He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the LORD. Psalms 113:9
The ideology and practice of Surrogacy is not something new. Surrogacy dates back to ancient Biblical times. Today parents who desire a child but for whatever reason can't carry a pregnancy to term have the option of using a Gestational Carrier/Surrogate. In Gestational Surrogacy the eggs from another woman, the Intended Mother are implanted in the Surrogate along with the Intended Father's sperm. Gestational Surrogacy requires the use of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) but it gives couples the opportunity to both have a genetic link to their child. Of course during Biblical times and before God gave man the know how to invent IVF Traditional Surrogacy was the norm and the Surrogate would use her own eggs in conjunction with the sperm of the Intended Father.
One of the oldest examples of Surrogacy in the Bible can be seen in the book of Genisis with Abraham, who fathered a child by the servant woman Hagar. Genesis 16 talks about how it was his wife Sarah's idea because she was not able to bear children, and quotes her as telling Abraham “And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.” (Gen 16:2, KJV). Of course we know the story of Abraham, Sarah and Hagar was not without trials and tribulations. Sarah became jealous of Hagar and Hagar did not want to give baby Ishmael to Sarah to raise with Abraham. Ironically these are some of the issues seen in Traditional surrogacy today.
Another example of Surrogacy in the Bible comes from Jacob and his wives Rachel and Leah. After Leah had given birth to four sons, Rachel remained barren. She became jealous of Leah and gave Jacob her maidservant, Bilhah, to be a surrogate mother for her. "she said, Behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto her; and she shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her." (Gen 30:3, KJV)Bilhah gave birth to two sons: Dan and Naphtali. Of course we know that story had its trials and tribulations also.
Another Biblical precedent for Surrogacy can be seen where Mosaic Law provided for levirate marriage, where a man would impregnate his dead brother’s widow and bear children on his behalf (Deuteronomy 25:5 ff.; prefigured in Genesis 38, and God punished Onan for his refusal to do so; valid in Christ’s day (Mark 12:19)). Ruth was a surrogate mother for Naomi in a sense, because Ruth gave birth to Obed (fathered by Ruth’s husband Boaz) who was called ‘a son born to Naomi’.
The most magnificent example of Surrogacy in the Bible, and one that did turn out well, is Jesus Christ. The gospel tells us that Jesus was born of a virgin, fathered by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:26-35). That scenario clearly puts Mary in the role of being a surrogate mother for Jesus.
The struggle for many Christian couples who are infertile is what does God's Laws say about reproductive technology and Surrogacy? Many pastors are against Traditional Surrogacy because they consider it adulterous. However, Modern or Gestational Surrogacy would not be adulterous for Biblical purposes because the intention of the infertile couple would be to use their own egg and sperm and the Surrogate would just be the carrier.