At the Ruth Institute, we have a very definite answer to that question. Every person, without exception, is entitled to know their genetic identity and cultural heritage. Every child is entitled to a relationship with their biological mother and father, unless prevented by an unavoidable tragedy. The use of anonymous sperm or egg donors violates that natural right of every human being.
What is the basis for this belief? I will speak to you now, as a Catholic. I will tell you what my church teaches. I cannot speak for any other religion. If you and your faith tradition can agree with what I’m about to say, by all means, join in! These ideas are not the private property of the Catholic Church, and they are certainly not my personal property!
The Catholic Church holds that ever person comes into existence because God loves them and wills their existence. I’m pretty sure all Christian groups share that belief! God has arranged the universe so that human love is built into the structure of human reproduction. In the world in which we actually live, the love of the parents for each other can bring about the life of a new person. In cooperation with the love of God, parents love their children into existence.
Now we are not naïve at the Ruth Institute. We know perfectly well that many children are born in circumstances that come nowhere near this ideal of conjugal and parental love. But experience shows that no matter how well intentioned, every deviation from this ideal creates practical problems and long-lasting injustices. The further we stray from God’s plan, the greater the risks.
Back in 1987, Cardinal Ratzinger, who is now Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, explained this in a document entitled Donum Vitae, the Gift of Life. To put it simply, a child is the embodiment of the parents’ physical and spiritual love for each other. This view of love, life and the divine plan is the most appealing view of these matters that I know of. I will place this point of view up against any competitor.
The child of a surrogacy arrangement is certainly not the embodiment of his parents’ love. Anderson Cooper paid for an egg. He paid for womb rental. The babies in Ukraine are waiting for the “commissioning parents” to come and pick them up.
This is what is wrong with surrogacy. The child, who should be the product of his parents’ love, has become a product to be bought and sold by wealthy people like Anderson Cooper.
Or Jeffrey Epstein, who did not, as far as I know, ever actually buy a baby. And who certainly did not kill himself.
Day 2 of Week 4 of Dr. J’s Daily Chats, recorded on May 22, 2020.