treatment of some multiple pregnancies no matter how you conceive. Even twins present many more risks to both the mother and babies. However, this cannot happen without the consent of the patients. It is horribly sad that this is what the doctor will recommend in these situations. With IVF, most doctors will not transfer more than one or two embryos to a woman’s womb because of the risks involved in all multiple pregnancies. Especially if she is clear that she will not be willing to selectively reduce for any reason. Most high multiple pregnancies to do not come from IVF but from artificial insemination because doctors have less control over how many eggs are fertilized. The octomom was the exception and that doctor probably committed malpractice by transferring that many embryos at one time. Clearly, this procedure is not something a pro-life person would accept.

    So, if there are objectionable procedures that do happen with IVF, can a pro-life person who respects life, and would follow a procedure that respects life, do IVF ethically? Or have a gestational carrier – because once you have the embryo, and the the mother has known issues, that would become an option?

    Here’s another question related to creating life in a petri dish where not all life survives but some does. Is a woman who has miscarried multiple times (three or more), wrong to continue to try to get pregnant when she, her husband, and her doctor know that there is a high risk of her miscarrying again? Or, is it better for her to try and hope for life rather than preventing pregnancy and denying any possibility of life? I have known women that have miscarried 6 or more times. Were they wrong (ethically not on a personal level) to keep trying to carry to term? Would anyone tell them that? (I’m asking rhetorically because I can’t believe anyone would object to this. God bless those who struggle through such devastation.) What about the fact that 20% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage and doctors estimate that a much greater percentage of pregnancies fail before the mother even knows she is pregnant. Is hoping and giving a chance for life from a petri dish (rather than no life at all) that much different? Assuming you avoid all the noted objections to the procedure. Just asking!! :-)

  • sarabeth

    Regarding IVF – doctors create multiple embryos to increase (with a “better” quality embryo) a women’s chance to conceive and carry to term in the least number of cycles possible . This results in frozen embryos that are stored for years (people do pay for this), donated to others to be born, used for research or destroyed at the option of the parents. There are clear pro-life objections to these aspects of IVF. However, it is becoming increasingly popular to do “natural” cycle IVF. This is when the doctor removes a naturally grown egg from the women’s body in hopes to transfer one embryo back. This especially happens in europe and canada where their public health care covers IVF and cost is not a factor. So what are the arguments against natural cycle IVF?

    Regarding selective reduction – it is the recommended treatment of some multiple pregnancies no matter how you conceive. Even twins present many more risks to both the mother and babies. However, this cannot happen without the consent of the patients. It is horribly sad that this is what the doctor will recommend in these situations. With IVF, most doctors will not transfer more than one or two embryos to a woman’s womb because of the risks involved in all multiple pregnancies. Especially if she is clear that she will not be willing to selectively reduce for any reason. Most high multiple pregnancies to do not come from IVF but from artificial insemination because doctors have less control over how many eggs are fertilized. The octomom was the exception and that doctor probably committed malpractice by transferring that many embryos at one time. Clearly, this procedure is not something a pro-life person would accept.

    So, if there are objectionable procedures that do happen with IVF, can a pro-life person who respects life, and would follow a procedure that respects life, do IVF ethically? Or have a gestational carrier – because once you have the embryo, and the the mother has known issues, that would become an option?

    Here’s another question related to creating life in a petri dish where not all life survives but some does. Is a woman who has miscarried multiple times (three or more), wrong to continue to try to get pregnant when she, her husband, and her doctor know that there is a high risk of her miscarrying again? Or, is it better for her to try and hope for life rather than preventing pregnancy and denying any possibility of life? I have known women that have miscarried 6 or more times. Were they wrong (ethically not on a personal level) to keep trying to carry to term? Would anyone tell them that? (I’m asking rhetorically because I can’t believe anyone would object to this. God bless those who struggle through such devastation.) What about the fact that 20% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage and doctors estimate that a much greater percentage of pregnancies fail before the mother even knows she is pregnant. Is hoping and giving a chance for life from a petri dish (rather than no life at all) that much different? Assuming you avoid all the noted objections to the procedure. Just asking!! :-)

  • Stephen

    Sarabeth -

    I was beginning to think this thing was getting way off topic but now I see a relationship. As to your last paragraph, the distinction between the womb and a petri dish (or some other artificial womb) becomes more vivid for me. I would say that of course a couple should or may continue to try as long as there is no inherent health risk.

    But as for artificial means, if it means there are or must be some “leftovers” then I think it is flat out wrong. Why? purely from a genetic standpoint, a human life is there in the fertilized egg. All the genetic material is present. The only thing lacking is the environment and nourishment. To make an analogy, if we took a human being and set them out somewhere in the cold without provisions, they would die. Whoever did such a thing would be held criminally responsible. And whoever failed to aid such a person if they could would also bear some level of responsibility for their death it seems to me. One does not even need a spiritual or religious argument for “souls” to see the reasoning behind this. I think it holds for fertilized embryos that are never brought to term and allowed their life on earth. It’s a crime against humanity, and if it is necessary means to an end, then it I think government has a role to play in stopping it.

    So right there I see a fundamental difference between the womb and some other artificial means for growing an embryo, or at least the terms upon which an embryo can or should be grown. which leads back to my question about the role of government. Where is there, if any, a role to play for regulation of the use of the womb and/or a woman’s body in this way for good or for ill of human life? I see it as much the same question as ones regarding prostitution and such, but maybe it’s not a direct analogy. I’m not sure.

