The Brave New World of Gestation Surrogacy

My great-great-great-great-great-grandfather was Aaron Ruse Sr. who was born in Virginia circa 1764. I know the name of his son and his son and his son and so on down to my own father. I know the names of their brothers and sisters. I know the names of their children. I know where most of these family members were born and where most of them died.

There is a house in Loudon County, Virginia that is called the John Ruse House, where Aaron Ruse’s grandson John—my great-great-grandfather—lived. I have seen this house.

With a little effort, I could find the name of Grandpa Aaron’s father and where he came from in England and could likely stretch it further back to France where they were Huguenots and came to so much grief from my Catholic brother Cardinal Richelieu.

My mother is a Luman descended from Kasers and Balches and in Marblehead, Massachusetts there still stands the Balch House, the oldest freestanding house in America. I have seen this house, too.

There is a kind of comfort in all this, to know where you came from, what stock, your kin, the land they walked and worked, and the houses where they lived, where they fought. The point is that I know.

There is pride in ancestry even if you can only go back to grandfathers or great-grandfathers and no further. But what if you did not even know the name of your father?

It was reported a few days ago that Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana vetoed a bill on gestational surrogacy that has caused at least a mini-eruption of outrage and served to elevate a vitally important issue that goes largely unreported and quite frankly undebated, too.

Gestational surrogacy is a messy business. There are many kinds: gestational surrogacy and egg donation, gestational surrogacy and sperm donation, gestational surrogacy and embryo donation, and others.

Consider this definition of gestational surrogacy and embryo donation: “A surrogate is inseminated using donor embryo. Such embryos may be available when others undergoing IVF have embryos left over, which they opt to donate to others. With this method, the resulting child is genetically unrelated to the intended parents and genetically unrelated to the surrogate.”

That’s right. The closest this lucky kid ever gets to blood relatives is never. And they do this deliberately in order to please adults. No other reason.

Who could object to fulfilling an adult desire to have children? Who could object to giving life to babies? Well, for starters, some of those babies, now grown, object.

A young woman named Alana Newman who was conceived from an anonymous donor has made it her life’s work to stop gestational surrogacy. All she knows about her father is the color of his hair and that he was a doctor. But even this is new for she thought he was a musician and an artist. In fact, Alana spent huge parts of her young life playing guitar and taking an art degree, all because she wondered if this made her more like him, that gaping hole in her life that should be called father.

The gestational surrogacy industry is massive, generating $3.3 billion per year. No one knows for sure, but estimates range between 30,000 and 60,000 children are born this way each year, by science and not by sex, except for masturbation.

What is largely unknown, ignored or mocked is the effect on donor-conceived children of being deliberately created through an exchange of money, through a marketplace where hair color and athletic prowess are picked from catalogues, and where fathers are unknown, unknowable, gone. Gone, too, grandfathers, aunts, uncles, cousins and all the family that generally comes with being born. What is the effect on such a child when he discovers this?

For the most part, we do not know and most folks don’t really care. If the child discovers this at all it’s usually by accident or when the family breaks apart. “You know, Johnny. Your father is not really your father. Your father was donor 2256 at the fertility clinic across town. You want to know who he is. Sorry. You’ll never know.”

When these children do find out their true origin, their worlds turn sideways and sends many of them skidding into a lifetime of serious problems. Some of them knew something was up all along because they did not seem like anyone else in the family. They may have looked like mom but nothing whatsoever like dad. Alana sensed she was treated differently from her biologically conceived sister. She didn’t know why until her conception was revealed to her.

Elizabeth Marquardt and two colleagues conducted the first ever study of children created this way and what they found is not at all surprising and profoundly sad.

They repeat a June 2008 Newsweek story of a woman who sought out the man whose sperm she used to become pregnant. The man visited the home where she had raised their son now ten. “When [the mother] told her son that she had tracked down his donor dad, ‘he lit up,’ she says, then burst into tears. For years, [the boy] had kept a ‘daddy box’ under his bed filled with special handmade items—a painted rock, an angel ornament with his photo in it. Finally, just weeks before his 10th birthday, he had someone to give it to. ‘I’ve always wanted a dad,’ he said.”

Read that without crying, you can’t, then multiply your tears by a few hundred thousand or more and you have a slight understanding of this global problem.

According to the Marquardt study, “My Daddy’s Name is Donor” these children are deeply harmed by what has happened to them.

  • Twenty-one percent of donor offspring have had trouble with the law before the age of 25.
  • Twenty-one percent say they have been unable to control their use of alcohol or other substances.
  • Forty-five percent said the circumstances of their conception bother them.

The study found that for donor-conceived offspring “family relationships are more often characterized by confusion, tension, and loss.” And “young adults conceived through sperm donation experience profound struggles with their origins and identities.”

Donor-conceived children worry later about inadvertently meeting and falling in love with a sibling unknown to them. After all, some donors are the fathers of hundreds, even thousands, of children.

One common theme with the donor conceived is their intense desire to know where they come from. There are medical reasons for knowing since many conditions or diseases are inherited and these children will never know. But there are other more profound reasons.

Jennifer Lahl’s documentary Anonymous Father’s Day features a young woman who said, “I look in the mirror and I don’t know who I look like. I don’t know who I came from. I know my father is Jewish, so there is a whole family history that is probably painful and beautiful. I want to know that story. I want my children to know.”

Advocates for donor-conceived children argue convincingly that the focus on surrogacy is never on the children but only on the desire of the adults to have children, and the adults are quite willing to violate the human rights of these children in order to buy them.

Robert Oscar Lopez, who runs the blog English Manif, is a bi-sexual man raised by lesbians and now married with children who leads a campaign for children’s rights and calls for an end to gestational surrogacy. He believes it is a violation of human rights to deliberately create a child without a father, and is especially outraged by same-sex couples doing this because same-sex relationships are inherently unstable and therefore dangerous for children.

Donor-conceived children point out the industry is a form of slavery since children are bought and sold with genes that promise blond hair and blue eyes going to the highest bidders. They call it the commodification of human life, something the left ought to object to but largely doesn’t.

Others call it slavery for another reason. A young woman listing herself says, “Just to let you know, if chosen I will undeniably be the best GS mother…. If you wish me to stay bedridden that is what I will do. I am carrying your child and want you to have the optimal experience as well.” Just because it is seemingly voluntary does not mean it is not slavery. And note the bedridden woman is culpable in the buying and selling of another human being.

When Alana Newman stepped out to complain about this, she expected cheers, especially from the left. She got jeers instead. She says, “The method of my conception was humiliating and dehumanizing enough in itself but people are extremely vicious and use intimidating tactics.”

She said a commenter on a blog told a friend of hers, “Too bad you weren’t in the load your dad flushed down the toilet.” What Newman found was not compassion but a billion dollar business and men and women intent on buying babies.

Advocates say the problem is now global. In the early days a donor might have been one of the students at the local medical school and a donor-conceived child could conceivably write letters to those who went to that school in hopes of finding her dad. Now, the sperm just as likely may come from Denmark and the egg from Russia.

Many countries have regulations for this sort of thing; limiting the number of eggs that can be fertilized, for instance, or requiring a registry that children may access to find their fathers. But the U.S. is wide open. It is the Wild West. There are no regulations, none, seriously, none. And no way a child can find her father except writing letters and scouring the Internet. One plaintive Internet cry of the heart simply said, “Are you XYTEX Donor 2035?”

There is a Donor Sibling Registry that has been fairly successful in linking up siblings and even fathers and their children but it is entirely voluntary. Many, perhaps most, of these sperm donors do not want to be known. One donor-conceived woman finally found her donor father. After repeated attempts to contact him all she got back was threats of legal action. She was rejected once prior to birth and then this second shattering time.

One man featured in Lahl’s Anonymous Father’s Day is one of hundreds created at mid-century by a notorious fertility doctor in Great Britain. He discovered his origin in middle age though he said he knew all along there was a monstrous lie in the family. He just did not know what it was. He wrote a book about his search called Bio-Dad. He said that to pretend blood does not matter goes against human nature though the surrogacy industry insists that blood does not matter, that the donor-conceived have no need to know their own blood. The author of Bio-Dad asks who can possibly believe your relationship with a co-worker would not change immediately if you happened to discover she was also your sister.

The war over the human person is closer to the beginning than to the middle. We do not know what monstrosities await us this century and beyond but we know they’re coming. We must thank God for the single institution that stands as a bulwark against all these monstrous notions, who always gets it exactly right, who stands foursquare for the human person even though the whole world hates Her for it. For the life of me I cannot understand how any religious person cannot cling to the Barque of Peter and never let go.

Austin Ruse

By

Austin Ruse is president of C-FAM (Center for Family & Human Rights), a New York and Washington DC-based research institute. He is the author of Fake Science: Exposing the Left’s Skewed Statistics, Fuzzy Facts, and Dodgy Data published by Regnery. He is also the author of the new book Little Suffering Souls: Children Whose Short Lives Point Us to Christ published by Tan Books. The views expressed here are solely his own.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    The French approach is very instructive

    In an adoption case that came before the country’s highest court on 31 May 1991, the Cour de cassion regarded as a perversion of the institution of adoption the plenary adoption of a child when this is only “the final phase of an overall process designed to enable a couple to take into their home a child conceived under contract and requiring that child’s abandonment at birth by his or her mother.”

