The Word on the Week

Womb for Rent

According to the press Ireland is lagging behind with its implementation of surrogacy laws. Children are arriving in Ireland to find their pedigree is flawed. They have emanated from a surrogate mother who they are unlikely ever to meet but who, in some cases, has imparted her DNA to the child. Just when we were coming to terms with children not knowing who their father was, we are now confronted with the 21st century problem of them not knowing who the mother was either!

Because of cost considerations India is the preferred location of the carrier. The price there is less that half the $80,000 it costs in the US, even after taking into account the expense of travel. Various loan options are available on the internet providing the funds to boost this €2 billion industry. Interestingly India forbids gender selection but you can presumably get a bargain by designing twins or even triplets. With wombs for hire same sex couples can have children – lots of them. On the downside there is no maternity or paternity leave available for the happy couple and the psychological risks have yet to be fully assessed.

Spare a thought for the surrogate child with no nationality, no passport and no legal parent. What has the Bible to say to this brave new world? The Bible has encouraging news, not only for the barren woman but for the surrogate child. There is another form of family which the Bible recognises. This arises when someone realises that they are a sinner and they are awakened to the fact that they can do something about it. The Biblical remedy is to pray to God that He might reveal Jesus as the sinbearer who personally carried their sins on the cross, cleansing the believing one so that they might live a new life. The common term for this is being born again or born from above. It places the believer in a new family with new brothers and sisters where God can truly be addressed as Father.

St Paul writes to the Galatian church, recognising the fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophesy’s that the barren will rejoice over her spiritual children and that these children will be more numerous than the one who has a husband – Galatians 4:27. This is good news not only for the childless Christians but for the believing surrogate children who can now have an identity in Christ and a family of fellow believers.