  • Stephen

    Sarabeth -

    I was beginning to think this thing was getting way off topic but now I see a relationship. As to your last paragraph, the distinction between the womb and a petri dish (or some other artificial womb) becomes more vivid for me. I would say that of course a couple should or may continue to try as long as there is no inherent health risk.

    But as for artificial means, if it means there are or must be some “leftovers” then I think it is flat out wrong. Why? purely from a genetic standpoint, a human life is there in the fertilized egg. All the genetic material is present. The only thing lacking is the environment and nourishment. To make an analogy, if we took a human being and set them out somewhere in the cold without provisions, they would die. Whoever did such a thing would be held criminally responsible. And whoever failed to aid such a person if they could would also bear some level of responsibility for their death it seems to me. One does not even need a spiritual or religious argument for “souls” to see the reasoning behind this. I think it holds for fertilized embryos that are never brought to term and allowed their life on earth. It’s a crime against humanity, and if it is necessary means to an end, then it I think government has a role to play in stopping it.

    So right there I see a fundamental difference between the womb and some other artificial means for growing an embryo, or at least the terms upon which an embryo can or should be grown. which leads back to my question about the role of government. Where is there, if any, a role to play for regulation of the use of the womb and/or a woman’s body in this way for good or for ill of human life? I see it as much the same question as ones regarding prostitution and such, but maybe it’s not a direct analogy. I’m not sure.

  • Grace

    Miscarriages, are not intentional, they do not represent abortion.

    Having a child at any cost, meaning embryo’s that are trashed, used for science experimentation are nothing short of abortion. They are the unborn infants, who are either conceived within the womb, or artificially concocted in a petri dish. The other option with unwanted embryo’s is to give them away to someone else, which is nothing short of purposely making embryos/infants, keeping what you want, and then when there are too many, giving them away like fruit from a tree, which one can’t keep because there is too much, just to have a child.

    Selective-reduction, is just another form of abortion. After the embryos/embryo is implanted, if there are too many, or those who aren’t ‘perfect’ are then aborted from the womb which is abortion.

    In vitro fertilization is greatly flawed because it is not a natural implantation from God, for that reason, it contradicts the very essence of conception, by demanding one have a child at any price. All the excuses in the world don’t change that fact. God can open and close the womb to create life as He chooses, it is His Will. In vitro/selective-reduction aren’t of God, they have options and decisions which amount to abortion.

    Trusting in God and His choices for our life may seem difficult, even when one desires a child, but doesn’t conceive. IVF isn’t the answer.

    The end does not justify the means.

  • Grace

    Miscarriages, are not intentional, they do not represent abortion.

    Having a child at any cost, meaning embryo’s that are trashed, used for science experimentation are nothing short of abortion. They are the unborn infants, who are either conceived within the womb, or artificially concocted in a petri dish. The other option with unwanted embryo’s is to give them away to someone else, which is nothing short of purposely making embryos/infants, keeping what you want, and then when there are too many, giving them away like fruit from a tree, which one can’t keep because there is too much, just to have a child.

    Selective-reduction, is just another form of abortion. After the embryos/embryo is implanted, if there are too many, or those who aren’t ‘perfect’ are then aborted from the womb which is abortion.

    In vitro fertilization is greatly flawed because it is not a natural implantation from God, for that reason, it contradicts the very essence of conception, by demanding one have a child at any price. All the excuses in the world don’t change that fact. God can open and close the womb to create life as He chooses, it is His Will. In vitro/selective-reduction aren’t of God, they have options and decisions which amount to abortion.

    Trusting in God and His choices for our life may seem difficult, even when one desires a child, but doesn’t conceive. IVF isn’t the answer.

    The end does not justify the means.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Sarabeth (@124), thanks for your comment.

    Again, I don’t think anyone here is defending typical IVF practice as it is right now. The production of human embryos for “selective” killing is clearly wrong, as is their being frozen without any intent for them to develop.

    However, I still can’t say that IVF (or “gestational carriers”) are, of themselves wrong. If a husband and wife fertilize an egg in a Petri dish and then implant that one (or more?) into the wife’s uterus, with the intent and hope that all fertilized eggs go on to become fully-fledged infants, on what basis would you declare that against God’s will? How could you decry that as not respecting life?
    Admittedly, that is not current IVF practice, but then, current IVF practice has developed around the idea that the embryos that area created are not human, so I’m not sure there’s been much reason for them to develop procedures for people who do care about preserving life.

    Nor am I saying that I would recommend IVF or “gestational carriers” to anyone. But many in this conversation seem intent on expressing their judgment on others — both the couple that spawned this conversation and anyone else in general who would dare take advantage of medical technology that the judgers deem too weird or new or just-not-right.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Sarabeth (@124), thanks for your comment.

    Again, I don’t think anyone here is defending typical IVF practice as it is right now. The production of human embryos for “selective” killing is clearly wrong, as is their being frozen without any intent for them to develop.

    However, I still can’t say that IVF (or “gestational carriers”) are, of themselves wrong. If a husband and wife fertilize an egg in a Petri dish and then implant that one (or more?) into the wife’s uterus, with the intent and hope that all fertilized eggs go on to become fully-fledged infants, on what basis would you declare that against God’s will? How could you decry that as not respecting life?
    Admittedly, that is not current IVF practice, but then, current IVF practice has developed around the idea that the embryos that area created are not human, so I’m not sure there’s been much reason for them to develop procedures for people who do care about preserving life.