    It did so by invoking Art 1128 of the Code Civil, which provides that “only things in trade can be the subject of an agreement.” This means a child cannot be the subject or source of a transaction. Similarly, there can be no ownership of human gametes or embryos, ; this is excluded by Art 16-1 of the Code Civil, which provides that “The human body, its elements and its products may not form the subject of a patrimonial right.” Nor can they be bought or sold, for Art 16-5 reinforces the general prohibition of Art 1128, by providing that “Agreements that have the effect of bestowing a patrimonial value to the human body, its elements or products are void.” Finally, out of an abundance of caution, Art 16-7 provides that “All agreements relating to procreation or gestation on account of a third party are void.”

    There is strong support for the laws that prevent children being treated as articles of commerce, civil status as a matter of private negotiation and women, especially the poor and those in Third-World countries, as brood-mares for the well-to-do.

    The CDF set out Catholic teaching in its instruction, Donum Vitae (22 February 1987). It would be an exaggeration, however, to suggest that this instruction has featured prominently in pastoral teaching. Christians, generally, have done little to make assisted reproduction a topic of public debate, except to call attention to the unhappy fate of the surplus embryos it generates.

    Those who rightly deplore the baleful effects of separating sex from reproduction might spare a thought for the consequences likely to flow from the reciprocal process.

    • WalterPaulKomarnicki

      children are not commodities.

      • publiusnj

        That is what MP-S said. He, though, offered more than just an ipse dixit.

      • Michael Paterson-Seymour

        I am afraid that, all too often, children are treated as articles of commerce.

        An important case was decided in 2002. An unmarried couple acknowledged twin girls, born to a surrogate mother in California. The Procurator of the Republic brought an action for reduction of the acknowledgement. On 4 July 2002, the Court of Appeal in Rennes set aside the acknowledgement of the girls by their genetic mother, on the grounds that “the mother is she who bears the child and gives it life, by bringing it into the world.” It was noted that Californian law takes the opposite view; a jurisdiction in which, as the Procurator of the Republic mordantly observed, there appears to be a thriving market in babies, bespoke or prêt-à-porter.

        This remark was, doubtless inspired by the fact that a similar case, again involving twin girls born to a surrogate in California, was also wending its way through the French courts. In that case, the French married couple who had employed a surrogate and who were the girls’ genetic parents, had been, perfectly legally, recorded as the parents of the twins in their Californian birth certificates. The court reduced the birth certificate.

  • Adhemarde

    The devil fell from grace because he wanted to be God. Adam and Eve fell from grace because they wanted to be like God. How are we any different?

  • DE-173

    I wonder idf this is just the first step on the way to the extra-corporeal gestation of Huxley’s brave new world.
    Have you always wanted a baby, but not the perils and inconvenience of pregnancy. Meet the new Woomba, complete with an easy to use pop-up timer that let’s you know whwen your little bun in the oven is done.

  • Craig

    Like other evils in society, to speak out against this will bring calls of being an insensitive meanie.

  • Vinnie

    Most haunting essay I’ve ever read. Sent it to my adult children via email and, as I have done thousands of times before, signed it “Dad.” Never thought about those three letters like I did then.

  • publiusnj

    The message that known surrogacy inevitably gives its product (the child) is that the surrogate parent didn’t care enough about the child to keep him/her and the people who bought the child have nothing genetically in common with the child. That leaves the child with no altruistic love from his/her own flesh and blood. I should think that makes the child rather uncertain about his/her own worth and an easy mark for those who are trying to sell him/her something, like the state.

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      « Manif pour tous » the grass-roots organization that opposed SSM, was able to collect 700,000 signatures over three weeks to a petition to the Economic, Social, and Environmental Council and to bring a million protestors onto the streets of Paris, during its demonstrations last April and May (2013). Its spokesperson, Mme Ludovine de la Rochère declared they would continue to fight against the “progress” of which the supporters of SSM speak – “that of merchandising the human body, of wombs for rent” [« celui de la marchandisation du corps, celui des ventres à louer »]

      The passage of the loi de 17 mai 2013 [LOI n° 2013-404] has done nothing to weaken the opposition of many French people, religious and secular, to the notion of a right to a child: a child, “battery-farmed,” that can be raised in the denial of man-woman complementarity. They remain firmly convinced that the purpose of adoption is to give a family to a child, not to give a child to adults and to defend the right of every child to a father and a mother, « la filiation PME »

      As for the United States, those Americans who have viewed with equanimity the development of this form of human trafficking have cut the ground for a principled opposition to SSM from under their feet

  • John DeGraffenreid Jr.

    I call unmitigated horse manure. The woman in question here HAS a father. A father who loved her, raised her and cared for her all the years of her life. Blood is not the determination of family, someone can be blood related to you and not be a parent in the loosest of definitions of the term.

    Sometimes these procedures are the only way some people can even have children, but I suppose that the love and care they would give a child is irrelevant because they aren’t related by blood to said child. I guess we should halt all adoption processes while we’re at it as well. Those parents aren’t related by blood to their kids. Must be awful being raised by people who aren’t really your mother or father.

    Yeah…I went there.

    • Sign

      IOW, if some scientific act can be done, then it is licit to do it. That is utilitarianism gone nuts. The issue is not mere sentimentality or whether a child can be “loved” by one other than their biologic parent.

      No, the issues are many including does the child have any rights at all? The notion we act like cattle, get the result we demand, and then call it “loving” is absolute rubbish and narcissism.

      • John DeGraffenreid Jr.

        A child has a right to exist and a right to a loving and supportive home yes? Unless I am very much mistaken that’s the pro-life position and has been for more than thirty years. Why are these children different? Why do THEY not have the right to exist? I thought right to life was absolute?

        • Angela Goudman

          They are being created unethically. These children have a right to be conceived through the marital act of their parents. If the parents cannot conceive a child through natural means, they can adopt. In this case, they are not creating a child – they are giving a loving home to a child who already exists.

          There’s an obvious retort here: “You haven’t been there, you don’t know what it’s like to be infertile.” Guess what – I AM subfertile due to a medical condition. I don’t know if I will ever be able to conceive. DH and I have rejected IVF, AI, and surrogacy.

          • John DeGraffenreid Jr.

            And that’s your choice. I respect that and I have no problem with you making that choice for you and your family. I only take issue with you making it for everyone because you disagree with it. Medical technology is just as much a gift from God as any other and if a woman is willing to carry a child for another woman, who is not able to conceive, that seems like an amazing act of kindness to me. Not everyone would do that, and yes I know there are terrible people who only do things for money; but that exists everywhere. We don’t shut down whole sectors of research over it.

            • Austin Ruse

              Every child has the human right to know his mother and father. Deliberately to create a child who can never know his father is an evil act and a violation of his human rights.

              • John DeGraffenreid Jr.

                Any male can make a baby. That doesn’t make them a father. A father is a man who raises a child, cares for a child and gives wisdom to a child. A child can go their whole life and never know who was the biological parent, but they absolutely had a father and it’s beyond offensive to say that they didn’t.

                • Austin Ruse

                  Straw man alert!

                  • John DeGraffenreid Jr.

                    Ah the inevitable “straw man” declaration. Typically used by people who have no idea what it actually means and are just dodging a genuine criticism of their argument because it’s one they can’t answer.

                    Yeah. See I’ve been in the discussion game for a long time. You have to do better than that to counter or deflect what I said and I stand by the above statements.

                    • Austin Ruse

                      So who’s arguing the contrary?

                    • Sign

                      It is a perfect example of a straw man. Are you that dense?

                    • John DeGraffenreid Jr.

                      No it’s not. Being a biological donor is not the same as being a father and equating the two is ridiculous. Fatherhood requires more than just your genetic material. I thought that was a given. Just because you helped create a child does not mean you are a father. It means you made a baby and the reality is that too many men have abdicated their responsibilities for me to hold any other position until such time as they get their collective act together.

                      If you were raised in a loving two parent home you had a family. You had a mother and father by all definitions of the words that matter. They loved you, raised you and cared for you through thick and thin. Biology shouldn’t mean squat in the face of that truth.

                      If all you care about is genetics then I propose that the problem is yours. Aside from the fact that no one has even said just why any of this is actually unethical or how it’s unethical. You can shout that it is all day but that doesn’t make it so.

                    • Caritas06

                      A father ideally is both the biological parent of the child and the male parent who raises it with love. While unfortunately cases exist in which a biological father cannot parent his child as a true father and another man nobly steps up to the job ( I have a cousin who raised 5 adopted children) that is not an argument for deliberately CREATING situations in which a person shirks his duty to a children and becomes a sperm donor only. That is financially incentivizing the behavior you just decried.

                • msmischief

                  As if there were the slightest guarantee that there will be a man who raises a child, cares for a child and gives wisdom to a child when you have deliberately exiled the actual father from the mess.

                  • John DeGraffenreid Jr.

                    Where exactly do you get this idea? Many surrogate mothers do so for couples (where there is a mother and a father). In vitro hardly takes the man out of the equation, unless the mother is already single by her own choice or by circumstances unrelated to the situation.

                    You cannot force a person to live by what you want them to. It just isn’t going to happen and the harder you try to force the issue the more it’s going to keep blowing up in your face.

                    We, as Christians, are supposed to live as examples to the rest of the world. We do this by caring for one another, taking care of the poor, the sick and the widows and orphans, and by spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. At no point are we given a mandate to take over the nations and force the world to live by God’s Law…or else.

