Recently, the famous married couple of Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra announced that they welcomed their first child into this world by way of a surrogate. A surrogate mother is a woman who is artificially impregnated and then carries the baby in pregnancy for another couple. Once the surrogate mother delivers the baby, she surrenders the baby to the couple for whom she was carrying it.
While the Church has very specific teachings about the morality of issues like surrogacy, IVF, and egg donation, Timmerie took this opportunity to examine the specifics of why practices like this can prove harmful on a recent episode of Trending with Timmerie.
The Church teaches that children are a gift from God. They are not a piece of property that you can take or reject out of personal desire. Therefore, if you are called by God to be blessed with children, they are to be conceived and carried naturally by a husband and wife, the original and biological parents. The involvement of a third party like a surrogate mother or an egg or sperm donor is immoral. It is the manipulation of the origin of life because you do not like the outcome.
As Timmerie pointed out, there are several reasons one might pursue something like surrogacy. Some women might struggle with infertility and see IVF or surrogacy as the only option to become pregnant. Others see pregnancy as a setback, either for their careers or their bodies. They don’t want to deal with not working, with weight gain, or with potential health complications. In either case, the core reason is the same: you aren’t getting what you want. As difficult as pregnancy struggles may be, the truth is that God is asking you to endure whatever they may be for a reason.
All that being said, there is one thing we should remember as the focal point of this discussion. “We have to acknowledge – and this is an important position we must hold – no matter the means in which a new life comes into the world, every child is a gift meant to be valued and respected,” said TImmerie. The problem is obviously not with new life, but the process by which someone is choosing to bring the child into this world.
That process in question is the artificial “manufacturing” of human life in a petri dish in a lab. The medical staff fertilize as many eggs as possible and hope that at least one makes it to the point at which a surrogate can carry the baby. Then what happens with the rest of the babies? They are babies after all. Life begins when those eggs are fertilized, at that moment of conception. In the specific case of Jaclyn Misch, they began with 24 fertilized eggs and the surrogate mother ended up carrying one. The others either died because of their inability to survive, were aborted, or were frozen “in case the couple wants to have another child”.
While some might justify these practices as an alternative to traditional childbearing by comparing them to adoption, they couldn’t be more different. While adoption is an act of selflessness that does not alter the life cycle and actually improves the quality of life for individual(s), artificial fertilization is a science experiment aimed at producing the perfect specimen. These labs are completely fine with sacrificing the lives of these other babies or freezing them in order to produce one ideal baby.
And finally, artificial fertilization can prove harmful to the mother for several different reasons. Many women these days are being encouraged to harvest, donate, or freeze their eggs for the purpose of creating children. The process to do this involves the hyperstimulation of the ovaries which is a highly unnatural process. Hyperstimulation can lead to inflammation and menstrual cycle issues, premature menopause, and even further fertility complications.
These practices, while certainly aimed at a positive outcome, involve disordered and manipulative means. We cannot disregard women’s health, disregard human lives, nor allow the overwhelming desire to be a parent cloud our judgment in the pursuance of creating life. At the end of the day, we welcome all babies into this world, no matter how they were conceived, no matter what conditions they were born under or born with, but we pray for the day when all life is embraced in the way that God intended.
Listen to the full segment below:
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