    Nor am I saying that I would recommend IVF or “gestational carriers” to anyone. But many in this conversation seem intent on expressing their judgment on others — both the couple that spawned this conversation and anyone else in general who would dare take advantage of medical technology that the judgers deem too weird or new or just-not-right.

  • Stephen

    todd-

    You are like the master of the split hair analysis. But as I seem to be one of the judgers, and as you have agreed that there is potential for abuse, is there a role for government to play in regulating this stuff? Would it be along the lines of safety in practice only? By that measure, a woman could theoretically sell her body for any purpose she wanted as long as it was done safely. Or is there some other measure? I really want to know, because, as you note, the people who designed the technology do not seem to have considered the leftover embryos in IVF as a matter for great concern, while others (like me) see them as humans who are not being given the full measure of their humanity. It is a matter of human rights as I see it. Even if the technology offers people a way to have a family from their own gene pool, do the means justify it at all?

    With the issue of gestational carriers, it gets fuzzier, but I still wonder if there is some concern along those lines. Kids have the right to parents, and to know something about who they are and where they come from, to the integrity of a family and the integrity of being fully human which, to me, has something, at the very least, to do with being grounded in relationships with other human beings. What makes that so, or not? Just genetics? Why do we, after all, have these mushy, oily, watery, fleshy things we call bodies that we come out of into the world? Is that just philosophy and you are just being pragmatic?

    If that sounds like a metaphysical question, then maybe it is. You seem to want to break it down to a practical matter. Is there no common ground on that? If so, I don’t hear it. Tell me what you think our bodies are for, if not just vehicles for brains or vessels to be bartered. Like I said, I work these pictures all the way out, and that’s about all I see.

  • Stephen

    todd-

    You are like the master of the split hair analysis. But as I seem to be one of the judgers, and as you have agreed that there is potential for abuse, is there a role for government to play in regulating this stuff? Would it be along the lines of safety in practice only? By that measure, a woman could theoretically sell her body for any purpose she wanted as long as it was done safely. Or is there some other measure? I really want to know, because, as you note, the people who designed the technology do not seem to have considered the leftover embryos in IVF as a matter for great concern, while others (like me) see them as humans who are not being given the full measure of their humanity. It is a matter of human rights as I see it. Even if the technology offers people a way to have a family from their own gene pool, do the means justify it at all?

    With the issue of gestational carriers, it gets fuzzier, but I still wonder if there is some concern along those lines. Kids have the right to parents, and to know something about who they are and where they come from, to the integrity of a family and the integrity of being fully human which, to me, has something, at the very least, to do with being grounded in relationships with other human beings. What makes that so, or not? Just genetics? Why do we, after all, have these mushy, oily, watery, fleshy things we call bodies that we come out of into the world? Is that just philosophy and you are just being pragmatic?

    If that sounds like a metaphysical question, then maybe it is. You seem to want to break it down to a practical matter. Is there no common ground on that? If so, I don’t hear it. Tell me what you think our bodies are for, if not just vehicles for brains or vessels to be bartered. Like I said, I work these pictures all the way out, and that’s about all I see.

  • kerner

    Hello again, everybody. I think the reason that doctors usually fertilize multiple eggs in IVF is that sometimes the newly created embryos (just like embryos created through sex) are too weak to survive. Since removing the egg is an expensive procedure, the doctors would rather take multiple eggs at one time, fertilize them all, and then implant the strongest one; storing or throwing away the rest.

    As I said @113, I think we all see what is wrong with destroying newly formed human lives. The only ethical way around this that I can see is to fertilize no more than one or two eggs at a time, and to attempt to implant every egg fertilized. This might be a lot more costly, but that does not get you past the conscious decision to create human lives with the intention of destroying some of them.

    Stephen, I guess I don’t get as metaphysical as you do about the human body and the uses we put them to. If our dignity as human beings depended on the dignity of the things our bodies do every day, I wouldn’t say we had much dignity at all.

    I really see this as more of an issue as one married couple wanting to produce children, but needing help to nurture and keep that child alive for a time. I don’t see why women using their own bodies to nurture and keep alive someone else’s child is wrong. There may be many ethical pitfalls to fall into in trying to do this, but if those can be avoided, I don’t think the basic concept changes.

    Maybe in the future this whole process will not be necessary. We now have pacemakers and artificial heart valves. We have artificial knees and hips. We have inner ear implants that allow the deaf to hear. Maybe some day we will have some equivalent device that will resolve the problems some women have with carrying their children to term.

    But until that day I still come back to the basic premise of a married couple finding a way to conceive a child and then finding a way for the child to grow and develop safely. Having to be more innovative than usual doesn’t make that wrong.

  • kerner

    Hello again, everybody. I think the reason that doctors usually fertilize multiple eggs in IVF is that sometimes the newly created embryos (just like embryos created through sex) are too weak to survive. Since removing the egg is an expensive procedure, the doctors would rather take multiple eggs at one time, fertilize them all, and then implant the strongest one; storing or throwing away the rest.

    As I said @113, I think we all see what is wrong with destroying newly formed human lives. The only ethical way around this that I can see is to fertilize no more than one or two eggs at a time, and to attempt to implant every egg fertilized. This might be a lot more costly, but that does not get you past the conscious decision to create human lives with the intention of destroying some of them.

