Surrogacy. A Pastoral Approach

  1. Lemma
  2. Суррогатное материнство. Пастырский подход
  3. Russian
  4. Asliturk, Miriam
  5. Ethics - Scientific theories and disciplines > Medicine
  6. 11-07-2018
  7. Обухов, Максим [Author]. Суррогатное материнство. Пастырский поход
  8. Церковь и Биоэтика: Церковно-общественный совет по биомедицинской этике при Московской Патриархии.
  9. in vitro fertilisation - Russian Orthodox Church - surrogacy - surrogate motherhood - bioethics - assisted reproduction
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    1. <p>Обухов, Максим (2014). Суррогатное материнство. Пастырский подход. <em>Церковь и Биоэтика: Церковно-общественный совет по биомедицинской этике при Московской Патриархии</em>. Retrieved from: <a href=""></a> </p>
    1. The author believes that the necessity to discuss the problem of surrogacy in Russia is brought about by the liberalization of legislation on surrogacy and by wide media coverage of the topic. The Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) has held a firm negative attitude toward surrogacy, seeing it as a rental of the female body for pregnancy. For the ROC, surrogacy is an ethically unacceptable reproductive technology.

      The ROC’s hierarchs requested a document from a theological commission on the possibility of baptism for children born via surrogacy. The ROC does not see baptism as a direct path to Christianity. Only Christian couples can baptize their babies because the Church is sure that these children will get a proper Christian education. When parents use surrogacy they put themselves outside of the Church and therefore their children cannot be baptized by the ROC. When the child grows up he or she can consciously decide to be baptized.

      The Church does not see a child born from surrogacy as “defective”. Rather, it considers such children to be victims of unethical treatment on the part of their parents. Restriction of baptism is a preventive measure to warn people from breaking God’s order. Through this regulation the ROC forbids its followers the use of surrogacy. There are parents that wait for a long time before having children and then when it is too late they use surrogacy. For the ROC this means that they sinned and then found another sin as a solution to their problems. Such couples should receive special attention from priests and seek an alternative to surrogacy via adoption or other ways that are not against Christian ethics.

      Ideologists of surrogacy go too far in justifying their technology when they cite the Bible and the story of birth of Ishmael. In the Biblical story, Abraham’s elderly wife suggests that their maiden Hagar gives birth to a child of Abraham. But the biological mother, Hagar, never refused to be the mother of Ishmael. In surrogacy, it is unclear who the true parents of the child are and why the person who gave birth to the child is deprived of parenthood.

      Donors of sperm and ovules act irresponsibly as well because the artificial reproduction technology implies killing human embryos if there are too many of them. Some researchers say 10 embryos are killed in extracorporeal conception. There are many dangers for women who agree to use their bodies as surrogate mothers. For example, they may have psychological problems when a child is taken away from them. Another problem is that abrupt weaning can cause breast cancer in the future. The author concludes that women who want to have a baby when they are over 60 through surrogacy need psychological help themselves.