Last week Dave Rubin announced that he and his male partner were having twins via surrogacy, in that they procured two women’s eggs, utilized their own sperm to create two unique lives which were then implanted into a surrogate for gestation. In the world of conservative media, this garnered congratulatory praises from entities perceived as allies in the culture war. Credit to The Red Elephants, who compiled a list that includes PragerU, BlazeTV’s Twitter account, Christopher Rufo, DeSantis press secretary Christina Pushaw (who has bible verses in her twitter bio), Townhall’s Rebecca Downs (a Catholic with a bible verse in Twitter bio), Blaze CEO Tyler Cardon, and Blaze host Sara Gonzales. Mormon Glenn Beck also issued congratulatory remarks on his program in what he called a “hard and honest conversation” that was neither hard nor honest.
This announcement has rightfully drawn the ire of the Christian Conservatives, who expressed either outrage or disgust over Rubin’s decision and subsequent media reactions. These include Delano Squire at The Blaze, The American Conservative’s Declan Leary, Lauren Witzke, and others. Before going deeper, we should offer praise to those who responded to the issue whether in eloquent articles or through mockery.
Yet all too often, Christians are ignorant on the issue of in vitro fertilization (IVF) and surrogacy. Admittedly, this is because these methods are often employed by the most affluent in society, so they are not as commonplace in the pews or on the streets. Prior to Rubin, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian were the most prominent users of IVF and surrogacy, which they used in bearing multiple children. Moreover, it is speculated (albeit unconfirmed or denied) that Pete Buttigieg and his butt buddy used surrogacy, as twin adoption is rare and they were photographed in a hospital holding “their” newborns.
On a surface level, these methods do not pass the sniff test with regards to a Christian worldview, yet there is a wickedness which must not go untouched just because only the wealthiest in society have access to it.
Direct Link to Abortion
IVF and Surrogacy cannot be disconnected from abortion. While many women might be enamored with the glamorous the notion of lending their wombs for income, as this industry is lucrative, it is less discussed how the sausage is made. The process of IVF and Surrogacy are risky and connected with one of America’s greatest evils: abortion.
Ask yourself, what happens to the excess fertilized eggs? An NIH study from 2003 estimated that around 400K embryos were in frozen storage in the US. Recent estimates place that number in excess of a million. For surrogacy, the process is not 1:1 where sperm is mix with a singular egg. Instead, there are multiple fertilizations created. In Rubin’s own account, 18 eggs from one donor were fertilized in order for there to be two zygotes implanted into two different surrogates.
An introduction to a 2019 NIH study entitled Discarding IVF embryos: reporting on global practices stated the following:
During in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment, embryos of the highest implantation potential are included in the embryo transfer or cryopreservation process. Studies show that the optimal number of oocytes retrieved per cycle is 15; subsequently, supernumerary embryos are expected.
The ratio of fifteen to one as Rubin accounts is in line with the industry ratios. If life begins at conception, then these supernumerary embryos created are human lives, yet they are immediately considered excess or surplus, thus requiring means of disposal. In other words, for every one embryo created, upwards of fifteen on average are discarded. That is abortion.
The results of the study were as follows:
According to the data acquired, the majority of practitioners, dispose of embryos by placing them directly in a trash can strictly dedicated for embryo disposal for both fresh and frozen cycles (39% and 36.7% respectively). Moreover, 66.4% of practitioners discard the embryos separately—case by case—at different time points during the day. Over half of embryologists (54%) wait until day 6 to discard the surplus embryos, while 65.5% do not implement a specially allocated incubator space as a designated waiting area prior to disposal.
The excess embryos—human lives—are reduced to medical waste—that is trash in the fertility clinic industry with half discarding the embryo by day six. Majority of these surplus embryos do not get stored away, but tossed.
One cannot be pro-life and support this industry at any level of the supply chain. Donating to sperm banks for a quick buck is not pro-life. Selling donor eggs, knowing that they will be used to create discarded embryos is not pro-life. Selling one’s womb to gestate someone else’s child in an abortion laden industry is not pro-life. The commoditization of human embryos is intertwined with abortion, only that the customers treat their biological offspring as eggs to make an omelet, leaving a body count in their wake.
Health of the Mother
Not only is the industry murderous, it also bears a legitimate risk for the health of the mother. Like prostitution, the commoditization of a woman’s body negatively effects their health while bearing societal consequences as it relates to their own personal relationships. Just as men do not want to date prostitutes and e-thots, the same would aversely impact that of a surrogate. More importantly, the risks are real and these surrogate pregnancies are very risky. In essence, a foreign entity is being implanted into the womb, which causes a bodily reaction. Like with organ transplants, it does not always take, and when that happens, a host of problems occur as the body is rejecting the embryo.
With IVF, there is a number of risks involved for the mother (whether biological or the surrogate as they are not always the same). According to Mayo Clinic, the following risks are associated with IVF: multiple births (twins), premature birth and low birth weight, miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy where the embryo is outside the uterus and thus requires abortion—a scenario that effects 2-5% of IVF patients, birth defects—which disproportionately effect older women, and cancer, which is connected to the drugs used in IVF. Physiologically, these procedures bear risks for the women involved, whether they are the surrogate or an infertile mother attempting to conceive.
Emotionally, there is also a toll, specifically with the surrogate mother. Legally, in most cases the surrogate has little rights to the child they bore in their womb. People like Dave Rubin sifted through egg donors and then chose different women to gestate the child. This is to prevent any biological claim the surrogate might have over the child while allowing more “choice” in the design of the baby.