    Stephen, I guess I don’t get as metaphysical as you do about the human body and the uses we put them to. If our dignity as human beings depended on the dignity of the things our bodies do every day, I wouldn’t say we had much dignity at all.

    I really see this as more of an issue as one married couple wanting to produce children, but needing help to nurture and keep that child alive for a time. I don’t see why women using their own bodies to nurture and keep alive someone else’s child is wrong. There may be many ethical pitfalls to fall into in trying to do this, but if those can be avoided, I don’t think the basic concept changes.

    Maybe in the future this whole process will not be necessary. We now have pacemakers and artificial heart valves. We have artificial knees and hips. We have inner ear implants that allow the deaf to hear. Maybe some day we will have some equivalent device that will resolve the problems some women have with carrying their children to term.

    But until that day I still come back to the basic premise of a married couple finding a way to conceive a child and then finding a way for the child to grow and develop safely. Having to be more innovative than usual doesn’t make that wrong.

  • Grace

    Stephen – 125 … Great post!

    We all have a right to express our beliefs regarding abortion, In vetro fertilization and Selective-reduction. We all judge right from wrong, some upon the Word of God, and some dependent on whatever their desires are, and this includes medical technology – Just because technology exists, doesn’t mean it’s ethical or moral, it simply means it exists.

    Steven you write #128:

    -”It is a matter of human rights as I see it. Even if the technology offers people a way to have a family from their own gene pool, do the means justify it at all?

    With the issue of gestational carriers, it gets fuzzier, but I still wonder if there is some concern along those lines. Kids have the right to parents, and to know something about who they are and where they come from, to the integrity of a family and the integrity of being fully human which, to me, has something, at the very least, to do with being grounded in relationships with other human beings. What makes that so, or not? Just genetics?”-

    Every child has a right to know where they came from (adoption or otherwise ) and that includes their natural, biological parents. I would be devastated, if I found out I had other siblings who were still frozen, those given to scientific research, Or those who had been given to another woman to put in her womb, and raise. Then consider “Selective-reduction” those who were discarded because they had Down’s Syndrome.

    When ‘medical technology’ embraces that which is by ‘selection’ according to perfection, tailor made numbers, disposal of human life (abortion) it has no credibility. The choices then become man’s selfish desires, rather than God’s Will. God’s Will is not always followed, if it were, we would have no abortion, adultery, lying, and all the other things which grieve the LORD and ruin all the lives that embrace the practice, and many others who are involved.

    If modern medicine spent the same amount of money on cancer research, diabetes, and every other medical problem, some of the pain and sorrow might be alleviated. Children suffering from cancer and other illness is dreadful, including the treatments they endure.

  • Grace

    Stephen – 125 … Great post!

    We all have a right to express our beliefs regarding abortion, In vetro fertilization and Selective-reduction. We all judge right from wrong, some upon the Word of God, and some dependent on whatever their desires are, and this includes medical technology – Just because technology exists, doesn’t mean it’s ethical or moral, it simply means it exists.

    Steven you write #128:

    -”It is a matter of human rights as I see it. Even if the technology offers people a way to have a family from their own gene pool, do the means justify it at all?

    With the issue of gestational carriers, it gets fuzzier, but I still wonder if there is some concern along those lines. Kids have the right to parents, and to know something about who they are and where they come from, to the integrity of a family and the integrity of being fully human which, to me, has something, at the very least, to do with being grounded in relationships with other human beings. What makes that so, or not? Just genetics?”-

    Every child has a right to know where they came from (adoption or otherwise ) and that includes their natural, biological parents. I would be devastated, if I found out I had other siblings who were still frozen, those given to scientific research, Or those who had been given to another woman to put in her womb, and raise. Then consider “Selective-reduction” those who were discarded because they had Down’s Syndrome.

    When ‘medical technology’ embraces that which is by ‘selection’ according to perfection, tailor made numbers, disposal of human life (abortion) it has no credibility. The choices then become man’s selfish desires, rather than God’s Will. God’s Will is not always followed, if it were, we would have no abortion, adultery, lying, and all the other things which grieve the LORD and ruin all the lives that embrace the practice, and many others who are involved.

    If modern medicine spent the same amount of money on cancer research, diabetes, and every other medical problem, some of the pain and sorrow might be alleviated. Children suffering from cancer and other illness is dreadful, including the treatments they endure.

  • Stephen

    Kerner -

    I appreciate your basic premise, but I still think the ethical issues have not been addressed. If I were to grant that this form of child bearing were only about “needing help to nurture and keep that child alive for a time” as you say, at what point is this violated, if ever. Is there any point at which the human rights of those involved need to be considered. If so, then where is that line? If not, why not?

    The reason I keep pushing this is because I don’t think anyone is talking about it other than to say “yeah, bad things can happen, but it can still be used for good, so it ought to be allowed. It’s just technology.” That is not much of an argument to me. I want to know when is it bad and why, for one thing, and when should the government step in and regulate it. If there is some potential for abuse of human rights, what does that look like and should we be concerned? In my view, as I already stated, there are human rights abuses going on in regards to human embryos. Nothing is said or done and this “helpful” technology is allowed to continue unabated. For one brief moment we had a halt on stem cell research, now that is off and running again even though the science is unnecessary by some accounts. I’m sure it might prove to be helpful, maybe even turn out to prevent birth defect or solve miscarriages. Who knows? But there is a cost.

