Surrogate mothers can be found throughout history. There is a popular misconception that surrogacy is new phenomenon. However, surrogacy is even seen in the biblical Book of Genesis. In those times, it was perfectly acceptable for a surrogate to carry a child for a woman and her husband. In general, the father personally and intimately impregnated the surrogate.
This was often done to bring children to couples who could not otherwise conceive. When couples were unable to conceive, the wives were blamed and it would sometimes result in divorce. An additional concern was that the man would be left without an heir to his estate. The lack of a heir was especially dangerous because it could result in the dissolution of an estate or land holdings.
In Genesis, a servant give birth to a child that is to be raised by another couple, Abraham and Sarah. This practice was not at all uncommon and was widely accepted. It is interesting to note that many modern religions see surrogacy and its associated procedures as sins against God. Yet, biblical history suggests that some religious people asked God to give them children through a surrogate.
Surrogates were seen as performing a service to God by producing a child in his name. This conflict of modern and historical religion is repeated in many facets of human existence. In more recent history, surrogacy has had its ups and downs. It appears that as medical science makes advancements in the practice and associated procedures, society has increasing difficulties accepting surrogacy. For example, there are many people that have issues with the destruction of unused embryos.
In vitro fertilization is relatively new to surrogacy and perhaps that is why there are many moral and ethical issues associated with it. In general, issues with surrogacy are associated with surrogacy procedures rather than the actually practice of surrogates carrying a baby for someone else. In addition, laws frequently lag behind medical advancements. This can add to the ethical conflicts that arise from the use of a surrogate. Surrogate mothers are found throughout history.
While there has recently been more media coverage on the subject, there has not been much change regarding society’s acceptance of the practice of being a surrogate. As is often the case, the real issues lie in the procedures used to attempt pregnancy through a surrogate. In early times, surrogates achieved pregnancy in the same way that all women did, through intercourse. However, medical advancements have made that an unnecessary facet of becoming a surrogate.
Yet, these medical advancements in surrogacy have actually caused the most controversy. Surrogates and intended parents are likely to encounter opposition to their decision. However, this has been the case throughout history. The dilemma for intended parents is likely going to be in which procedure they should choose. Each procedure and type of surrogacy, will have its own moral and ethical dilemmas attached to it.
Intended parents need only to consult the history of surrogacy to see that only the procedures have changed. History tells many success stories involving surrogacy and also, the ways that it has failed. Intended parents should learn from mistakes made by others, and do their best not to repeat them.