An NIH study entitled Emotional experiences in surrogate mothers: A qualitative study concluded the following:
Surrogacy pregnancy should be considered as high-risk emotional experience because many of surrogate mothers may face negative experiences. Therefore, it is recommended that surrogates should receive professional counseling prior to, during and following pregnancy.
The rate of post partem depression for women is generally around 1 in 7 or between 10-20%. This study, while concluding of the emotional risks was pro-IVF and contended that it is not emotionally negative for the mothers, despite finding the following:
The follow up of those women showed that 32% of women had emotional and psychological problems for several weeks after losing the babies. After a few months, this rate decreased to 15% and continued until 1 year only in 6% of cases.
The rate of emotional distress is over double that of a normal pregnancy. So even if a majority do not succumb does not mean the risk are not dramatically higher for the surrogate mother. Generally, studies will assert that surrogacy neither negatively impacts the mother or the child, but only a subset of women are surrogates while the children are raised in affluence. Becoming a surrogate is like a marriage, but the physiological health risks remain evident even if the psychological downsides might be less substantiated.
Circumventing God’s Design
Whereas the first two reasons are primarily secular, the remainder of the argument will focus on why IVF and surrogacy are unjustifiable under a Christian worldview. In the ancient world, there were surrogates by way of concubines.
Now Sarai, Abram’s wife had borne him no children, and she had an Egyptian maid whose name was Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, “Now behold, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Please go in to my maid; perhaps I will obtain children through her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. After Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Abram’s wife Sarai took Hagar the Egyptian, her maid, and gave her to her husband Abram as his wife. He went in to Hagar, and she conceived; and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her sight. And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done me be upon you. I gave my maid into your arms, but when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her sight. May the Lord judge between you and me.” But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your maid is in your power; do to her what is good in your sight.” So Sarai treated her harshly, and she fled from her presence. Now the angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur. He said, “Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where have you come from and where are you going?” And she said, “I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai.” Then the angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit yourself to her authority.” Moreover, the angel of the Lord said to her, “I will greatly multiply your descendants so that they will be too many to count.”
After listening to his wife, Abram conceives Ishmael, circumventing God’s promise to Abraham of the son he would bear through Sarai. Doubtful of God’s promise, and due to his wife’s beseeching, Abram conceived a child through Hagar. This later caused strife between them to where God intervened on behalf of Hagar. Other issues pertaining to this surrogacy would be Abram keeping Hagar under his household rather than discarding her. Abram’s abdication to Sarai to dispose of his son is disgraceful.
We as Christians must not circumvent God’s plan for childbearing by taking the worldly alternatives. Just as an inconvenient pregnancy does not justify abortion, neither does the desire to bear children justify participation in the IVF industry or the employment of surrogates. Furthermore, God designed sex for marriage and marriage for procreation. Instead of hiring concubines, that is surrogates, to incubate children in high risk, abortion adjacent procedures, we should rely on God’s providence and will during these struggles. Perhaps it is also a couple’s trial which God sets before them, seeking their reliance upon Him rather than the world. Perhaps it is a sign to prayerfully consider adoption.
Fueling the Homosexual Agenda
Christians should have no part in an industry where a target customer are homosexual couples like that of Dave Rubin or Pete Buttigieg (again, unconfirmed). As Delano Squires wrote in his Blaze column:
The issue for Christian conservatives isn’t whether these children’s lives have inherent worth. It is the moral and spiritual implications of two men taking two eggs from one woman and implanting them into two different women in the hopes of producing two babies who will grow up without the maternal love and affection of any of the three women.
For Christians who hold to a biblical worldview regarding [sex, sexuality, marriage, and family] seeing fellow conservatives celebrate the creation of children to fulfill the desires of adults apart from God’s design for the family was a painful, but necessary reminder that conservatism and Christianity are not the same.
Two dads are not the same as a mother and a father. Christians should not be attending gay weddings, baking gay cakes, using preferred pronouns, or willfully allowing gay adoption. This ideology is corrosive towards our youth and culture, yet too many that would praise Ron DeSantis for his recent bill would also praise Dave Rubin for participating in an abortion-adjacent industry where embryos were discarded on his account!
It must be rejected, especially if these people claim to be “conservatives” fighting for Christian values. Those who support him must be viewed with heightened scrutiny. How many mocked Pete Buttigieg for his “paternity” leave but remained silent when someone perceived as on the right does the exact same thing? Should there be a Christian profession of faith amongst these people, they must be called out for any expressed support. We cannot fight for a culture and protect lives if we cede ground on certain segments of larger issues.
As with Andrew Klavan, I concluded with a call to scrutinize the media we consume. Too many will simply apply this to Hollywood movies but not to their own political commentary as if the latter is not more indicative of one’s heart. This is not to recite the liberal talking point that we consume more Fox News than their pastors, a point often made by subscribers to the New York Times and viewers of CNN. For some, this might be the end of their consumption of Blaze Media or certain hosts, finding that conservative outlets are little better than their mainstream counterparts.
Additionally, Christians need to be able to accurately articulate the Christian worldview as it pertains to IVF and surrogacy practices. This is not an area for disagreement or Christian Liberty (Romans 14). These practices should be outlawed wherever possible. Though it remains numerically niche, these methods are employed within celebrity and elitist cultures, thus thrusting them onto the mainstream via pop culture. While it can be said that Christians are largely ignorant on IVF and surrogacy because of their perceived insignificance, no longer can this continue to be the case. Fortunately, this issue is not ethically complicated under a Christian worldview, yet too many would desire to nuance it to please the world.
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