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Is This Love? Surrogates, Same-Sex Couples, and Motherless Babies

July 22, AD2014

The story of two homosexual men in Texas who became fathers of twin boys via a surrogate appeared in my Facebook feed a couple of weeks ago, posted by a woman voicing her support for the men and her anger over their legal predicament.

Each man is the biological father of one twin, and each wants to legally adopt the biological son of the other. Because Texas does not recognize same-sex “marriage”, the law will not allow the adoption or for the birth certificates to reflect the two fathers as parents of both boys.

So began the cry of discrimination toward these men, and the injustice of the law.

I decided to jump in with quite the opposite perspective. I wasn’t expecting my comments to be well-received, but even so, I was stunned at how the thread developed.

What was truly maddening, I said, was that two babies had been manufactured and sold, and now were being denied their mother. It is wrong, I argued, to create by design a home for those babies that intentionally deprives them of their mother. They have a right to know and be cared for by their mother.

I went even further and said that what the two men had done was not love. The adults have gotten what they wanted, but the babies have not been given what they need nor what they deserve and are truly entitled to, which is their mother. Whatever emotions or longings motivated the decision to conceive the babies, it was not love.

For that, I got the usual: Hateful, judgmental, critical, heartless bigot. No surprise. I was also informed that what I really meant was that homosexuals are not even capable of love.

The only moral outrage to be found was that two homosexual men were being prevented from legally adopting the other’s child. Not one other person in the thread was the least bit concerned about two babies being purposely denied their mother. The boys will have two dads, and that’s good enough.

I don’t think it is. Not at all. Not even close.

I couldn’t believe I was actually having to argue for the necessity of a mother in a child’s life! How is it that we’ve convinced ourselves that mothers are not really needed beyond giving birth? How can we seriously believe that children do not require a mother? Yet that was the argument. The boys have two dads, so they’ll be just fine. They are lucky to be so wanted, so loved. Lucky?!?

To be so loved…Except that love doesn’t do that. Love doesn’t amputate the mother from the baby’s life immediately after birth in order to accommodate the sexual preferences of the adult. Love doesn’t require the child to sacrifice for the lifestyle of the adult. Love does not tell the child, “You don’t really need a mother. You don’t get to have your mother.” Love does not presume that the child won’t feel the loss, and won’t suffer because of it.

“Love wills the good of the other,” I said. (Actually, St. Thomas Aquinas said.) “Love puts the other first. None of the adults involved in creating these babies put them first.”

Sound harsh? It should. I think it’s pretty harsh that kids are being made to order, to satisfy the wants of specialty couples who think it’s their prerogative to deprive a child of either mother or father, depending on their own sexual inclination. It’s extremely harsh that children are being required to forfeit their natural, healthy, undeniable need for both parents, mother AND father.

Frankly, it isn’t good enough that children are “wanted.” That’s the lingo and the philosophy of our contraception and abortion culture. ‘Every child a wanted child,’ and all that bull. That just means that children are things we acquire when we want to, and dispose of when we don’t want them. It’s centered only on the desires of the adults, without regard for the inherent worth of the child or his inviolable rights.

That’s not love. That’s not how children are to be treated. Wanting a child isn’t the standard. Clearly, these two men wanted a baby. They went to the trouble and expense to find a surrogate, and manufacture some embryos, and they were blessed with two healthy boys. They got what they wanted.

The real mother in Solomon’s court proved her love and her authenticity by choosing to suffer the pain of losing her baby, rather than let any harm come to him. She sought his good over her own, fully expecting terrible heartache for herself. That’s how love wills the good of the other.

Anyone truly devoted to the good of a child will not create by design a motherless or fatherless home for that child. Doing so causes great harm. And we’re not talking about harm brought about by unavoidable, unforeseen tragedy. This is planned and inflicted on purpose.

What about their mother? She’s not a victim here. In fact, she may not even be only one person! She’s what is now being called a “gestational carrier” and she may be carrying an embryo(s) created with a donor egg(s). Ugh — can we possibly find a more degrading way to treat a woman? The battle for equality for women has led us to this? Women being used for their wombs and their biological functions?