                    This is why the Christian Church has fallen to corruption. Our one track mind and focus on the transitory nature of the political world, instead of the permanency of the spiritual one.

              • John DeGraffenreid Jr.

                Really? There are laws currently on the books in many states (my home state of Michigan being one of them) that would force a woman who was raped, if she chose to carry a child to term and raise that child, to have contact with her rapist if he were to find out about said child. Is the child’s human rights in this case more important than the mother’s? Doesn’t she have the human right to not be placed in that position?

                Think about that for a moment. Whose rights are most important and to be protected here?

                I’m asking an honest question here. What do you do in cases like these where these kinds of laws actually do exist and states do nothing about them?

                • Austin Ruse

                  Like I said. Straw man. No one on this page is saying only a biological father can be a father. Straw man.

                  • John DeGraffenreid Jr.

                    How clever. Another dodge. You just said that a child has a human right to know their mother and father, presumably you are speaking of their biological parentage since that’s the whole subject of this nonsense. I ask again: In the case of states that have laws on the books that could be used in the context that I stated previously, and they can be based on extremely poor wording and no attempts at fixing it, what happens to the mother? You talk about the child’s rights but what about hers?

                    Also all people have done is invalidate a father that’s not a blood relative. You, yourself, said that if they can never know their biological parents that it violates their human rights. (I’m fairly certain that’s invalidating the people who actually raised the kid and loved them for 18+ years based solely on the fact that they aren’t blood related)

                    • Austin Ruse

                      Yes. And sometimes human rights are violated, through death , for instance. But, deliberately crafting a child with the intention that he not know or never know his father is not that. That is monstrous.
                      Like I said. Straw man. no one here has made the argument that only a biological father may be a father. Withdraw that claim and I will answer your questions.

                    • John DeGraffenreid Jr.

                      “So, flesh and blood does not a parent make but altruism does?
                      Possibly; and altruism sounds so GOOD!! What if the adoptive impulse
                      instead, though, is a desire to control ? Or a desire to have a sexual
                      toy? Or to make up for inadequacies in one’s life? Or to have someone
                      to love the adoptive parent out of filial gratitude because no one else
                      really does? Or just to please a “mate”? Or other things just as
                      selfish instead of selfless?

                      Sometimes, flesh and blood parents
                      act irresponsibly, but then again, despite all the propaganda to the
                      contrary, so do adoptive parents. Now should we get rid of adoption?
                      Of course not, but let’s not glorify it. It is a second best solution.

                      The
                      reason the State wishes to wage war on natural relationships is because
                      it doesn’t make all the rules in those situations and people still
                      object to interference in their marriages and families. Adoptive
                      parents, by contrast, love the State’s interference because that is how
                      they come into a parental relationship with someone else’s flesh and
                      blood. And from the politician’s pov: think how many jobs are created
                      by Adoption: Judges, lawyers, adoption agencies and DYFS bureaucrats.
                      Sure, Government likes anything that gives it a justification to
                      increase its own size and Adoption is one of those things.”

                      Stated by publiusnj, a commenter on this very article. Adoptive parents are not second rate or second best. For the kid that was raised and loved by them they are THE best. If this post hadn’t been made I wouldn’t have said what I did and I don’t say things I don’t mean. It was entirely based on the above quote, which I interpret to mean that this person thinks that adoptive parents aren’t “real” parents. They’re just “second best”. And I find that to be beyond offensive.

                      As for my questions, I’ll leave that to you. No one else has ever answered them. Why should you be the first?

                    • Florence

                      I’m coming to this really late and can’t pick up all the threads, but here’s my best shot at answering your questions.
                      On the question of whether adoptive parents are “second best,” or not quite the real thing, would you agree that it is part of human nature for children to be raised by their birth parents? That this is the norm intended by nature? We would view as barbaric and unnatural a society where infants could be, e.g., traded at birth, and parents of newborns gathered round to see if they could work out some mutually acceptable exchange with other parents, before all the nurturing starts. (Pro-lifers out there, bear with me and don’t chime in on pre-natal nurturing yet.)

                      But, as we all know, things can go wrong. Things can go unnatural, as when one or both parents abandons or abuses a child, or dies, goes to prison, or is otherwise unable or unwilling to care for the child. That’s where adoption comes in. Adoption exists for the unusual situations of children for whom the natural condition of being raised by both parents is not possible or desirable. Adoption exists to cure a problem, and it does so in many if not most cases beautifully.

                      But because adoption is a beautiful solution to a problem, that does not mean it is a good thing to create the problem over and over and over. And that’s what these reproductive technologies do: they allow people to contract for the creation of made-to-order orphans for them to adopt.

                      On the issue of the biological link, it is interesting to note that IVF was first touted as a way for couples to have a baby that had a biological link to them. To the question of why childless couples couldn’t solve their desire to parents by adopting, the answer came back that people are entitled to a baby that is genetically related to them. Back then, the genetic link was considered really important. But now, people are asserting an entitlement to any baby they can contract for, biologically related or not.

                      Finally, if one looks at this simply in terms of “Life is good. Babies are good. Adoption is good,” then the next question is: what if the entire process, from conception through gestation to birth, could be handled in a lab? Would you see any ethical problems with that? What would you consider to be the dividing line between surrogacy and factory-farmed babies?

                    • John DeGraffenreid Jr.

                      I can accept much of that, and even I think that completely lab grown people is a bad idea on multiple levels. What I don’t necessarily think is a bad idea is having a surrogate carry the child if a woman cannot. Yes I would prefer that they adopt, I’d prefer that more people adopt because there are millions of kids that need loving homes; but I live in the United States and part of that means that we have certain freedoms.

                      It would be grossly unethical to “buy” the best baby in the manner you’re suggesting; but there are men and women who are married who want to raise a family together and sometimes one or both parties can’t have or bear children for certain reasons. Those people have a right to start a family. We don’t license this stuff or choose who gets to be a parent based on yours or my ethical standards. There are many questions in this whole process that deserve to be asked and answered and I’m not willing to throw out the whole process because some people might abuse it. There are are people who are aided and blessed by it and they get to have a voice in this too.

                    • Austin Ruse

                      Yet, in all of that, the author does not say what you claim, that only blood fathers can be fathers. Again. Straw man.

                      Perhaps your questions would be answered if you first did not throw dirt in people eyes. No one has argued that only blood fathers can be fathers. Just admit that and move on.

                • msmischief

                  Among the many reasons why rape is wrong is that it can conceive children thus deprived by their father’s act of their right to a father. . . .

                  • John DeGraffenreid Jr.

                    Rape is wrong for the singular reason that it is a violent attack on another human being (regardless of gender) and a supreme violation of mind, body, and soul. It’s one of the absolute worst things that can happen to a person and it’s one of the very few crimes that can send me into pure, apoplectic rage.

                    Pregnancy shouldn’t factor into why rape is wrong, and if you honestly thing that it’s wrong because it denies a man a chance to be the father of a child then you are severely screwed up in the head.

            • Angela Goudman

              The problem here is that you are assuming that people have a “right” to have children. NO ONE has that right. Just because something is possible does not mean it’s right for us to do it. It’s possible to kill someone. God made this possible. Does that mean that the ability to murder is a gift from God and that we ought to kill people?

              Realistically, by using a surrogate or doing AI or IVF you are reducing a person to a walking set of reproductive organs. That’s degrading to the inherent dignity of the human person. You are also making a child a commodity to be bought and sold.

              • Sign

                Amen.

              • John DeGraffenreid Jr.

                And I respect that you believe that. I honestly do. What I don’t agree with is you forcing everyone else to live by what YOU think is right and wrong. Taking a life in the context of premeditated murder is much different than using medical technology to aid a person who cannot otherwise bear children and equating the two is somewhat troublesome.

                • Sign

                  You do not agree because it limits your license. You want what you want regardless of truth or justice.

              • Greg

                If being childless is so wonderful I suggest you stop any treatments and make that choice.

            • Caritas06

              Women are not in most cases volunteering for surrogacy out of altruism. Very few surrogate mothers are American women in the 1%. It is an economic choice for poorer women. People once became indentured servants – all but slaves for a term of years. Does the fact that they voluntarily entered into it make it right? Or dignified? Or less a product of economic coercion?

            • msmischief

              snort

              Are you an anarchist or a hypocrite?

              All laws are to make something for everyone regardless of whether they would choose otherwise.

              • John DeGraffenreid Jr.

                I am neither. I am an advocate for reason within the faith. The two are not mutually exclusive and we live in a fallen world where nature, sometimes, goes awry. Awful things happen and there are times people cannot conceive by the usual means, so it was by use of our God given intellect and the gift of medical technology that we figured out a way to help some of those people. That was in vitro fertilization.

                Surrogate mothers, in my own opinion, are doing good. Whatever their personal motivation they are helping a childless couple, that want to raise an infant from cradle forward, to do so. They are giving of themselves so that another can be blessed. Do I personally wish those people would adopt instead? Yes, but I am not God and it is not my mandate to force people to live a certain way. My job is to spread the Gospel and to live His Gospel so that all will know by my love that I am His.

          • Greg

            You obviously have done little research on adopting. Because once you do I bet you will change your tune that infertile couples “can adopt”.

        • Austin Ruse

          A sperm is not a child. Neither is an ovum. Bring them together then a child is created. And yes, that child has a right to life. But does every sperm and ovum have a right to exist as a person? No.

