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Lauren wrote:

Hi, guys —

I have a huge dilemma, and I need help.

A few years ago, long before I was with my boyfriend and before I started the RCIA process, I was a gestational surrogate — meaning, I carried in my uterus a baby that was not biologically mine. (IVF) In Vitro Fertilization was used and the baby was biologically her mother and fathers, not mine. I received approximately $[amount of money concealed] for the process of the pregnancy, and the baby went home with her parents after she was born. I was purely the uterus in which she grew.

I did this for a couple reasons

  • my family needed money, and
  • I wanted to start a college education for my son

I had liked being pregnant and wanted to experience it again and I liked the idea of helping a couple that could not otherwise have their own biological children.

Now I am in a different place in my life, especially in regards to religion. I am converting to Catholicism and I have loved what I am learning about the faith. It seems like a good fit for me. I understand the Catholic view on IVF and assisted reproduction and I know that the surrogacy would not be accepted by the Church so here is my dilemma:

My very Catholic boyfriend equates the surrogacy to prostitution, saying that I whored myself out. He feels that the only way to make it right is to pay back the couple all the money I received. I feel that:

  • since I wasn't Catholic when I did the surrogacy, and
  • since paying back the money doesn't change the fact that I did IVF

I should not pay the money back — after all, they got a beautiful, healthy daughter out of the process.

I guess my questions are:

  • Does the Catholic Church view this type of sin:
    • in the acceptance of money or
    • in the process of reproduction outside of norm God has established?
  • Does giving the money back make it right?
  • I would not do another surrogacy, but how can I change what is already done?

Any advice or insight would be hugely appreciated.

Lauren

  { From the Church's view, why is gestational, surrogate mothering a sin and what would you do? }

Mike replied:

Dear Lauren,

You said:

  • Does the Catholic Church view this type of sin:
    • in the acceptance of money or
    • in the process of reproduction outside of norm God has established?

The Church views this as a grave sin due to the process of reproduction outside of norm God has established.

From the Catechism:

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.

You said:

  • Does giving the money back make it right?
  • I would not do another surrogacy, but how can I change what is already done?

I may be presupposing something that is not true but I sense you may be rationalizing keeping the money for your son’s education.

Because of the nuances of various situations, I would recommend you talk to a priest who is faithful to the Church about your situation and go with his counsel. Your boyfriend is justified in his views.

That is my take. My colleagues may have a different take.

Mike

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