Tinkering With Motherhood: Doctors, Lawyers and Surrogacy

Your story on surrogate motherhood identifying Hagar as an early example should have followed up with the results of that surrogacy ("Surrogate Motherhood: a Wrenching Test of Ethics," Nov. 18).

After Ishmael's birth, there was conflict between Sarah and Hagar. Sarah beat Hagar and Hagar fled until commanded by the Lord to return. Ishmael, the son of Hagar and Abraham, did not become a part of Sarah's family as he was taken away by Hagar and became the progenitor of the Arab tribes.

Surrogacy is here to stay. Our legal system will have to develop guidelines. In areas other than legal, the motives of the would-be parents and the woman who rents her body can be evaluated only by those involved. If others consider the process to be "wrong," the medical profession bears a heavy burden of responsibility.

In a world in which we have many thousands of children available for adoption, one wonders why a generous and loving couple will not provide what those children so desperately need. In a world population of billions, is the preservation of genes from one person so important? One senses a desire to leave a living monument to one's self.

There appears to be a certain selfishness involved with little concern for effects on the child. Those cannot be readily discerned, but years hence, how will they answer "Where did I come from?" "You are from a committee. X provided a seed, Y provided the sperm and Z was hired to provide an incubator."

It's a puzzling situation for a child to face. How will it be explained that there is no connection except love between the child and the person the child calls "mother"? In case of divorce, can the question of child custody be resolved by the fact that one of the couple has no genetic links to the child?

One thinks that perhaps a Pandora's box has been opened by this medical tinkering. However, it should also be kept in mind that the last occupant released from that box was hope.


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