Surrogate motherhood as a problem of biomedical ethics

Louw D.J. (1989)

The original publication is available at http://www.samj.org.za

The most important question in biomedical ethics is really whether a researcher should do what he can do. The interventional model of modern medicine, which makes medical decisions on medical grounds, can threaten human values. In a Christian perspective we are responsible to God for our humanity. Surrogate motherhood is a very complicated question which concerns the problem of childlessness. Biomedical ethics, in the Christian context, cannot merely condone surrogate motherhood as a human and standard medical procedure. Ethically speaking, an unqualified no or an unqualified yes cannot be given. The parents' motives for their decision and the quality of their marriage are of the greatest importance before a decision about surrogate motherhood can be reached. The position of the woman who undertakes to be a surrogate mother is also questionable. Pregnancy is not just physical fact, it is an existential and human concern. The human womb is thus more than just an organ - it is a part of a women's identity.

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