Religious and Scientific view of Surrogacy

Religious and Scientific views of Surrogacy

Religion is related to humanity, as it is the cultural system that depicts social organization, behavioral practice, and ethics from a global perspective.

Our religious outlook, supported by molecular and genetic science has already accepted that the instinct of parenthood is a physiological phenomenon of the whole animal kingdom, including human beings.

Reproduction is a natural biological process for every animal species to propagate parental genetic traits to the next generation.

But, unfortunately, some reproductive functional deficits can restrict the natural propagation of genetic traits, and the outcome is clinically termed infertility.

The advancement of medical science offers several reproduction techniques to overcome infertility issues.

Surrogacy is a type of assisted reproduction technique, derived from the Latin term “Surrogates”, which means a substitute.

Surrogacy opts when an infertile couple is unable to carry and deliver a baby due to physical or mental challenges.

In surrogacy, a woman gets pregnant to deliver a child to another person or couple.

Integration of medical science advancement, social acceptance, availability of clinical service, and individual willingness make surrogacy realistic.

The first traditional surrogacy was described in the Old Testament of the Bible, which was happened almost 2000 years BC.

There are two types of surrogacy mainly practiced all over the globe, i.e. traditional and gestational.

Traditional surrogacy is scientifically explained as the artificial process by which the sperm of the intended father is inseminated into the surrogate mother.

In this case, the surrogate mother is a genetic parent of the offspring, as her eggs are used for fertilization. 

Whereas, the in-vitro fertilization process is utilized in gestational surrogacy to generate an embryo of the intended parents or by using a donor’s sperm or oocyte.

It is then implanted into a surrogate’s uterus.

In gestational surrogacy, there is no genetic connection between offspring and surrogacy, only women who carry the fetus have a role as a gestational carriers.

Clinically, these two types of surrogacy arrangements are usually practiced, which include Altruistic surrogacy and Commercial surrogacy.

  • Altruistic surrogacy: In this arrangement, only necessary medical expenses for pregnancy are accepted. Neither financial involvement nor the relinquishment deed is involved between the parents of the child and the surrogate mother.
  • Commercial surrogacy: In this arrangement, a lump-sum amount of financial payment has to be done to the surrogate mother along with necessary medical expenses.

From the scientific perspective, surrogacy is a systemic medical technique applied to resolve social concerns in a dignified way.

In clinical practice, surrogacy is considered medical treatment for infertility like any other remedial treatment prescribed to cure different health disorders.

Usually, the religion of the surrogate does not create any matter for the couple who opt for surrogacy because the offspring belongs to the same parental genetic trait.

In 2012, the Pew Research Center reported that about 84% of people in the world belong to one of the five largest religions, which are Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, or folk religion.

The attitudes toward the assistive reproductive technique (ART) are highly influenced by religion.

Some religions accept this, while some reject these techniques.

There is a continuous debate on the acceptance and advancement of ART among communities, countries, and people.

Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, and Shi’a Islam completely accepted the assistive reproductive techniques including surrogacy, gamete donation, and fetal reduction along with intrauterine insemination (IUI), in-vitro fertilization (IVF), and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD).

Whereas, surrogacy is a concern for Sunni Islam, however, they accept other assistive reproductive techniques. Protestants, Anglicans, and Coptic allow only IUI and IVF, but other techniques are not accepted.

Orthodox reject all assistive reproductive techniques except IUI.

But Catholicism does not allow any method of ART.

Therefore, religions play a major role in the social acceptance of surrogacy.

Not only religion, but some countries like China and Japan accepted IUI, IVF, and PGD, but do not allow other techniques.

Recently, Japan allowed sperm donation, but not oocytes.

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