        • Sign

          The right is in regards to a child being brought into the world in an ethical way. Once a child is born of course they must be loved but that is not the issue.

          The child had a right to a natural mother and father and to be conceived in a natural way. He or she is not some experiment where anything goes simply because some know it all concocts some procedure without regard to justice.

          The ends do not justify the means. We are not mere cattle to be manipulated by overlords.

        • Caritas06

          Right to exist once created and right to be created are two different things. Until the child is created it has no rights. Your argument for a hypothetical child’s “rights” rings hollow – your real concern is the rights of adults to have what they want. Even designer kids.

          • John DeGraffenreid Jr.

            Actually no, it’s not. My argument, at it’s core, is that these procedures are not, by their very nature, evil or unethical in and of themselves. People can use them that way, just as someone can use many medical procedures in an unethical fashion, such as those nations that allow the purchasing of organs and the like for transplants or a mandatory opt in policy.

            People are decrying the very idea of the procedure and that can lead to a very bad train of thought where some will take it to the level of saying those children and later adults shouldn’t exist. The woman mentioned who’s campaigning against them wouldn’t exist if they were illegal prior to her birth. THAT is what I’m talking about. This is more complicated than people seem to realize and all I’m saying is take a step back and consider the overall situation.

            • Austin Ruse

              The process is evil. Children should only come into this world with the chance to know her mother and father. What’s more, the procedure brings others into the process which interrupts the bond in the marital act. Moreover, masturbation is a mortal sin. It is a mess from beginning to end. Lastly, people do not have a right to have children.

    • DE-173

      “Sometimes these procedures are the only way some people can even have children”

      The ends do not justify the means.

      “I guess we should halt all adoption processes while we’re at it as well.”

      Non sequitir.
      Do you have anything to offer other than visceral indignation?

      • John DeGraffenreid Jr.

        I see. So a couple who desires children but is unable to otherwise carry to term without these methods should just be denied that opportunity because, despite the fact they would offer a loving and supportive environment, they’d not be connected by blood?

        It’s not a non sequitir at all. Much of the entire premise of this argument is based on the idea of there being no biological connection to the child. With most adoption, especially interracial adoption, there is zero biological connection to the child. By following your own logic we have to make that illegal as well because the adoptive parents have no blood connection to those children. An effort would have to be made to track down the biological parents and force them to raise those children despite the fact that they openly, and clearly, turned those children over to others for varying reasons.

        • DE-173

          “Much of the entire premise of this argument is based on the idea of there being no biological connection to the child.”

          No, that’s your interpretation.

          It’s too bad you can’t distinguisj between the intentional and premeditated creation of a child with with every intent to sever the bond and disappear into anonymity and being unable to maintain that bond for any other reason. There’s a whole emotion difference between “my biological parents COULDN’T keep me” and my “biological parents MADE me with malice aforethought.”

          Speaking as the relative of an adoptive child, I find your attempt to impute warranted and reasonable objections to surrogacy to unwarranted and unreasonable objections to adoption, appalling.

          Otter’s big speech in “Animal House” was more coherent.

          • John DeGraffenreid Jr.

            I’m absolutely for adoption. I’m only saying that, taken to it’s logical extreme, you’re own argument of a non-blood tie to the child could be used to outlaw it and is, in fact, the logical conclusion and destination of that argument.

            Of course it’s ridiculous and that’s the point. People having a child through invitro fertilization (because of difficulties getting pregnant) or by having a surrogate carry the child (often because the mother cannot carry the child due to certain biological factors) shouldn’t be shamed because they chose to have a child. That child has a right to exist and if you’re pro-life and a child is conceived then you better believe I’m holding someone accountable to that belief. I actually am pro-life. I care about that child before birth, during birth and after birth and that includes children conceived and born by a surrogate.

            • Angela Goudman

              The problem here is that no one has a “right” to have children. These children are being CREATED through unethical means. Adoption gives a loving home to an ALREADY CREATED child. That’s a completely different choice.

              • John DeGraffenreid Jr.

                How is it unethical? That’s the root question that no one is answering here. Exactly what makes a woman carrying a child for a woman who cannot conceive unethical? The only thing anyone is saying is that the child wasn’t created through marital relations and that’s not cutting it. Married couples use in vitro fertilization when there are problems conceiving and that’s hardly unethical either.

                What, specifically, makes the practice unethical if all parties have agreed to it and the parents are willing to give a child a loving home? That’s what I don’t get.

                • Michael Paterson-Seymour

                  Because a mother is under a duty to care for her child, to whom she has given life by bringing it into the world, not to abandon it at birth to someone else, whether in pursuance of a prior agreement or otherwise.

                  Similarly, it is unethical for anyone else to induce her to do so.

                  • John DeGraffenreid Jr.

                    So a sister who decides that she, of her own free will, wants to carry a child for her sister who cannot conceive is somehow a bad person when she does so out of love? Yeah we’ll have to agree to disagree there.

                    • Caritas06

                      How many of these situations described here are really a sister carrying her sister’s child for her? Most of these are commercial undertakings and some would-be parents are even legally advised to be sure that the egg donor is not the surrogate ( because it is easier to prevent the child being claimed by a birth mother that way. It is to commoditize a child – e.g. money and intention = parental rights.

            • Austin Ruse

              Again. Not every sperm has the right to be a person.

            • Michael Paterson-Seymour

              “That child has a right to exist” What child? How can a child which ex hypothesi does not exist be the subject of a right?

              • John DeGraffenreid Jr.

                A child created by in vitro fertilization or being carried by a surrogate. Both are still children and both have a right to exist. It’s interesting how quickly people like to throw up dodges or try to sidestep issues when it comes to existence when there are matters like this on the table. Yes there are ethical matters to consider but a child conceived is a child conceived.

                • Caritas06

                  Once a child is created it has a right to exist – as all human persons do, until natural death. That does not equate to an argument that such children should be created that way. It is not as if there were some “world of inchoate children” out there with the right to be given bodily form. In addition, many children’s lives are lost as waste by-products of the commercial operation. By the by – the church approves of GIFT but not in -vitro fertilization. Strip away all your rationalization and your argument seems to be: two people of whatever relationship or sex, or one person with the will, money and desire for a child, deserve the child they want , conceived to their specifications, by any means and whatever the other human costs. Have the guts to admit it.

                • Angela Goudman

                  They do not have a right to be created. That’s the issue here. You are presupposing that a couple has a “right” to have children. NO ONE has that “right”.

                  As far as the consent issue goes – there are weirdos out there whose greatest fantasy is to be killed and eaten. (I’m not making this up; I read of a true crime case in which this happened.) There are also weirdos whose greatest fantasy is to kill and eat someone. If a “mutual exchange” between these people occurs, does that mean that the one person is not guilty of murder because the other asked for it?

                  • John DeGraffenreid Jr.

                    ???????

                    Okay I want you to take a step back for a moment and consider that you just compared in vitro fertilization and surrogates to first degree murder and cannibalism.

                    It’s not possible to have any kind of discourse on the subject when you go so far into that territory. The things we’re talking about are not even comparable to the crimes you mentioned. Besides there is one other point of consideration, and this is one I take rather seriously.

                    The Bible very clearly states that God knew us from before we were born. Doesn’t that include children born via in vitro fertilization and surrogates? If God has allowed those children to have been both created and born who is anyone else to say that they should not be? Just another point to consider.

                    • Angela Goudman

                      You are speaking of God’s permissive will. God knows that what they are doing is a moral evil – but He can allow good to come out of such situations. My stepdaughter was conceived out of wedlock. That was an evil act. However, her birth was a great good. That still does not mean that a couple has a right to have intercourse out of wedlock just so they can conceive a baby. The end cannot justify the means.

            • DE-173

              I care about that child before birth, during birth and after birth and that includes children conceived and born by a surrogate.

              Terrific. I’m Pro-Life, I even care about children conceived as a product of rape, but I don’t approve of rape.

          • Greg

            Actually you will learn that adoption is more about “my biological parents weren’t allowed to keep me.@

            • DE-173

              COULDN’T or WOULDN’T is still better than manufactured for sale.

              • Greg

                I’d like to see you tell that to an adoptee.

                • DE-173

                  I’d like to see you tell them their parents made them for sale.

                  • Greg

                    Many believe their parents did make them for sale when you have a multi billion dollar adoption industry.

                    • DE-173

                      No. There’s a multi-billion dollar car insurance industry. No reasonanle person would conclude people are intentionally getting into collisions.
                      A combox isn’t the place to get therapy. Seek professional help.

                    • Greg

                      I encourage you to do a thorough research on adoption. I think you will find that it’s not what you thought it was.

                    • DE-173

                      It’s presumptuous of you to assume I have not.

                      Seek professional help.

                    • Greg

                      It’s easy to assume when you speak like someone who is uniformed. If you’ve done research on adoption, do more to educate yourself. Otherwise stop speaking as though you have.

                      Educate yourself.

                    • DE-173

                      You can’t even make a coherent assertion here.

                    • Greg

                      Educate yourself, you will be surprised at how little you knew.

                    • DE-173

                      Get help, you’ll be surprised at the poor state of your mental hygiene.

                    • Greg

                      My mental hygiene is just fine compared to your mental intelligence and tolerance for others.

