When individuals or couples are unable to naturally bear children, they have several other alternatives in starting a family. Certainly, while adoption is one choice, there are many who wish to see a child through conception, pregnancy, birth, and rearing. For some, there is also the issue of having a true biological connection with that child.
Oftentimes these individuals will choose the surrogacy process in order to accomplish their goal of having a child. In this situation, a third party, referred to as the surrogate mother, will carry the embryo throughout the pregnancy, giving up the baby to its intended parents at the time of birth.
While this procedure has become much more accepted over the years, there are many religious groups and organizations that frown upon it, stating that it is not natural – with some even going so far as to call surrogacy "pregnancy-for-hire."
The use of a surrogate mother to bear children for couples who are unable to conceive for themselves is a process that is thousands of years old. This is proven in the writings of the Bible through the story of Abraham and his wife Sarah who was infertile.
At this time in the earth's history, a woman who was childless was oftentimes shamed by her family and friends. Therefore, these women would offer their servants to act as "surrogates" for the purpose of bearing children for her.
While the Bible does not specifically forbid the process of surrogacy itself, it does raise the question of whether or not it is considered to be moral and/or ethical with regard to keeping children conceived out of love and born only of two individuals who are a married couple.
With this in mind, the Bible has also been interpreted as stating that children are a gift, not a right. Therefore, God will bless some people with children and others not. Yet, regardless of how these phrases are interpreted, it is oftentimes a devastating and heartbreaking experience when one discovers that they are unable to conceive and have a child of their own.
In addition to the numerous issues that surround using a surrogate to assist with child conception and birth, there is also the ethical and moral question that some groups have with those who are actually acting as a surrogate mother herself.
Some feel that using a surrogate mother to help in child bearing is a privilege that is reserved only for the wealthy, as the cost may be prohibitive for most. There are, however, many surrogacy clinics that offer payment plans – and even refunds for unsuccessful pregnancy attempts – so the process may soon become much more mainstream.
While certainly moral issues are important to follow and abide by, it is difficult to judge anyone unless or until they "have walked a mile in the other person's shoes." This being the case, it is felt by many that infertility is a medical condition – and until anyone has actually faced the reality of not being able to have a child, it is difficult to get a feel for how truly devastating this situation can be.
With this in mind, those who act as surrogate mothers are performing a truly needed service to those whose lives will be forever changed when they are finally able to hold and love a child of their very own.