She’s 58 and post-menopausal. But, next month, Utah resident Julia Navarro plans to give birth to her own granddaughter! Navarro reportedly volunteered to have her daughter and son-in-law’s embryo implanted in her womb after her daughter’s attempts to have children proved unsuccessful.
No doubt, Ms. Navarro’s actions show great sacrifice and devotion to her daughter. And, her surrogacy makes possible something that otherwise seemed impossible. Yet, is surrogacy, which is steadily growing in popularity, really a God-honoring way to solve the problem of infertility?
In the Bible, Abraham and Sarah used their servant, Hagar, as a surrogate when Sarah appeared barren. But, this surrogacy produced family dynamics so volatile that Abraham eventually had to expel Hagar and their son, Ishmael, from his family. These unusual and disordered familial relationships almost always result from using surrogates and those considering surrogacy should take this into account.
Surrogacy also distorts the symbolic significance of sexual union. God designed the union of husband and wife to reflect the unity and love of the Trinity. And children, if and when they are conceived, are meant to reflect the overflow of Triune love. They’re meant to be received by parents as a gift, not manufactured in a test-tube and implanted in a third-party when God’s timing and will doesn’t align with our own.
In addition, the in-vitro fertilization process surrogacy requires almost always produces excess embryos. This is extremely problematic because these excess embryos – human beings – are frequently frozen indefinitely, or worse, destroyed.
All this being said, as someone who’s suffered multiple miscarriages, I empathize with those who struggle with infertility. And, I don’t see anything wrong with seeking help for infertility from the medical community. Yet, turning to unnatural and third-party solutions, which violate God’s design, is simply not our prerogative. It usurps God’s authority – and may also reveal a lack of trust in God’s goodness and sovereignty.