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Sherri Shepherd’s Surrogate Baby

Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

High profile divorce sheds light on modern-day baby making practices and its perils.

The practice of surrogacy itself, Miller says, treats women as if they were merely incubators. “The woman’s worth is merely functional,” she said. “A surrogate mother has allowed herself to be valued solely for her procreative powers. If she fails to function properly, if she fails to produce a ‘good product,’ she has set herself up for rejection.

Further, a surrogate mother is not selected because she is loved, but because she is healthy and has good genes, Miller points out. “The father’s sperm, of course, should come from good genetic stock as well. The surrogate mother and the sperm donor literally set about to build a baby by mixing together all the required traits. The end result is a child who is not welcomed unconditionally because his origin is rooted in an act of self-giving covenantal love, but ‘welcomed’ because he measures up to the manufacturer’s specifications.”

Joan Nolan and her colleagues at the St. John Paul II Center for Women are trying to reverse the widespread mentality that leads to situations like this.

“People are so clueless about the dignity of every single human person,” she said. “The stories I’ve heard of children born into situations like that are just horrendous—the fact that they don’t need a father, so many women having in vitro, with somebody else’s sperm because they want to know what it’s like to be pregnant…. This little child created in a petri dish and then rejected by the very ones who created her. You have a little human being there who God allowed to come into being for a reason. No human being is an accident.”

The John Paul Center teaches the dignity of every human person and the dignity of sexuality through both educational programs and medical care, with its expanding network of Gianna Centers. “When you can explain to women that they hold the key, the dignity and beauty of their fertility….if you can get to their heart and explain that to them, how dignified the sexual act is in terms of bringing a new human being into existence–they havent heard those words before,” Nolan said.

John Burger is news editor for Aleteia’s English edition.

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