        • Heidi

          The difference between egg/sperm donors & surrogacy, on the one hand, and adoption, on the other, is that the former is performed solely in the interests of the adults (and the existing regulations are to safeguard the rights of those adults), while adoption is for the sake of an already-existing child, to provide that child with a stable home and family (and the existing regulations are primarily there to safeguard the rights of the child).

          • publiusnj

            Or not. As I wrote above, not every adoptive parent has selfless motives. Surely, many do but then most natural parents do too, except when liberals are trash-talking Traditional Marriage.

            • Heidi

              I didn’t mean that adoptive parents have selfless motives. I think their *motives* are self-interested most of the time (as are those of most parents trying to conceive!). I am talking about the *institution* itself, which is in place for the sake of the child, while surrogacy, etc., are for the sake of adults.

              • publiusnj

                The institution of adoption is a creature of the State. I hesitate to attribute selfless motives to any creature of a state run by politicians. Are some politicians selfless? I suppose, but they are very few and far between.

            • Greg

              Natural Parents? So non biological parents are unnatural and thus inferior in your mind? Very closed minded and not a very Christian perspective.

              • publiusnj

                You don’t like the term “natural”? Then substitute the word “biological” if you choose. It is a distinction without difference. Adoptive parents, though, are not the natural (i.e., biological) parents. They are instead “parents-in-law.”

                Are they therefore inferior? Depends on the particular circumstances of the biological parents and the adoptive parents. So long as this country continues to recognize the right of the natural (or biological parent) to raise the child in the ordinary circumstance, an adoptive parent would likely not be inferior to a biological parent who is willing to give up his/her parental rights/obligations. Not unless the adoptive parent has some bad agenda.

                • Greg

                  It sounds inferior the way you are describing it. Then we wonder why so many infertile couples pursue these third party reproductive routes to parenthood. Because people like yourself imply that being a parent through adoption is something to be ashamed of.

                  • publiusnj

                    I told you that the inferiority or superiority of adoption versus biological parenting was data dependent. You insist I don’t really mean that. Oh well, I don’t know what else to say.

                    Now you bring up “third party reproductive routes” (tprr). I addressed adoptive parents when you asked about “non biological” because that is what the term “non-biological” suggests to me. You now bring up “tprr,” but I do not consider those the same as adoptive parenting. Tprr can be so problematic, and usually do involve biology (i.e., a more or less natural form of intercourse in many situations) not just legal things like surrogacy contracts.

                    • Greg

                      What you can do is be more open minded to the diversity of family structure and be more respectful than you are to them.

                    • publiusnj

                      I could be, but don’t think it merited. I think these questions are very data-dependent.

                      Over the course of millennia, there have been all kinds of parental relationships. The “flesh and blood” connection is one that unquestionably can draw selfish man outside of himself in a way no other relationship can. In essence, one’s flesh and blood child is not just “another” but in a very real sense an extension of one’s self because of the genetic connection. Now, are all biological parents models? No, that would ignore the evidence. On the other hand, step-parents have a very bad reputation and there are reasons for that.

                    • Greg

                      Wow, your bias against non bio parents is pretty disturbing. Not sure why you hate them so much.

                    • publiusnj

                      You may think you are a mind-reader, but you are really just blowing smoke. As I said: these questions are very data-dependent. Can you really contend that there aren’t very bad “non-biological” parents? If so, quote your sources and their statistics.

                    • Greg

                      No, actually these are real life situations where data doesn’t mean anything. People are not computers.

                    • publiusnj

                      That is a very silly statement, Greg.

                    • Greg

                      What’s silly is to believe that statistics will determine what a human relationship and human life will be.

          • Greg

            Heidi,

            You are very uninformed on adoption. It is not what you believe it is.

        • enness

          When we start from the assumption that adults are being “denied” (!) something that is rightly theirs, it is stunning to think we are talking about a child…already, as if they are possessions. How mature. Whose needs and interests ought to come first, here?

          The adults show that they are willing to turn a person into a science experiment. Plus, generally several of these people must be created at a time because of the failure rate (creating people knowingly to die), and “leftover” people frozen indefinitely (a horrific indignity). Problems are like heads of the Hydra.

          • Sign

            Well, that is how the relativists operate. They want what they want and anything goes.

    • publiusnj

      So, flesh and blood does not a parent make but altruism does? Possibly; and altruism sounds so GOOD!! What if the adoptive impulse instead, though, is a desire to control ? Or a desire to have a sexual toy? Or to make up for inadequacies in one’s life? Or to have someone to love the adoptive parent out of filial gratitude because no one else really does? Or just to please a “mate”? Or other things just as selfish instead of selfless?

      Sometimes, flesh and blood parents act irresponsibly, but then again, despite all the propaganda to the contrary, so do adoptive parents. Now should we get rid of adoption? Of course not, but let’s not glorify it. It is a second best solution.

      The reason the State wishes to wage war on natural relationships is because it doesn’t make all the rules in those situations and people still object to interference in their marriages and families. Adoptive parents, by contrast, love the State’s interference because that is how they come into a parental relationship with someone else’s flesh and blood. And from the politician’s pov: think how many jobs are created by Adoption: Judges, lawyers, adoption agencies and DYFS bureaucrats. Sure, Government likes anything that gives it a justification to increase its own size and Adoption is one of those things.

      • John DeGraffenreid Jr.

        And here we have the root problem. Adoptive parents aren’t real parents, at least that’s what I’m getting from your statement there. They shouldn’t be celebrated because they could be some secret monster who only took a child in to do who knows what harm to that child.

        That’s called paranoia and it’s as destructive a force as I’ve ever seen. Flesh and blood doesn’t make a family. Believe me on that. I’ve seen horrific examples of abuse and neglect of children that came straight from blood relatives and some of the best examples of family ever were of adoptive parents. Parents who stepped up and loved a child and made that child part of their home and family out of love. Real love. Not some misguided notion that just because you’re related it means you have some innate mystical connection that transcends all things.

        Think what you will on the matter. I’d rather a child be raised in a loving home by adoptive parents than by blood family that would abuse them.

        • publiusnj

          You apparently want to rewrite what I wrote. That is because you would rather deal with the strawman you have constructed than my analysis. Sorry, that is not rational discourse. It is just propaganda.

        • Austin Ruse

          Adoption is fundamentally different than gestational surrogacy.

          • Sign

            Right and this is patently obvious to those who are honest.

      • Greg

        So now adoptive parents are second best and inferior to biological parents?

        • publiusnj

          They are “second best” but not necessarily “inferior.” In the ordinary circumstance, the law ought to support a “biological” parent’s right to raise his/her flesh and blood. In situations where the biological parent abandons his/her duties to a child, adoption is appropriate, of course.

          As to “inferior,” I address that issue in another response to one of your comments. Suffice it here to note, that “inferior,” involves a comparison of the circumstances of the natural and adoptive parents. In the ordinary situation, there would be little opportunity for an adoptive parent to be involved unless the natural parent were somehow absent or so clearly harmful to the interests of the child that adoption might be appropriate. Then it becomes a question of what are the motives of the adoptive parent. If good, the adoptive parent would NOT be inferior.

          • Greg

            It doesn’t sound “appropriate” when you put it like that.

            • publiusnj

              It might or might not be. It depends on the circumstances as I have been saying.

              • Greg

                It sounds like it isn’t most of the time because in your world non biological parents are not legit parents. They are second best and inferior according to your logic.

                • publiusnj

                  You keep wanting to put words in my mouth (or comment). I have addressed your points repeatedly and rest on the record developed already.

    • Austin Ruse

      There are thoroughly moral ways to help those who seem infertile. But the masturbate into a cup version is immoral. The church has always gotten this right.

      • Greg

        Mr. Ruse,

        Can you explain these “thoroughly moral ways” to help those who “seem” infertile?

        • Austin Ruse
          • Greg

            You realize none of this non sense works especially in my case with a born genetic condition that has left me infertile.

            • Austin Ruse

              You realize if course that it does work.

              • Greg

                Nah, not really. Invisible men and fairy tales do not cure medical conditions in the real world.

    • PJ

      You might have gone there but were you ever there in her shoes? Adopted children are rescued children- but those created just for the purpose of fulfilling an adults desire are being brought into the world- on purpose- into a broken home- not every couple has to have biological children but every child has to have had biological parents- and has the God given right to know them and be a part of their committed love.

      • Greg

        Adopted Children are “rescued”? I suggest you research on the corruption in adoption.

  • Jan

    Best, saddest essay I’ve read all week.

  • faithandfamilyfirst

    “For the life of me I cannot understand how any religious person cannot cling to the Barque of Peter and never let go.”
    Most true words I’ve read this week. And a good, hope-filled ending to an otherwise sad story.

    • publiusnj

      Those who clung to the barque of Peter throughout the long night of the Iron Curtain had a hope few others did. And it worked. It will work here as well.

      • Objectivetruth

        Good point. Look at Walter Ciszek SJ.

  • Scott W.

    Tolkien and the Inklings are rather well known for their commentary on how technology is often indistinguishable from magic when it comes to man’s arrogant desire to dominate existence. Consider the Catechism’s section on the occult:

    2117 All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one’s service and have a supernatural power over others – even if this were for the sake of restoring their health – are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion.