    I don’t hear much about what is actually at stake, things like the commodification of the body on a new, extremely intimate level, the streamlining of childbirth into a manufacturing model, and whether or not the potential abuses are something we ought to just wait around for or try to anticipate somehow. Also, does this or does this not influence anyone’s thinking about who owns the right their body, specifically, the womb, and what happens there? Because it seems to me that renting the space is akin to saying that a woman can do there what she pleases and no one has the right to judge that. What if she changes her mind three or four months into it, how free is then? Now we have a property dispute?

  • Stephen

    Kerner -

    I appreciate your basic premise, but I still think the ethical issues have not been addressed. If I were to grant that this form of child bearing were only about “needing help to nurture and keep that child alive for a time” as you say, at what point is this violated, if ever. Is there any point at which the human rights of those involved need to be considered. If so, then where is that line? If not, why not?

    The reason I keep pushing this is because I don’t think anyone is talking about it other than to say “yeah, bad things can happen, but it can still be used for good, so it ought to be allowed. It’s just technology.” That is not much of an argument to me. I want to know when is it bad and why, for one thing, and when should the government step in and regulate it. If there is some potential for abuse of human rights, what does that look like and should we be concerned? In my view, as I already stated, there are human rights abuses going on in regards to human embryos. Nothing is said or done and this “helpful” technology is allowed to continue unabated. For one brief moment we had a halt on stem cell research, now that is off and running again even though the science is unnecessary by some accounts. I’m sure it might prove to be helpful, maybe even turn out to prevent birth defect or solve miscarriages. Who knows? But there is a cost.

    I don’t hear much about what is actually at stake, things like the commodification of the body on a new, extremely intimate level, the streamlining of childbirth into a manufacturing model, and whether or not the potential abuses are something we ought to just wait around for or try to anticipate somehow. Also, does this or does this not influence anyone’s thinking about who owns the right their body, specifically, the womb, and what happens there? Because it seems to me that renting the space is akin to saying that a woman can do there what she pleases and no one has the right to judge that. What if she changes her mind three or four months into it, how free is then? Now we have a property dispute?

  • Grace

    Let’s take this further, technology and all it’s potential and financial gain.

    - Time passes, and so do laws -

    1 A couple decide they will keep their embryo’s frozen.
    2 The couple choose to let another have they embryo.
    3 They can now (future date) sell the embryo, maybe one or two
    4 They attach a photo of themselves, and their educational backgrounds and IQ
    5 And then the PRICE the expect… in their mind, equivalent to attractiveness, and potential IQ

    Maybe some feel this could never take place, … however the top choice is costly. Think about it? Is it so unfathomable to believe this couldn’t happen in just a short span of time?

  • Grace

    Let’s take this further, technology and all it’s potential and financial gain.

    - Time passes, and so do laws -

    1 A couple decide they will keep their embryo’s frozen.
    2 The couple choose to let another have they embryo.
    3 They can now (future date) sell the embryo, maybe one or two
    4 They attach a photo of themselves, and their educational backgrounds and IQ
    5 And then the PRICE the expect… in their mind, equivalent to attractiveness, and potential IQ

    Maybe some feel this could never take place, … however the top choice is costly. Think about it? Is it so unfathomable to believe this couldn’t happen in just a short span of time?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Grace that is already happening. It is an industry in India. Folks select sperm and egg donors based on their perceived quality and have the embryos implanted in poor Indian women. It is expensive and the doctors and technicians make their living selling these babies to folks who want a quality product.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Grace that is already happening. It is an industry in India. Folks select sperm and egg donors based on their perceived quality and have the embryos implanted in poor Indian women. It is expensive and the doctors and technicians make their living selling these babies to folks who want a quality product.

  • Grace

    SG,

    There are a lot of medical practices in other countries, many we have no clue.

  • Grace

    SG,

    There are a lot of medical practices in other countries, many we have no clue.

  • kerner

    Grace:

    You raise valid questions of where ethical lines should be drawn on this. You raise 5 possibilities, and I will give you my own opinion for each.

    1. Keeping an embryo frozen indefinitely: I don’t see how this could be morally right. First of all, I don’t know this for sure, but I don’t believe that a frozen embryo can survive that way forever. At some point it must be like freezing another person to death. So there’s a bright line I hope we can agree on.

    2. The couple choose to let another have the embryo: I think that this is much the same as putting a child up for adoption. So, while I don’t know how I would feel about each individual case, I don’t see a basis to say this should be across the board wrong and against the law. Grace, you said you would be devistated if you found out you had a sibling who had been implanted in the womb of someone other than your mother. Would you also be devistated if you found out that you had a sibling that your parents put up for adoption? My wife is adopted, and through the years she has had almost no contact with her biological family. At one point, I know she had some contact with one of her biological brothers. I don’t know if he was devistated to find out about her. But people have since ancient times given their children away to others to raise. They usually claim it is for the child’s own good, but I suspect it is often mainly for the biological parents’ good. And yet, adoptions are often very positive things for all parties and the laws of almost every civilization provide for them. Allowing a suitable couple to adopt an embryo doesn’t seem that different to me.