That’s the best case we can make for motherhood anymore? It’s just the physical process of gestation and childbirth? But beyond that, well, moms aren’t really necessary? How horrifying! And how ironic — decades ago the fight was to be valued for more than only mothering; now the battle has to be for the irreplaceable, pricelessness of a mother!

Assuming the mother is even mentioned on the child’s birth certificate, how will she be named? “Donor egg, incubated and grown by gestational carrier”? She’s nameless, faceless, and entirely missing.

And of course, the one who suffers the most is the child. Always the child. The child is ordered up, the product of a contract, bought and sold, and delivered like a piece of property. But it’s all dressed up in the language of wants and wishes and emotions, with a lovely baby shower and breathless oohs and ahhs, so surely it’s all wonderful.

No one is entitled to a child. Even married couples are not entitled to children. They have no right to expect that they will be given the gift of a child. They pray for children, and remain open to them in their marriage, but there’s no entitlement. You don’t walk up to the Giver of Life and insist He give you what you want. You don’t demand a gift. It’s a gift.

Children are the fruit of marriage for a reason. It’s God’s wise and perfect design that the love of husband and wife is ordered toward the creation of new life. He certainly could have designed it differently, but He obviously felt that both mother and father are necessary, and that children require the presence of both their parents.

The increasing frequency of babies being manufactured through surrogacy and then delivered to same-sex couples is alarming and heartbreaking. I can think of nothing more selfish than for adults to deliberately deprive a child they claim to love of her fundamental need and genuine right to be raised by her own mother and father because their sexual preference precludes it. It is a perversion of the family unit. It’s an injustice to the child.

Take a look at this photo.

toronto dads It shows a homosexual couple in Toronto as the son they’d had conceived through surrogacy was born. This beautiful little boy will also be denied his mother. The photographer captured the moment the two men held the baby to their bare chests.

Yes, I can clearly see the raw emotion, the tears, the joy of the father holding the baby. I do not doubt that he was overwhelmed with love in that precious moment. It is plainly obvious.

Now look at this photo.

baby Milo born to gay coupleI recognize something crucial in this picture, something else that is plainly obvious. That baby was searching for his mother. A newborn baby has only one real need, and that is to be put to mother’s breast and smell and feel her skin and suckle. That’s it. Sorry, guys, but that’s reality. Babies are born with a built-in homing device that drives them toward Mom.

I saw the baby’s face, and my heart ached and broke for him. He wanted his mother. No baby would gladly do without his mother.

Fathers are not mothers, and mothers are not fathers. They are not interchangeable. They are both essential for the well-being of a child, far beyond pregnancy and birth. That’s not just idealistic or old-fashioned dreaming. It’s common-sense reality; it’s moral truth; it’s natural law; it’s justice.

But it requires thinking, not merely acting on feelings. It requires considering the needs of another ahead of your own sometimes. It requires sacrificing what you may want in order to give the other what is truly right and just.

Our culture is so obsessed with making the case for same-sex “marriage” that now, astonishingly, sane people have to actually make the case for mothers and fathers.  We’ve elevated sexual activity and preferences high above the needs of our children. Whatever else you may call it, it’s not love.

Photography: See our Photographers page.

About the Author:

Jennifer Hartline is grateful to be Catholic, and becoming more grateful by the day. She's a proud Army wife and homeschooling mother of four children. She runs on dark chocolate and mochas, loves to bake, and remains fairly stunned that she gets to write for awesome Catholic websites like Catholic Stand. Only by the grace of God! She is a present-day abolitionist, praying (and writing loudly) for the day when we will abolish the evil of abortion in our nation and protect the child in the womb. The only thing that will save Western civilization from utter implosion is the Catholic Church. You can visit Jennifer at her blog, Wake Up, Deborah! Now, go get some chocolate.

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  • Lizzaanne O Leary

    I’m for the writer. Wish more would speak.