    And compare that to the section on IVF, surrogacy etc (my emphasis):

    2376 Techniques that entail the dissociation of husband and wife, by the intrusion of a person other than the couple (donation of sperm or ovum, surrogate uterus), are gravely immoral. These techniques (heterologous artificial insemination and fertilization) infringe the child’s right to be born of a father and mother known to him and bound to each other by marriage. They betray the spouses’ “right to become a father and a mother only through each other.”167

    2377 Techniques involving only the married couple (homologous artificial insemination and fertilization) are perhaps less reprehensible, yet remain morally unacceptable. They dissociate the sexual act from the procreative act. The act which brings the child into existence is no longer an act by which two persons give themselves to one another, but one that “entrusts the life and identity of the embryo into the power of doctors and biologists and establishes the domination of technology over the origin and destiny of the human person. Such a relationship of domination is in itself contrary to the dignity and equality that must be common to parents and children.”168 “Under the moral aspect procreation is deprived of its proper perfection when it is not willed as the fruit of the conjugal act, that is to say, of the specific act of the spouses’ union . . . . Only respect for the link between the meanings of the conjugal act and respect for the unity of the human being make possible procreation in conformity with the dignity of the person.”169

  • cf4l_sayWHAT

    this is absolutely nuts. i would say that insisting that the child you bring into your home can only be one of your own genetics is a bit narcissistic, but it’s not really any concern of mine yours or anybody’s who aren’t the people involved. and i can’t help but think that it’s articles like this that help foster the sense of loss that a surrogated child might have at knowing who their biological parents are. sure, we may have accepted (for the most part) people born out of wedlock, but our culture puts such a high value on biological ties that “bastard” is still a relevant insult. it really is more important to have a loving home than a biological tie. i saw that first hand with my adopted sister.

    • publiusnj

      This is another strawman: ”
      insisting that the child you bring into your home can only be one of your own genetics is a bit narcissistic…..” I don’t think either the author or any other commentor has so insisted.

      And the term “bastard” was always far more than an insult. At one point, it had legal significance at least back when the State was concerned with keeping reproduction inside marriages to ensure that children were protected from all the ills that accompany single parenthood. That concern has gone away largely because politicians pander.

      • cf4l_sayWHAT

        1: strawman? how? you left out the rest of that sentence, in which i make it clear that this is simply my opinion and also ultimately nobody’s business besides the people directly involved ie the parents and child and possibly a surrogate. i don’t think that you’re using that word correctly.
        2: the rest of that didn’t say anything about single parents, though there really isn’t anything wrong with a single parent. i’d say poverty is far worse and the lack of decently-paying jobs is more of a problem than the single parent. besides, you do know that a fancy ceremony and a piece of legal documentation doesn’t magically produce a happy stable home, right? and people cohabitating also can have children? and there are many ways of having a family that aren’t so ethnocentric? but no. anything outside of the “one mom, one dad, and the kids” being accepted by our legal system is political pandering. thanks for not adding anything of value to the conversation.

        • publiusnj

          To repeat: the strawman was the language quoted. nobody argued that.
          As to “the rest of that didn’t say anything about single parents,” that is a non-sequitur. I addressed your reference to bastardy.

          As to the “fancy ceremony” jibe, what I do know is that some ceremony is more likely than none to bring about a recognition of the seriousness of copulation and its consequences. Better a marriage ceremony than public school teaching about how to fit condoms over cucumbers.

          • cf4l_sayWHAT

            strawman
            noun
            a sham argument set up to be defeted.

            stating that i think it’s a little narcissistic for people to go through all that trouble to have a child that is genetically theirs instead of simply adopting is not a strawman. it is just me stating that i think it’s a little narcissistic to be so adamant that the genetic tie comes before parenting.

            • Sign

              Just to be clear you and the other relativist posting here setup a premise the rest of us are not arguing. Then you concoct an argument based on that premise and attribute it to us.

              • cf4l_sayWHAT

                and you’re not arguing. you’re just making statements without backing them up. if you have nothing to add to the debate, please go away.

                • Sign

                  You obviously have a limited ability to reason. So far your argument says you want something therefore you must get it without regard to truth or harm to children or society.

                  My argument is based on right reason and the moral law. Do you experiment on children in other ways too?

                  • cf4l_sayWHAT

                    you clearly don’t want to have a discussion. you throw wild accusations and make gigantic leaps to conclusions without actually adding to the conversation. experimenting on children? really, is that the best you can do? it’s vaguely entertaining to watch you do this, but that’s about it.

                    and you have yet to explain your point besides “children have rights” which no one is disputing (this conversation, btw, is about how they are conceived and how that conception is handled by society at large, and there is absolutely no way that you can argue the point that a person that hasn’t even been conceived has some sort of right to participate in that conversation. that’s just silly and a distraction from the real issues.). and you also haven’t explained your apparent moral high ground either.

                    until you’re ready to come down and have an honest discussion, you have no purpose in the discussion. until then, all i can say is shush, the grownups are talking.

            • publiusnj

              In the ordinary instance, the genetic tie does come before parenting. In a small minority of cases (i.e., adoption), a legal process that ruptures an existing genetic tie comes before parenting. A genetic tie, though, always has antedated, and still antedates the birth of any child to be parented. Nowadays, it is just that a whole adoption industry has “grown up.”

      • Michael Paterson-Seymour

        What is the nation itself, but a community of common descent and blood and not of voluntary adherence and of association? Just as a person may lose his citizenship (which is a legal concept) but not his nationality or ethnicity, so adoption does not destroy the unique genetic reality of paternity.

        • publiusnj

          You are right that nation normally has involved a concept of “common descent and blood [rather than] voluntary adherence and of association.” Indeed, the word “nation” comes from the Latin word “natus” meaning “born.” Although the US always had liberal immigration periods from the 1700s through 1924 when the first generally restrictive immigration law was passed, the US always was more welcoming of “cousins” (those of British and to a lesser extent European descent) than it was of other nationalities (see, most famously: the Chinese Exclusion Act). Beginning in 1924, the US limited immigration and again gave a preference for those who could still enter to those of ethnicities already well-represented in the US. All that changed with Teddy Kennedy’s far more liberal Immigration Act of 1965, which ended those preferences and threw wide the doors to increase immigration. As a result, the US’s ethnic composition is changing rather quickly and our population has increased to twice as many as were here in the 1950s.

          Are there some good results from tha immigration? Sure, but there are detriments too. One detriment that rarely is discussed is the dilution of the value of any American’s vote. Back in the 1790s, there was one US Representative for every 35,000 or so US residents. In the 1950s, the ratio was one US Representative for every 347,000 US residents (i.e., a 10 fold dilution). Today, though, the dilution is so much greater: one US representative for every 720,000 residents (i.e., more than a 20 fold dilution since the 1790s and twice as diluted as in the 1950s). How much of a voice do any of us still have?

    • Sign

      What is nuts is shallow reasoning. Utilitarianism is evil. It leads to real horrors. This silly and superficial line of thought that uses sentimentalism as a metric is really absurd.

      • cf4l_sayWHAT

        first, who said anything about utilitarianism? second, it’s not your place or mine (barring kidnapping, because duh) to decide how people choose to have children.
        and i stand by my opinion that a home where a child is truly wanted will, in more cases than not, be more beneficial than simply having genetic ties.

        and really, you come by, make broad statements without any sort of explanation, and have the audacity of calling my arguments absurd? no, thanks. i’ll take you seriously when you’re ready to have an actual conversation instead of pseudo-philosophical word salad.

        • Sign

          You said utilitarianism as soon as you argue in favor of the ends justifying the means. Just because one desires a child is not reason enough to commit evil acts to get the end you desire.

    • Austin Ruse

      Funny..another straw man. No one is saying what you are saying. Can’t you folks talk about this issue in a sensible way?

      • cf4l_sayWHAT

        jeez, i’m beginning to wonder if no-one actually knows what strawman means. here, i’ll break down the content of my comment: biological family does not always equal happy family. wanted child > unwanted child. if you’re willing to go through IVF and/or surrogacy, i’m pretty sure that kid is wanted. everything else is kind of incidental.

        • Austin Ruse

          I’m getting the same feeling. Ok. Here’s your straw man.

          “i would say that insisting that the child you bring into your home can only be one of your own genetics is a bit narcissistic…”

          Now who exactly is arguing this? I’ll tell you who. No one! Straw man! Get it?

          • cf4l_sayWHAT

            and it was incidental to the rest of the comment. that was not the main argument. it was a small portion of my reasoning behind my argument. and it was relevant. and i suspect that you are focusing on this one tiny, passing piece to avoid taking on the real argument which is this: it’s none of our business how consenting adults get their baby makin’ on. i happened to say that i think a happy home is most important, regardless of the biological ties. i think putting biological ties first is silly. the article mentions that not knowing who your biological parents are is distressing for children. from my observations of our country, i argue that the problem is not with IVF and surrogacy, but with how our society views families and kinship. we see kids be made fun of because they’re adopted or because they don’t know who their father is. attacks like that are left overs from bygone eras where societal structures in many cultures passed down property from fathers to sons, so proof of paternity was a big deal. i don’t know how that got to be the way it was, seeing as it’s much easier to prove maternity than paternity, but that’s what happened. we inherited from our ancestors the tradition of passing down names and property with genetics. i argue that this is fairly purposeless, you can leave your possessions to whatever person you want in a will. that leaves passing a name with genetics, though again that’s purposeless seeing that names change easily. even if you want to go with the name thing, that’s still kind of petty. “i must have a child to carry on my legacy!” see? a bit narcissistic. which brings me back to the original point: why do people seem so obsessed with how families are formed? why can’t we just be glad for happy, healthy families where all the children are wanted. this article puts so much emphasis on biological parents and children and keeping the bio-mom as the one to do the birthing. the only reasons i can see behind this mode of thinking are a mix of narcissism and archaic inheritance traditions. none of the other arguments for this emphasis on biological kinship hold water when i look at this from an anthropological and cultural viewpoint.