    3,4,5, Selling the embryo. Continuing the parallel with adoption, we allow parents to give up their children for adoption, but we don’t allow parents to sell them, because selling people in any form is considered wrong nowadays (this was not always true). Therefore, we should not allow embryos to be sold.

    sg raises the point that embryos are already being bought and sold in India. She didn’t give a source, but I do not doubt her. But the fact is (I have some experience here) that many foreign adoptions are basicly poor women selling their babies to comparitively wealthy American couples. I know it’s not supposed to be that way, but if fact there are poor women in third world countries who have gotten pregnant multiple times, had their “expences” paid by an American couple through an agency, and then the babies are adopted by the American couple. When a poor woman does this a couple of times in a row, you know that it isn’t happening by accident. And there are also government fees to be paid in the mother’s home country. This is turning babies into a product to be sold (maybe with less quality control than in sg’s example, but otherwise no different) and that is wrong.

    But my point is that you don’t need IVF to have a market for bought and sold babies. That happens with babies produced in the usual way already.

  • kerner

    Grace:

    You raise valid questions of where ethical lines should be drawn on this. You raise 5 possibilities, and I will give you my own opinion for each.

    1. Keeping an embryo frozen indefinitely: I don’t see how this could be morally right. First of all, I don’t know this for sure, but I don’t believe that a frozen embryo can survive that way forever. At some point it must be like freezing another person to death. So there’s a bright line I hope we can agree on.

    2. The couple choose to let another have the embryo: I think that this is much the same as putting a child up for adoption. So, while I don’t know how I would feel about each individual case, I don’t see a basis to say this should be across the board wrong and against the law. Grace, you said you would be devistated if you found out you had a sibling who had been implanted in the womb of someone other than your mother. Would you also be devistated if you found out that you had a sibling that your parents put up for adoption? My wife is adopted, and through the years she has had almost no contact with her biological family. At one point, I know she had some contact with one of her biological brothers. I don’t know if he was devistated to find out about her. But people have since ancient times given their children away to others to raise. They usually claim it is for the child’s own good, but I suspect it is often mainly for the biological parents’ good. And yet, adoptions are often very positive things for all parties and the laws of almost every civilization provide for them. Allowing a suitable couple to adopt an embryo doesn’t seem that different to me.

    3,4,5, Selling the embryo. Continuing the parallel with adoption, we allow parents to give up their children for adoption, but we don’t allow parents to sell them, because selling people in any form is considered wrong nowadays (this was not always true). Therefore, we should not allow embryos to be sold.

    sg raises the point that embryos are already being bought and sold in India. She didn’t give a source, but I do not doubt her. But the fact is (I have some experience here) that many foreign adoptions are basicly poor women selling their babies to comparitively wealthy American couples. I know it’s not supposed to be that way, but if fact there are poor women in third world countries who have gotten pregnant multiple times, had their “expences” paid by an American couple through an agency, and then the babies are adopted by the American couple. When a poor woman does this a couple of times in a row, you know that it isn’t happening by accident. And there are also government fees to be paid in the mother’s home country. This is turning babies into a product to be sold (maybe with less quality control than in sg’s example, but otherwise no different) and that is wrong.

    But my point is that you don’t need IVF to have a market for bought and sold babies. That happens with babies produced in the usual way already.

  • kerner

    Stephen:

    You raise some good questions too. I think this is a bigger problem than it might otherwise be because of Roe v. Wade. As you point out, we have gone so far down the road in favor of a “woman’s autonomy over her own body” that it is really hard to predict the result if she were to “change her mind” after the embryo was already implanted. I would hope that her contract with the parent couple would be enforced and the baby would live, but under present law, who can say? Right now, fathers have no right to compel mothers to carry the couple’s child to term. On the other hand, isn’t any practise that might erode the unfettered authority of a woman to kill an unborn child in her womb a good thing (at least potentially)?

  • kerner

    Stephen:

    You raise some good questions too. I think this is a bigger problem than it might otherwise be because of Roe v. Wade. As you point out, we have gone so far down the road in favor of a “woman’s autonomy over her own body” that it is really hard to predict the result if she were to “change her mind” after the embryo was already implanted. I would hope that her contract with the parent couple would be enforced and the baby would live, but under present law, who can say? Right now, fathers have no right to compel mothers to carry the couple’s child to term. On the other hand, isn’t any practise that might erode the unfettered authority of a woman to kill an unborn child in her womb a good thing (at least potentially)?

  • kerner

    Stephen:

    I read some of your earlier posts and I understand only part of your concerns. I get the part of there being human rights issues involved, and that the people who have developed IVF don’t seem to consider the embryos the produced by IVF as fully human. they wouldn’t be willing to implant one and destroy the rest if they did. You and I DO consider IVF embryos people, which is why we worry about what happens to them.

    But I still don’t see IVF and implantation per se as an attack on the integrity of the family. I see the surrogate as basicly a caregiver at a time when the child is especially vulnerable. The child’s mother is still his/her mother. I really think the use of the term “gestational carrier” was not an attempt to de-humanize the surrogate. I think this is the biological mom’s way of saying, “I am this child’s mother, not the surrogate”. And you can see why biological mom would want there to be no misunderstandings about that.

  • kerner

    Stephen:

    I read some of your earlier posts and I understand only part of your concerns. I get the part of there being human rights issues involved, and that the people who have developed IVF don’t seem to consider the embryos the produced by IVF as fully human. they wouldn’t be willing to implant one and destroy the rest if they did. You and I DO consider IVF embryos people, which is why we worry about what happens to them.

