The Overlooked Ethics of Reproduction
Techniques that entail the dissociation of husband and wife, by the intrusion of a person other than the couple (donation of sperm or ovum, surrogate uterus), are gravely immoral. These techniques (heterologous artificial insemination and fertilization) infringe the child's right to be born of a father and mother known to him and bound to each other by marriage. They betray the spouses' "right to become a father and a mother only through each other.
The barren womb is a matter of great heartache and sadness. But is it unlike any other suffering we are asked to carry? In what ways might Job's question, "Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?" affect our thinking about infertility?
Decades ago, the examples of situations that mark today's reality in assisted reproduction would have seemed far-fetched and maybe even crazy. But over the past 20-plus years, Protestants haven't done the hard work of thinking Christianly about infertility or about new reproductive technologies such as IVF, sperm and egg donation, and surrogacy. The Brave New World is here, and we can't ignore or side-step these issues any longer.
Jennifer Lahl is president of the Center for Bioethics and Culture, a nonprofit focused on the intersection of health and wellness, medicine, science and technology, and law and public policy around matters in bioethics.
To add a comment you need to be a registered user or Christianity Today subscriber.