Bioethical narrative in modern theological discourse (using the example of surrogate motherhood technology)

  1. Lemma
  2. Биоэтический нарратив в современном теологическом дискурсе (на примере технологии суррогатного материнства
  3. Russian
  4. Asliturk, Miriam
  5. Ethics - Scientific theories and disciplines > Biology - Scientific theories and disciplines > Medicine
  6. 19-08-2018
  7. Андреева, Л. Е. [Author]. Биоэтический нарратив в современном теологическом дискурсе (на примере технологии суррогатного материнства)
  8. Вестник Русской христианской гуманитарной академии
  9. Catholic Church - Russian Orthodox Church - biomedical technology - bioethics - surrogacy
  10. Click Here
    1. <p>Андреева, Л. Е. (2014). Биоэтический нарратив в современном теологическом дискурсе (на примере технологии суррогатного материнства). <em>Вестник Русской христианской гуманитарной академии</em>, 15 (1), 42-48.</p>
    1. The author argues that attitudes toward surrogacy and other modern medical technologies reflect society’s perception of reality. In the author's view, society is often not well informed of new technologies and invents a "mythology" around them. New discoveries go so far as to provide temptation to improve on human nature - something that conflicts with traditional and religious values. 

      The first child birthed by a surrogate mother was in 1986 in the USA. The Catholic Church immediately reacted negatively and influenced governments of many countries to ban or limit surrogacy. In Russia, the first surrogate children were born in 1995 at the Otto Institute of Gynaecology in St. Petersburg. In 2013 a public scandal broke out in Russia when Russian celebrity couples wanted to baptize their children, birthed by a surrogate mother. The Russian Orthodox Church issued a special document on the issue. Supporters of surrogacy refer to Hagar from the book of Genesis as the first surrogate mother. The author disagrees with this interpretation stating that the story of Hagar is more about polygamy than surrogacy.

      The Russian Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church believe that one's personality appears at the moment of conception. There is another opinion which claims that this happens when the embryo connects to the mother’s womb (14 days after conception). For the Russian Orthodox Church, motherhood implies pregnancy. Thus surrogacy is against the concept of family. At the same time a surrogate mother cannot be seen as a simple incubator. As well, the meaning of marriage is salvation for a righteous couple, not just having children. Therefore seeing family only as procreation is a sin. Other concerns of the Church lie within the concept of God’s will. The question here is whether it is God’s will to help people procreate when they cannot.

      In conclusion, the Russian Orthodox Church sees the human body as a sacred temple; people should be co-workers of God in the advancement of technology, but do not have the right to take over God's functions, as is the case with surrogacy. This is why the Russian Orthodox Church forbids baptizing children born out of surrogacy in order to “educate” sinful parents.