Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Question I've Been Pondering *ETA

Marie Therese's post about the woman offering to be a surrogate brought up something I have been thinking about over the last few day. Obviously, surrogacy where IVF or IUI are used is against the Church's teaching, since IVF and IUI are inherently immoral.  My question is whether there is any moral issue with a married couple (through normal sexual relations) conceiving a child for the purpose of giving that child up for adoption?  I can't think of any reason that it wouldn't be, but I was wondering if anyone else had thoughts on this.  If it is licit and one could find a couple willing to undergo the pregnancy part, but that wasn't ready to raise more children at that time, it would seem to be a way that fertiles and infertiles could help each other if you could get them together.  Anyone have thoughts on this?  Am I being crazy to even wonder about this?

Edited: Everyone's answers that the intent is where the issue is that makes it too much like the child as a commodity issue that also comes up in IVF, surrogacy, etc makes sense, and that children should be raised by their biological parents as long as the parents are capable of doing so is an important point.  I figured that there must be something I was missing.


  1. This is too weird. I haven't been thinking the EXACT same thing very recently, BUT I was thinking of this very topic. My thought was about if I am ever blessed with abundant fertility and/or children through adoption and if I could ever make an adoption plan for any future baby I may conceive in the hopes of making another beautiful Catholic family.
    I am not sure I am as strong as many bmoms out there. Then again, my circumstances would be way different from theirs (I wouldn't necessarily NOT be able to financially and emotionally support the baby, I would know more poignantly how that pregnancy could very well be my last and shouldn't I raise any child brought into this (once) barren womb? etc) but at the same time I would be in a position to better understand the GIFT I would be giving to some adoptive couple.

    I'm still not sure I could ever do it, but this is such an interesting topic. Conceiving with the INTENT of making an adoption plan for your child.

    My thoughts on YOUR question are as follows: from first glance, nothing really seems morally inacceptable about it. The child would not be robbed of his/her right to be conceived and carried within the act of marital love of his biological parents. Adoption, as we all know, is a beautiful and moral thing, too. The part that gets sticky is, how is the topic breached? Is it the hopeful adoptive couple soliciting the other couple to become pregnant SO THAT they can receive the child via adoption? That, to me, seems like it crosses some moral lines. And maybe to a lesser extent, even if it is the bio-parents who have the idea... IDK, something about it seems like it's just not the "desired" way in which a child should be conceived, even though physically no moral wrongs may be committed.
    Just my un-equipped-with-Church-doctrine two cents.

    Oh, and I was thinking if it were me (to become pg), it would be if I became pg FIRST and it perhaps wasn't an ideal time for me to raise another baby (say, I'm 48, have 10 kids already, the oldest is 9 yrs old... everything about this scenario of course being completely a pipedream!!! But in my mind I was conjuring up a situation where I would be IN the predicament already, but not necessarily getting pregnant IN ORDER TO make an adoption plan).

  2. I don't know the answer to that question, but somehow it seems unfair to the child that is conceived. Even though adoption is a beautiful thing, most people agree that a child remaining with their biological parents is always the best scenario. What would that child think when they were older? How would they feel about being separated from biological siblings/extended family? I don't just doesn't seem right.

  3. I've wondered that myself. I don't know the answer but I'm interested to read what the others have to say!

  4. I agree with callmemama. The problem is that a child's biological parents are morally obliged to raise the child if they can do so. As a friend of mine who WAS adopted put it, "Yes, I'm a fan of adoption - as opposed to the alternative. But that doesn't mean it's easy for the kids." He had an unusually tough situation, but he knows a lot about the subject and made the point that babies sort of inherently know they've been separated from their biological parents - because they imprint at birth, I think. Not like they could articulate it or anything. But the ideal is for the parents to raise the child, if possible. Where they can't care for the child, adoption is a very generous option offered by some other couple so that the child has alternatives other than death (obviously) or parents who just can't care for him.

  5. The "bones" of this scenario seem morally acceptable. Certainly conception between a married couple and adoption are both perfectly fine. However, I do think that it goes against God's plan of a couple were to purposefully conceive without the intent of raising that child. It feels like a manipulation of the gift of their fertility. A child is the fruit of their married love; if they are able to provide for it and raise it, it is their obligation to do so. Adoption is the beautiful option that is there when parents are unable to raise a child conceived. In some ways I think it could even be considered a violation of their marital vows. In the Rite of Marriage, the priest asks, "Will you accept children lovingly from God, and bring them up according to the law of Christ and his Church?" In the very vows of the marriage sacrament, the couple is agreeing to not only to be open to children, but to raise them according to the faith. I have a feeling that in the end, this situation would not hold up morally.

  6. I think Complicated Life got it on this one. Well said. Everything I was thinking but didn't know how to say.

  7. I agree with the comments that it would not be moral to conceive with the INTENT to give the baby up. It seems to me that an adoption situation comes up because of an unforeseen or unfortunate crisis situation with the birth parents. To plan in advance to give a child away does not seem a morally licit option.

    It would be very weird to be that child. Think about it..."I was conceived in love by two married parents, but only for the purpose of giving me away so that I could make some other couple happy." Seems a bit like "baby as commodity" and that the child's life is being purposely played with.

    Back to the basics of Christian morality, even if the act itself is moral (conceiving a child in marriage), and the end is moral (giving the baby up for adoption to a loving home), the intent has to be moral, too, and I think this is where the scenario you raise becomes problematic. The intent, even before conception, would be to give your child away to unrelated people. I can't imagine that this would be the mind of God or the Church.

    But, it's a very interesting question! :)

  8. Interesting question.

    To conceive with the intent to “give up” seems like making a product for sale (or donation . . .however you want to define it). Sorry, but it does.

    “Will you accept children lovingly and willingly from God” to me does not translate into you doing so with the INTENT of giving those “fruits of conception” up for adoption.

    Giving up a child for adoption should, in my opinion, never be a “goal.” Adoption is a way to make something beautiful (i.e. giving a child a family, unburdening the conscience of a birth family that cannot provide the life their child deserves) out of an ugly human mess that we find ourselves in.

    God has many ways to turn our messes into beautiful masterpieces, but it should never be a goal to test and try Him so. I fear we would be turning his creation into products if we did so.

  9. I just wanted to add that adoption is always about the child's best interest - birth parents are chosen who are best for the child, not who want the child the most. It's not about connecting people who can't have kids with children - it's about given a child who needs a home a safe place to live and be loved. So, taking the parent's needs first seems selfish. It sounds like one of those "ends not justifying the means" scenarios - turning the whole purpose of adoption on it's head.