The devil likes to paint sin as good. He likes to seduce us with images of grandeur and happiness.
Each of his lies has a sliver of truth in them, lest we reject them outright and never listen to him.
When it comes to the problem of infertility, demonic influences have gained considerable ground and continue their full-out assault of destroying the moral life.
Yes, infertility remains a heavy cross for couples to bear. The Catholic Church recognizes this and suffers alongside couples. The Church is out to help couples.
Keep that in mind as I point out that the Church receives a large amount of criticism for opposing infertility interventions like in vitro fertilization (IVF), artificial insemination, surrogacy, and similar techniques.
“Couples who discover that they are sterile suffer greatly,” bemoans the Catechism of the Catholic Church (2374).
“Research aimed at reducing human sterility is to be encouraged,” continues the Catechism (2375).
SO WHY IS SURROGACY WRONG?
The Catechism goes on in section 2375 to give the caveat that such research is encouraged, so long as a few conditions are met. The Catechism quotes the Council for the Doctrine of the Faith’s Donum vitae (The Gift of Life). The research must be “at the service of human person, of his inalienable rights, and his true and integral good according to the design and will of God.”
Thus, we see that the Church recognizes certain, inalienable rights of all human beings. Among these, the Catechism goes on to innumerate some of them that are violated in the practice of IVF, artificial insemination, and surrogacy:
“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,’” (2376, citing Donum vitae, emphasis added).
Thus, for a woman to be used as a surrogate, by having a baby implanted in her, remains gravely immoral. Surrogacy is an injustice to the child, as well as to the marriage it claims to be aiding.
The Church in her Catechism goes on to admit that using these techniques within the confines of mixing only the sex cells of a married couple “are perhaps less reprehensible, yet remain morally unacceptable” (2377).
Section 2377 of the Catechism gives some brilliant explanations as to why surrogacy (and IVF as a whole) remains morally and ethically disastrous.
First, it points out that allowing children to be conceived outside the conjugal act is to disconnect that act from its procreative powers. This ruinous shift moves the generation of new human life completely away from two persons giving themselves to one another in complete unity, to putting it into the hands of lab technicians.
Third parties need not get in between the married couple and their conjugal union. To do so, the Catechism points out, is to dismantle the inherit dignity of the relationship between parents and their children.
In other words, if human life can be created without the need for conjugal acts between husbands and wives, then the family—you know, the backbone of civilization—will disintegrate. We’re already seeing this unfold before us.
Moreover, if left alone, nature has an intended course for procreation: the conjugal act, fertilization, gestation, and birth. This process needs only two participants to bring forth a new human being: the mother and the father. To introduce a third party at any point as an intermediary defies the purpose of the conjugal act and the purpose of the reproductive organs of the body.
Taking a step away from the Catechism’s teachings a moment, let’s think about this. Who thinks it is moral to purposely inject a baby, belonging to a married man, into the womb of a woman to which he is not married?
As a married man myself, I find it hard to fathom how any husband would be happy seeing a woman, with whom he never had sexual relations with, carry his baby. That is not only unnatural, it damages his manhood.
The IVF advocacy crowd and the surrogacy proponents fail to talk about the phsycological damage they are causing to the children they are breeding in labs.
Rather than being a result of an act of total self-giving between one’s parents, each child was brought into this world by the work of lab technicians, as if they are nothing more than scientific experiments.
Such children have grown up and many are speaking out in opposition to the technology. But they are being purposely ignored. They’re supposed to be just grateful to be alive and to remain quiet.
I will leave you with two reminders.
One, “a child is not something owed to one, but is a gift,” (Catechism 2378, emphasis original).
Two, if you or something you know does struggle with infertility, a morally licit and wonderful way to treat that is to contact those who practice Naprotechology. They work with the body to try to diagnose the cause of the sterility, so it can be overcome.
So, what thoughts do you have on surrogacy?
Please share them below!