    But I still don’t see IVF and implantation per se as an attack on the integrity of the family. I see the surrogate as basicly a caregiver at a time when the child is especially vulnerable. The child’s mother is still his/her mother. I really think the use of the term “gestational carrier” was not an attempt to de-humanize the surrogate. I think this is the biological mom’s way of saying, “I am this child’s mother, not the surrogate”. And you can see why biological mom would want there to be no misunderstandings about that.

  • Grace

    Kerner,

    I have adopted, I understand the problems, risks and most all possibilities. It’s very important that children know where they come from.

    “But people have since ancient times given their children away to others to raise. They usually claim it is for the child’s own good, but I suspect it is often mainly for the biological parents’ good. And yet, adoptions are often very positive things for all parties and the laws of almost every civilization provide for them. Allowing a suitable couple to adopt an embryo doesn’t seem that different to me”

    Adopting a child is MUCH different then so called “adopt an embryo” – an “embryo” is seed and egg, it’s placed in the woman’s womb,….. purposely placing foreign embryo (egg and spearm) is joining oneself to another flesh while still married.

    7 ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,

    8 and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one.

    9Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” Mark 10:8

    Kerner, when a woman allows herself to be impregnanted by seed which isn’t her own, or her husbands it has no basis morally or Biblical. When we marry, we as women only sleep with our husbands, in this way, their seed is the only seed that brings forth our children from our wombs. We as man and wife are JOINED by God, we are not to separate ourselves from our spouses, we are ONE FLESH. God doesn’t give us the right to mix the seeds and eggs with others, nor do we have the right to exchange or give them away. We also have no right to freeze unused embryo’s.

    Wanting a child to the extent of In Vitro Fertilization takes the creation from God into ones own hands, and defies, God’s definition of marriage.

    the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one. – there is no three, four or more.

  • Grace

    Kerner,

    I have adopted, I understand the problems, risks and most all possibilities. It’s very important that children know where they come from.

    “But people have since ancient times given their children away to others to raise. They usually claim it is for the child’s own good, but I suspect it is often mainly for the biological parents’ good. And yet, adoptions are often very positive things for all parties and the laws of almost every civilization provide for them. Allowing a suitable couple to adopt an embryo doesn’t seem that different to me”

    Adopting a child is MUCH different then so called “adopt an embryo” – an “embryo” is seed and egg, it’s placed in the woman’s womb,….. purposely placing foreign embryo (egg and spearm) is joining oneself to another flesh while still married.

    7 ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,

    8 and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one.

    9Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” Mark 10:8

    Kerner, when a woman allows herself to be impregnanted by seed which isn’t her own, or her husbands it has no basis morally or Biblical. When we marry, we as women only sleep with our husbands, in this way, their seed is the only seed that brings forth our children from our wombs. We as man and wife are JOINED by God, we are not to separate ourselves from our spouses, we are ONE FLESH. God doesn’t give us the right to mix the seeds and eggs with others, nor do we have the right to exchange or give them away. We also have no right to freeze unused embryo’s.

    Wanting a child to the extent of In Vitro Fertilization takes the creation from God into ones own hands, and defies, God’s definition of marriage.

    the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one. – there is no three, four or more.

  • Grace

    Excellent article by Marvin Olasky at World Magazine

    World Magazine

    “Babies are back” January 29, 2011

    Trusting in man

    Behind political calculations lie theological assumptions | Marvin Olasky

    - excerpt from article:

    “The tendency to trust in man rather than God is everywhere apparent. Look at this Wall Street Journal headline from 2009: “A Baby, Please. Blond, Freckles—Hold the Colic. Laboratory techniques that screen for diseases in embryos are now being offered to create designer children.” Or this headline from last month: “Assembling the Global Baby. With an international network of surrogate mothers and egg and sperm donors, a new industry is emerging to produce children on the cheap.”

    (Last paragraph of article)

    “Trust in man, and we end up with both designer babies and abortions. Has any other civilization made life both so expensive and so cheap, so desired and so denigrated? Subjectivity rules. Jesus weeps.”

  • Grace

    Excellent article by Marvin Olasky at World Magazine

    World Magazine

    “Babies are back” January 29, 2011

    Trusting in man

    Behind political calculations lie theological assumptions | Marvin Olasky

    - excerpt from article:

    “The tendency to trust in man rather than God is everywhere apparent. Look at this Wall Street Journal headline from 2009: “A Baby, Please. Blond, Freckles—Hold the Colic. Laboratory techniques that screen for diseases in embryos are now being offered to create designer children.” Or this headline from last month: “Assembling the Global Baby. With an international network of surrogate mothers and egg and sperm donors, a new industry is emerging to produce children on the cheap.”

    (Last paragraph of article)

    “Trust in man, and we end up with both designer babies and abortions. Has any other civilization made life both so expensive and so cheap, so desired and so denigrated? Subjectivity rules. Jesus weeps.”