            • Michael Paterson-Seymour

              Does it not reflect something very deep-seated in human nature?

              Yes, “you can leave your possessions to whatever person you want in a will” and where it is old family land, how common it is for the will to require the legatee to assume and bear the testator’s name and arms. Like adoption, it is a substitute for an heir of the testator’s body.

              Also, one usually finds the destination is to A in liferent for his liferent use allenarly and the heirs of his body in fee, whom failing &c. It is an expedient to deal with an exceptional event (the failure of heirs) not the rule.

              After all, a person’s pedigree is usually a pretty fair guide to his character.

              • cf4l_sayWHAT

                deep seated in human nature? what, making sure that one’s genetics get passed along to a new generation at all costs? maybe at one time, but it would also at one point have been human nature for males to kill other males for breeding rights. seeing how common it was at one point, one could argue that human sacrifice (as in, to the gods) is human nature. for the most part, our culture has evolved past these things. sure, murder still happens, and i’m sure the occasional one is because of religious rituals, but our culture doesn’t approve. blood feuds are met with police and jail time. if we’ve gotten over allowing that, why then do we still get hung up on these genetic ties? beyond that, we could get into “what is human nature”, but i really don’t feel like hashing out various ethnocentric world views that would most likely pop up.
                finally, i would vehemently disagree with the statement that pedigree is at all any indicator of character. culture might go far in helping to explain psychological quirks, but sharing a name or DNA? ghengis khan is the father of roughly .5 percent of our world’s population, and i would argue that the vast majority of his roughly 16 million current descendants have no interest in carrying on the warlording tradition. how many serial killers have family who do the same? i would say that it’s cultures, on the whole and the smaller subgroups, that shape you more than a name or genetic ties ever could.

                • Michael Paterson-Seymour

                  In saying that pedigree is a good indicator of character, I was considering not merely genetics, but that blood, property and family tradition, which usually go together shape character and pedigree serves as an indicator or marker of that.

                  As for Genghis Khan, well, a maternal ancestor of mine, Lt-Col William Linnaeus Gardner (b. 1770) who had served in the 74th Highlanders, in 1809 raised, at Farrukhabad and Mainpuri, the famous cavalry corps known as “Gardner’s Horse.” In 1796, he married by Muslim rites, Nawab Mah Manzilunnissa Begum Dehlivi, aged 13, a princess of Cambay, afterwards adopted as daughter by Padshah Akbar Shah, Emperor of Delhi. Such an inter-racial marriage was no new thing in the Gardner family; he was descended from Col Jonathan Gale of Fullerswood, Parish of St Elizabeth, Jamaica, who, in 1699, had married a West African slave, Eleanor.

                  Gardner’s granddaughter, Susan Gardner [Sabia Begum], married Mirza Anjan Shikoh, son of Shahzada Mirza Suleiman Shikoh of the Delhi Imperial Family. He was the grandson of Padshah-e Hind (Emperor of India) Jalal ad-Din Abu´l Mozaffar Mohammad Ali Gauhar Shah Alam II (1759/1788).

                  As a direct descendant of Sabia Begum, I must have any number of Muslim ancestors of varying degrees of orthodoxy and observance from the first Mughal Emperor, Zahir ud-Din Mohammad (Babur) onwards. Of course, it also makes me a lineal descendant of Genghis Khan, as one element in our family.

                  • cf4l_sayWHAT

                    you might be related, but that doesn’t mean that has much of anything to do with your character. that’s my point. millions of people related to a warlord, and how many are or have aspirations to rape pillage and plunder? same with people of viking decent. your breeding has little to do with who you are. the things that shape a person tend to be mostly environmental, mixed with a few predispositions ie mental illness or genetic anomalies. who you’re related to doesn’t mean squat for your character as a person. there are plenty of people from wealthy old families who act like entitled brats, and there are incredibly poor people raised in slums by what might be considered “trash” who act with as much or more kindness and poise than anyone else you could meet. saying that pedigree say so much about character is a bit elitist. here i am, articulate and educated, and yet i come from a poor family of nobodies, hicks and “trash”. i have no breeding, no pedigree, and i object to you stating that my character and that of my siblings and most of my friends is lacking due to not having a “pedigree”. it is both unkind and untrue.

                    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

                      cf41_sayWHAT

                      Everyone has a pedigree; some are known, others not.

                      Anyone who has ever lived in a small village knows how people think. Someone wins a scholarship to the university: “Well, they’re a clever family,” people say, “His grandmother’s sister was a headmistress.” Someone is in trouble with the police: “They’re a bad lot, his cousin got the gaol.” The suggestion is that this was foreseeable; the fact that no one did foresee it is by-the-by. My own modest skills in riding they link to a number of my relatives having served in the Royal Scots Greys (2nd Dragoons)

                      This goes a long way to explaining their suspicion of incomers; they are an unknown quantity, precisely because they do not know their background.

                    • cf4l_sayWHAT

                      and i argue that an individual should be judged only by their actions, not their heritage. it is fair to not trust someone until they prove trustworthy, but to judge someone as unworthy simply because of their family or heritage is not acceptable. on a larger scale that sort of thing leads to xenophobia and classism, and humanity should be better than that.

            • Sign

              The homosexuals and rebellious heterosexuals want to redefine family. They worship this evil use of science because it furthers their agenda. Children have rights!

              • cf4l_sayWHAT

                and we’re done here. you just proved you’re unwilling to actually have a reasonable debate. thank you, there’s the door.

                • Sign

                  You have no argument. You want what you want. Period.

            • Austin Ruse

              So masturbating into a cup for a scientist to choose which is the lucky sperm or renting out your womb and the process ensuring that a child never knows his own familial story or medical history is superior “anthropologically and culturally” to the old tried and true?

              The thing you overlook is the feelings of donor conceived children and a centuries worth of sociological data that children do best in life if they are raised by their biological mother and father that in ANY OTHER SITUATION.

              Again, this is about what the adults want and not what is best for children. We live in that kind of age.

              • Sign

                Yes, it is all about what the narcissists want. They do not care about anything but fulfilling their desires.

                • Greg

                  You ignore how the childless become slaves to your child filled society. We are outcasted as selfish people even though we pick up the slack in the workplace for those who have children, pay taxes for schools and volunteer more so than anyone with children. Yet we grow old lonely with no families.

                  • Sign

                    Are you kidding?

                    • Greg

                      I assume you have children and thus would not understand this.

                    • Sign

                      Slaves? Please.

                    • Greg

                      Again we are expected to take on the bulk of the work load in the work place because we lack children, pay taxes for schools that we never utilize for our children, volunteer our time more so than people who have children and take on the bulk of the work in caring for elderly parents more so than siblings with children. Yet we are called selfish by those with children and get no benefit from any of these aspects of life. Our time and lives aren’t respected the way those with children are.

                    • Sign

                      Grow up.

                    • Greg

                      Wake up and look past your perfect little family life.

              • cf4l_sayWHAT

                i’m arguing sensitivity to other’s situations. i’m arguing that maybe if we treated these families with the same dignity we do any other, maybe there wouldn’t be kids growing up feeling deficient. i’m arguing that willing parents usually do a better job than unwilling parents, regardless of genetic ties. and i’m arguing that not all families use the stereotypical nuclear family model. and it works. not all families are like yours. and that’s ok. not everybody has to live the same way. are you going to go to other groups in different countries, like the Mosuo in china, and tell them “nope, you’ve been doing it wrong. all your kids are effed up because you don’t have one mom one dad households.”

                and you appear to not understand the process of donating. there are stringent qualifications, you have to have fantastic medical history with no problems before they let you donate these days. so, really, that’s not a valid argument.

                • Austin Ruse

                  Actually, not all family models work as well as the gold standard. This is what social science abundantly shows us.

                  I am not aware that donor conceived families are treated any differently than any others. The donor conceived children who step forward to talk about the injustice of their situation are the ones who are attacked, and mocked.

                  Regarding you rather quaint understanding of donating sperm. There are no regulations. None. None. None. There may be in other countries, but not here. Children are born here without any knowledge of their medical situations.

                  Listen to the voices of the donor conceived, if you dare, or care. Go to http://www.anonymousUS.org and read. Listen to the kids.

                  • cf4l_sayWHAT

                    i’ve looked into this extensively. yes, there are standards, exceptionally high standards for egg donation, and almost as high for sperm. of course, this is from professional fertility clinics, i don’t know about how individuals screen for donors as standards might vary from recipient to recipient. and i stand by my opinion that the loss that donor conceived people feel is a societal ill rather than a biological one.

                    as far as the gold standard goes, not all countries follow a western mentality. i’m not about to judge the way different cultures form their family units, and it seems ethnocentric, to say the least, to not acknowledge that the “gold standard”, as you put it, is a societal construct and is not the “gold standard” everywhere.

