My friend wants to donate her eggs. I think that is weird. I also think that it is not what God would want because it could potentially give gay people children. I also don’t think it’s natural. What are your thoughts on this?
– A. from New Jersey
Part 1: Is there Biblical precedent?
Part 2: Natural or crossing the line
Is there Biblical precedent? (Part 1)
This question came in over six months ago and it is one I have been chewing on ever since. My first thought was that I do not have a scientific or medical ethics background and that I am profoundly unqualified to answer it. However the question was “what are your thoughts on this?” so on that basis I will give a few thoughts or opinions but I do not claim to have a definitive answer.
We need to first ask ourselves if there is a Biblical precedent or principle that we can look to. On first take we might think that of course there is not one because it is only in recent times that donating eggs has become possible–long after the Bible was fully written. Let’s look again. The underlying issue for egg donation is really an issue of surrogates. Someone cannot conceive or cannot carry a child on their own and they want a child. They are looking for a “surrogate” to do what they don’t have the power to do.
For surrogate birth, we actually do have a Biblical precedent. Let’s look back at Abraham and Sarah. God had promised Abraham a son but when much time had passed and Sarah was still barren she grew impatient and devised a plan to make it happen. She told Abram (this was before God changed his name) “’Please go in to my maid; perhaps I will obtain children through her.’” (Genesis 16:2)
Using a servant or secondary wife to provide a child was a popular strategy in many ancient cultures of the time. The child would be considered Sarah’s legally, the birth mother simply being a surrogate. So just like Ecclesiastes says, “there is nothing new under the sun.” It is only the methods that have changed over time as modern science has advanced new possibilities.
In telling the story of Sarah, her maid Hagar, and the son Ishmael born to her we must also look to results. Sarah’s motivation was to “help” God along and Abram was passive in agreeing to it. She did not have the faith or trust to wait for God’s timing and God’s way. The end result was a big mess and has caused trouble between Arabs and Jews down to our present day.
Therefore, am I saying that any human intervention in the matter of procreation is wrong? That’s the dilemma when we consider in what cases it is proper to overcome any natural obstacles to barrenness in our path. Is artificial insemination wrong? Is using someone else’s eggs? How about using a surrogate mother to simply carry the child?
Natural or crossing the line (Part 2)
This is the tricky part. I don’t know the motivation of the friend in this question who desires to donate her eggs. Maybe it is simple compassion and it’s hard to find fault with that. There also may be a host of different motivations on the part of people who may want to use the eggs—from gay couples to godly prospective parents desperate for an answer to childlessness.
As I pondered this over and over trying to find a guiding principle to answer it something came on the news that helped me. I don’t know too much about it but I saw trailers for an interview with a couple in which the man was the one pregnant, he was somehow carrying the child. How this became medically possible I really don’t know. I do know that when I saw the snippets for the TV piece I felt sick to my stomach. Positively revolted. Somehow I knew that this had crossed the line.
Why so? Because God specifically gave childbearing to women and to override it even if medically possible is the purest form of rebellion. After the fall in the garden the Lord said to Eve: “’I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, in pain you will bring forth children; yet your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.’” (Genesis 3:16) Adam was to have a different function.
Perhaps you feel I am far a field from donating eggs but I see a relationship. When we try to manipulate nature and God’s plan we are acting exactly like they did before the Great Flood or like the people who tried to build the tower of Babel or the deepness of the rebellion of Sodom and Gomorrah. It is the kind of rebellion that says, “We will be like God, we will make the decision about how things will operate, we don’t care about how God designed things—we want to do it our own way.”
As we settle into any new scientific advancement and whether it is right or wrong to use it, a good question to ask ourselves is whether we are using it within God’s general plan for mankind or thumbing our nose at God’s way and overriding his principles just because we can.
Overcoming barrenness is a good goal unless it violates God’s natural order. Perhaps there are times when donating eggs is fixing a problem but I can see where it also might be rooted in profound rebellion. What does profound rebellion reap? Eventually God says: ENOUGH. The next time that happens will be the end of the age and the Second Coming of Jesus. Your question raises the issue: how close are we?