  • Jaimie

    I have not read any of the posts above however I am just looking for answers and help if anyone can give it to me. I guess I should start out by telling my story. I always knew that I wanted to have children from an early age. I am the youngest of four (from an integrated family one biological sister and two step). I met my husband while I was on vacation with my biological sister! I had just gotten out of a 5 year relationship and didn’t want to think about getting into another, however, here came this wonderful man who I guess you could say swept me off of my feet. I was only 22 at the time and he was 27. Well to make a long story short I found out that he was going through a divorce and had a daughter. That didn’t matter to me I loved him even more for it. Unfortunately he didn’t have full custody of her but fortunately his ex wife and I got along very well. Fast forward a couple of years and we got married and several months later we were pregnant! We had a beautiful baby boy in November of 05. We had lived in New Jersey at the time so we could be closer to my step-daughter but after having our son we moved back to long island which is where I grew up. My parents were both retired and said that they would watch our son. Although we wouldn’t be as close to my step daughter anymore (living wise) being that she was already in school and our son was still an infant and we both needed to work we knew this was best. We moved in with my parents for several months until we could find a house. I will never forget the day our son was 3 months old, my husband was working, and our beautiful boy woke up wanting a bottle! Problem was my left hand and arm wouldn’t move!!! I thought it was pins and needles so I did everything with my right hand! Well throughout the day my left hand and arm did not get any better! The next day it moved to my right side! This was an ongoing pattern. It got to the point where I couldn’t open bottles I couldn’t change our son’s diaper I was almost helpless. Thank god for my parents. My husband is a fireman and works 24 hour shifts so I am so grateful they were around. Well I went to the doctor they did blood work and I remember getting the call while I was trying to walk around the bronx zoo with my husband step daughter and son from my doctor. Verdict you have rheumatoid arthritis! I thought okay big deal an antibiotic would cure it boy was I wrong. Another long story short I was put on methotrexate a chemo therapy drug as well as prednizone. Both drugs weaken your immune system! Sure enough after only a month of being on them I came down with a severe case of pneumonia ( I’m a teacher). After that I swore I would do everything in my power not to be on medicine for this disease. Knock on wood so far so good. Here comes why I am asking for advice! I would love another child and so would my husband however we are afraid of what will happen to me and my body. Are we being selfish for wanting another child? Should we just be happy with the family that we have like my family keeps telling me? I can’t help but want another child to love and grow up with our other children! I guess my question is also do I try to have a child naturally or do we try through gestational surrogacy? Unfortunately two of my sisters are too old to help me and the other sister well she unfortunately is incapable. We don’t have any real spare money for the cost of this ( I don’t know how much it actually is nor can I imagine) but we desperately want another child. How selfish does that sound though to the families out there that can’t even have one! I don’t know I guess that is why I am searching for advice! I would appreciate any advice you have for me good or bad! Thanks! Jamac77@yahoo.com

  • Jaimie

    I have not read any of the posts above however I am just looking for answers and help if anyone can give it to me. I guess I should start out by telling my story. I always knew that I wanted to have children from an early age. I am the youngest of four (from an integrated family one biological sister and two step). I met my husband while I was on vacation with my biological sister! I had just gotten out of a 5 year relationship and didn’t want to think about getting into another, however, here came this wonderful man who I guess you could say swept me off of my feet. I was only 22 at the time and he was 27. Well to make a long story short I found out that he was going through a divorce and had a daughter. That didn’t matter to me I loved him even more for it. Unfortunately he didn’t have full custody of her but fortunately his ex wife and I got along very well. Fast forward a couple of years and we got married and several months later we were pregnant! We had a beautiful baby boy in November of 05. We had lived in New Jersey at the time so we could be closer to my step-daughter but after having our son we moved back to long island which is where I grew up. My parents were both retired and said that they would watch our son. Although we wouldn’t be as close to my step daughter anymore (living wise) being that she was already in school and our son was still an infant and we both needed to work we knew this was best. We moved in with my parents for several months until we could find a house. I will never forget the day our son was 3 months old, my husband was working, and our beautiful boy woke up wanting a bottle! Problem was my left hand and arm wouldn’t move!!! I thought it was pins and needles so I did everything with my right hand! Well throughout the day my left hand and arm did not get any better! The next day it moved to my right side! This was an ongoing pattern. It got to the point where I couldn’t open bottles I couldn’t change our son’s diaper I was almost helpless. Thank god for my parents. My husband is a fireman and works 24 hour shifts so I am so grateful they were around. Well I went to the doctor they did blood work and I remember getting the call while I was trying to walk around the bronx zoo with my husband step daughter and son from my doctor. Verdict you have rheumatoid arthritis! I thought okay big deal an antibiotic would cure it boy was I wrong. Another long story short I was put on methotrexate a chemo therapy drug as well as prednizone. Both drugs weaken your immune system! Sure enough after only a month of being on them I came down with a severe case of pneumonia ( I’m a teacher). After that I swore I would do everything in my power not to be on medicine for this disease. Knock on wood so far so good. Here comes why I am asking for advice! I would love another child and so would my husband however we are afraid of what will happen to me and my body. Are we being selfish for wanting another child? Should we just be happy with the family that we have like my family keeps telling me? I can’t help but want another child to love and grow up with our other children! I guess my question is also do I try to have a child naturally or do we try through gestational surrogacy? Unfortunately two of my sisters are too old to help me and the other sister well she unfortunately is incapable. We don’t have any real spare money for the cost of this ( I don’t know how much it actually is nor can I imagine) but we desperately want another child. How selfish does that sound though to the families out there that can’t even have one! I don’t know I guess that is why I am searching for advice! I would appreciate any advice you have for me good or bad! Thanks! Jamac77@yahoo.com


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