                    • Austin Ruse

                      Nonsense. It is the wild west. There are NO REGULATIONS. NONE. Now maybe some clinics say they have only the very best super duper sperm. Sure. But there are no regulations by law. None. Moreover, there is no way a child so conceived may find her father just to check medical records.

                      by the way, the model of family you are so hep up about IS the western model. The developing world is aghast at how we commodify children…

                  • Greg

                    Do you think that Alana Newman’s views are influenced in any way by the fact that the man her mother was married to only wanted custody of their adoptive child and not Alana?

                    Many DC people who are outspoken about it and are hurting are so for one or two reasons:

                    1) They were not told of their conception at an early age.

                    2) They were rejected by their non biological parent/family.

                    Those DC who were told at a young age and not rejected by their non biological parent do not report these same feelings.

                    • Austin Ruse

                      can you cite to your second claim?

                    • Greg
                    • Austin Ruse

                      i have no doubt that many are fine with how they were conceived. But two things about the site you provided. I was actually looking for a cite for your claim that donor conceived children are fine with it, more along the lines of a study, like the one i cite in my piece. Second, even on the page you provided, much of it is about overcoming problems.

                    • Greg

                      I never said they were fine nor did I say that there aren’t challenges. All I said was these people do not report the same feelings that Alana and some other vocal minority have been outspoken about.

                      Everyone’s experience is different and feelings vary. But you can avoid a lot of the issues (not all) that Alana and others have by telling early and offen along with raising parents supporting not rejecting their child.

              • Greg

                And I have to assume that you were able to have children and have no idea what it’s like not to be able to?

                • Sign

                  So anything goes because you cannot conceive? Is that reasonable?

                  • Greg

                    What’s reasonable is for those who are infertile to be supported and respected. Not outcasted and shamed into becoming slaves for the child filled world as you advocate.

                    • publiusnj

                      Outcasted? The Media treats all adoptive parents as saints and most “breeder” parents as irresponsible..

                    • Greg

                      And those who aren’t able to have children as being selfish.

                    • gigi4747

                      No, it’s not my job to “support and respect” people who engage in buying and selling human beings. That’s what anonymous third party reproduction does. I have no children and I mourn that loss everyday. But I would never do anything pathological to obtain children, either.

                    • Greg

                      You’re misunderstanding me. What I am saying is that it should be reasonable that society support and respect people like us who are childless due to infertility. Instead of society outcasting, shaming, demonizing and using us. We are human beings too and are not lesser people because our bodies prevent us from reproducing with our spouses.

                      Maybe if that happened there would be less interest by those who are childless by circumstance to pursue third party reproduction or surrogacy. Those alternative routes to parenthood weren’t for my wife and I. But because we live in a childfilled world, I do not judge those who do decide to pursue those ways to become parents.

                • ForChristAlone

                  One cannot expect to get everything one wants in life. But we do live in a world of “I will not be denied.”

                  • Greg

                    Everything? I think not being outcasted and having a family are things that are pretty basic.

                    • ForChristAlone

                      Statistically frequent but there is no “right” to have a family.

                    • Greg

                      Coming from someone who has a family, saying that has little credibility.

          • Sign

            Exactly.

        • Sign

          You start from a false premise. It is not about wanted versus unwanted. It is about the rights of the child and moral goodness. You do not act on your desire simply because you want some certain end. The ends do not just the means.

          • cf4l_sayWHAT

            what i’m gaining from this is that you’re implying that a “natural” family is better than one formed through technological means, regardless of how happy they are or if the parents want to be parents. what i’m arguing is that people who actually want to do the whole parenting gig tend to start from a better place than people who don’t. i am also arguing that it is that it’s really not your call to make when it comes to how other people have kids. if you want to argue morals, you’re gonna have to back your statements up with some sort of reasoning. simply stating “it is about the rights of the child and moral goodness” doesn’t cut it. give me reasons as to why i should listen to your thus far half-baked argument.

            • Sign

              You start from a fascist view. You demand what you want based on a preconceived end and then demand others prove you wrong. You would manipulate children based on your selfish desire.

              They truth that children have rights is self evident to all who have not seared their conscience. We do not treat children like cattle or dogs as if they are to be manipulated because we issue some fiat we one desire a family.

              Your half baked relativism is not evidence you have any argument or standing other than you want what you want.

              My position is that of history, right reason, objective truth, and justice. Where do you get this notion that acting like a Nazi scientist is acceptable simply because it is possible?

              It is not your call to manipulate life simply because you can. What hubris.

              • cf4l_sayWHAT

                ooh… and godwin’s law rears it’s ugly head. thanks for playing, try again.

                • Sign

                  Goodwin’s law is childish nonsense. That is your standard because you have none. You make yourself a god.

            • gigi4747

              Who are you to say that it’s not my call to speak against this? I would not have been okay with being intentionally denied one of my parents and no one else should HAVE to be okay with that, either. It’s a form of violence and a human rights abuse, IMO. It’s no different than selling a human being; you’re simply selling the person in advance of his or her conception.

              Great that your sister had a loving adoptive home. But I doubt very much she was conceived intentionally and denied her parents simply for the purpose of gratifying adults.

        • ForChristAlone

          Just because you CAN do something does not mean you ought. But in an age of narcissism, I ought to have anything I please.

    • Sign

      True narcissism is using a surrogate to obtain your desire. It is a good definition of narcissism actually.

    • ForChristAlone

      It is important to have a loving home AND know one’s roots. The human person is a man of history – a man who tells stories.

  • Kara

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church says “2376 Techniques that entail the dissociation of husband and wife, by the intrusion of a person other than the couple (donation of sperm or ovum, surrogate uterus), are gravely immoral. These techniques (heterologous artificial insemination and fertilization) infringe the child’s right to be born of a father and mother known to him and bound to each other by marriage. They betray the spouses’ “right to become a father and a mother only through each other.” “

  • We live in moment in history where the Church is must lead all people of good will toward complete disassociation with every public or private organization/business that is complicit in advancing perversions of the truths of anatomy, physiology, and anthropology.

    • enness

      How do you recommend we do that and not live like Unabomber in the woods? I’m not sure absolute purity of association is desirable even if it were achievable.

      • publiusnj

        I don’t believe we can disassociate ourselves from every public or private institution so complicit. However, the Church can and should maintain its witness that “Gay Marriage” is no marriage at all and that the State is engaged in a perversion of the term “marriage.”

        For now, the leftists are carrying all before them in the courts, and with timid attorneys general and governors, just as they did in the Soviet Union, and Eastern Europe for so many years. That though just puts those courts and politicians into ever greater disrepute. Eventually, should Holy Mother Church continue to preach the Good News of Christ’s Message as probably only she will do, this country’s leftist regime will also fall as those behind the Iron Curtain eventually did. We do our part by never accepting that which our vicious rulers seek to shove down our throats.

        • Mountains could be moved if a concerted effort was undertaken by Catholics and others of good will to encourage and support each other in disassociating the contents of their pocketbooks with the establishments run by the culturati of death.

          • ForChristAlone

            That’s why I have all my investments in Ave Maria Funds. It’s not all I can do but it’s a start.

      • Unabomber? What an inane comparison.

        cf. Matthew 10:13-15 (or Luke 9:5; 10:10-12)

  • hombre111

    Very well done. I know a woman who has chosen this path, with two lovely but mysterious children, because there is no father in sight. I wonder how those children will do.

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  • ForChristAlone

    None of them might know who their mothers and father are but they will have their i-phone and that’s all that matters.

  • Objectivetruth

    Let’s not forget the 400,000-600,000 extra human embryos from IVF that are created and destroyed every year that are considered “medical waste” by the IVF/surrogacy industry.

  • Käthe

    Mr. Ruse I know you probably had trouble staying under your word limit as it was, but you should seriously look into writing a follow-up piece that addresses the following extremely concerning issues in surrogacy:

    1. The exploitation of impoverished third world women (in India, several nations in Africa, etc) as a “budget option” for couples or singles seeking a designer baby for less. The conditions these women live in are deplorable; the Indian women for instance are kept in barracks. They are paid a pittance. Some have died in childbirth.

    2. The rise of “no questions asked” surrogacy businesses in Mexico and elsewhere which accept sperm from HIV+ men and men with other sexual and bloodborne diseases for “washing” and impregnating desperate “volunteer” women.

    3. The phenomenon of American “army wives” whose families face great financial strain acting as surrogates at a rate that far exceeds that of civilian women.

    4. Wealthy Chinese couples hiring American women to bear their babies so that the children will have citizenship rights and an advantage applying to school here.

    The more details exposed, the better, for it is in the details of this business that its wicked nature becomes obvious beyond all dispute, even to those who cannot see what is wrong with robbing a child of his or her natural parent/s.

  • Emma

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with gestational surrogacy when both intended parents are the genetic/biological parents. In particularly when its medically required for the safety of the fetus and mother. I do however see your point when using donor embryos you might as well adopt its the same thing. Many people use gestational surrogacy to preserve their own nuclear family to have a biological child of their own and so they could be the biological parents. The child is then reared by it’s biological parents so I don’t think the child will have issues with knowing that a gestational carrier was involved because their mom’s uterus was not functioning. If anything the child would feel loved knowing the lengths that their mom and dad went to to have them

  • Alice

    Austin I found your article via a Google search of Aaron Ruse b. 1764, who is my 4th great grandfather through his daughter Mary Polly Ruse. I note you indicate having identified Aaron’s father and am hopeful you will share that information. If so, please respond accordingly and I will provide my contact information. Thanks!

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