Surrogate maternity refers to the act of procreation where a woman agrees to carry to term a pregnancy and then subsequently give the newborn infant to the commissioning couple. Surrogacy is one of the most delicate and pressing issues in public debate, complicated further by the different ways it is defined; for example, “third-party reproduction,” “donor-assisted reproduction,” or “womb for rent.”
The anthropological and ethical questions that this practice raises go to the root of the meaning of life, the body, the mother-child relationship, dignity and memory, but also of gift and reciprocity. It seems that in political debate, the categories of humanism have been substituted for those of post-humanism, and that public reflection merely accepts passively the achievements of science.
The Church’s magisterium, on the other hand, invites us to integrate new biological and technical discoveries so as to place them in an anthropological horizon focused on the meaning of human life and dignity. From here we will highlight certain discernment criteria to fully understand the practice of surrogate maternity.