Social media was ablaze recently over a viral video that showed a transgender male receiving a newborn baby from a surrogate mother, mere moments after she gave birth. The video was repugnant to many observers, who witnessed the sight of the bare-chested, long-finger-nailed transgender male holding a quivering newborn on his hairy chest. It was reported that the transgender male had paid the birth mother to carry this child to birth.

Perhaps less noticed, but along the same lines, a new USA Today article featured the story of LaDonna Woodmansee, who is on a self-appointed mission to be a surrogate mother for couples. The article portrayed Woodmansee as a sort of surrogacy hero. She is on a mission to give birth for couples unable to have children naturally—including, by the way, LGBTQ/same-sex couples.

These recent stories serve as stark examples in the larger cultural conversation now happening about surrogacy. The practice of surrogacy, though, has been long debated. Christians must think and speak clearly on this topic.

Christian ethicist Joe Carter rightly explains that there are a few different categories of surrogacy. “There are two main types of surrogacy, gestational surrogacy and traditional surrogacy. Additionally, if the surrogate mother receives compensation beyond the reimbursement of medical and other reasonable expenses, the arrangement is called commercial surrogacy.”

Albert Mohler recently took on this issue directly. He said, “I do believe that the practice of surrogate parenting is something that breaks the moral normal pattern of human reproduction and compromises the conjugal union of the husband and the wife in God’s institution of marriage.”

He added, “I do not believe that it is moral for a Christian couple to undertake surrogate parenting. Now, I understand that if there are couples that are irregularly established such as same-sex couples, there’s no way they’re going to be able to reproduce. But that’s outside, again, what is biblically mandated.

Mohler went on to tackle a few important questions. “What about couples that may have difficulty with pregnancy or a woman carrying a pregnancy? Well, we certainly grieve with those couples, but I think it’s important to note that throughout 2,000 years of Christian history, I think there would be a virtually unanimous view until very recently in the more liberal wing of the church that something like surrogate parenting is absolutely not acceptable morally. It violates the conjugal union. And by the way, this is often complicated by the fact that this becomes a pregnancy market where people are paying women to carry babies that are not their own in order to surrender those babies when they are born. There’s something just very, very dangerous about that in moral terms.”

Dr. Mohler even went so far as to tackle the question of “Was Jesus born by a surrogate woman?”

He said, “The biblical account is not Mary the surrogate mother of Jesus, but rather, Mary the mother of Jesus. She was in every way the mother of Jesus. And I think that’s very important in terms of biblical theology. And we certainly feel for, are moved by the accounts of say, married couples, men and women who are unable to conceive by normal means or carry a pregnancy. But the answer to that… with the authority… of biblical theology and the long history of the Christian Church, the answer to that is not surrogacy. There are certain things that are possible that are not licit. … That’s not lawful according to Scripture.”

These points are important. I would add the following, based on research. Surrogacy is problematic because:

  • Surrogacy violates the marital covenant and “one flesh union” that God Himself designed;
  • The practice leads to the exploitation of women (e.g. “womb-renting”);
  • Surrogacy leads to the commodification of life, where human life is viewed as an economic unit. The Bible, meanwhile, teaches that life is sacred and valuable, not to be sold or exploited;
  • Surrogacy, by definition, willfully and intentionally removes the child from his or her birth parent. As one article on bioethics points out, “At a theological level, the introduction of third parties confuses the biological relationship between parent and child.” Surrogacy rests entirely and intentionally on this arrangement.
  • Surrogacy by embryo and IVF exposes unborn children to greater risk of dying in the womb or becoming a casualty in the reckless practices surrounding in vitro embryo creation and use;
  • Surrogacy prioritizes the parent’s wishes and desires above and ahead of the child’s well-being and best interests; and finally,
  • The LGBTQ lifestyles and sins are only further enabled and emboldened by the practice.

For Christian couples—for any husband and wife—who are unable to conceive a child, surrogacy is not the answer. It is unethical and unwise, fraught with moral problems.

Christians must understand this is an unbiblical practice. We must speak clearly on these issues, with compassion and conviction. Even as we take our pro-life stand here, we must also promote, celebrate and be involved in foster care and adoption.

In the end, this is about more than one example of one man’s actions on a viral video. This is a crucial cultural moment in which Christians must think and speak clearly. God help us…