  • Pingback: Target’s new commercial: Lesbians having a baby? | The Thrifty Catholic()

  • LiteRain

    The saying “Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery” has been around for a long time. Imitation will always remain a “copy”, not the genuine article, and it will take lifetimes for man to only duplicate through trial
    and error what God has made, with a trail of destruction in the process. I’m a wife, woman, mother and grandmother and I certainly am not flattered by this imitation, nor would I want to be a man.
    We are looking at the trial and error with adults crying for themselves.
    Culture now encourages entitlement and feeling over God’s gifts and reality. (Example: if I work to improve my life with what I am blessed, someone who does not (work) feels entitled to the fruit of my labor; when they receive my money, it has already been diminished by the false process. They don’t realize this until they want to rise above their level of existence and can’t because they don’t understand self-motivation. They only know to demand more as the well runs dry.)
    Another looks to the imitation of a womb, arrives at a test tube and surrogate, and calls it victory and love. While there might be some success in the physical world, the “genetics” of the soul can’t be duplicated, only warped and morphed by psychiatry and drugs. A man-made law can only ‘legalize’ this within society, it cannot make it “real” and that is why it’s hard to fool children and animals. I’d like to see the situation of these 4 people in about 20 years after the fathers have to grow up with their children.
    This leaves me with 2 questions. Did these 2 fathers research the law before they decided to reside in Texas? If they did, then they would be aware that this would happen and are looking to become a test case to further an agenda, using the children once again. If they did not, and they want to remain together in their version of a family unit, why wouldn’t they spare their children the microscope to which they’ve already been
    overexposed, reside in a state with their values and get on with life?

  • t

    So, by your own explanation here, I suppose you are depriving your children of a lot of things too? You say you move your home where the army takes you, so your children are deprived of a stable home? Stable relationships with friends and family? Familiarity with any person or place? They are home schooled, one may argue they are deprived of the experiences that come along with going to school. Friendships, sportsmanship, the amazing influence teachers can be on children, the life lessons learned by social interaction.

    I am not opposed to army wives/families, nor am I opposed to homeschooling. But perhaps those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

  • Savannah Taylor

    Putting a label on people who genuinely love their children is what is wrong. Who’s to say that those kids won’t grow up in an even more loving environment than a household with a mother and father, is being a single parent also wrong ? Single fathers or mothers who cook, clean, and provide for their children giving them all the love a support they could ever need ? These children arn’t being denied a mother any more than any one else who has grown up with an only father. The men in this artical arn’t doing this to spite anyone, they just want an equal chance to have a family and build a life, and to share the world with children of their own. Isn’t that something that all of us truly want and are entitled to?

    • asmondius

      You are confusing two different sets of circumstances.

      A widow or widower parent is not in that position by choice, but by chance.

      Intentionally denying a child a mother or a father is a supreme act of selfishness. Two men can never equal a man and a woman, their quest for ‘equality’ is lunacy. And using children as some sort of commodity to possess in order to make their lives ‘normal’ is monstrous.

  • E Dale Smith-Gallo
  • Alexandra

    American Psychological Asssociation only changed its mind about homosexuality as a disorder because of political pressure. Not because of science.
    #############################
    That’s a blatant lie (however very popular among religious cultists) that has nothing in common with what was really happening back then. There were studies, actual studies unlike the years before that, when they “studied” only mentally ill patients who happened to be homosexual and convicts.

    Read very carefully this book http://www.amazon.com/Homosexuality-American-Psychiatry-Politics-Diagnosis/dp/0691028370

  • Jeff_McLeod

    I wonder if there is any neuro-psychological research looking at the effects of maternal deprivation? I suspect there is a lot of research in this area. I am tempted to review it properly and write what I find.

  • sora

    I didn’t really finish the article but i get the idea. i do agree that the role of a mother is important in a child’s development but i also don’t agree that homosexual parents aren’t entitled to caring for a child of their own. I think that some people only look at a very small part of the bigger picture, because in my opinion, the parents alone are not the only role models for the child. there are also other people aside from the parents who can fulfill the role of a mother. Say, an aunt who also has children of her own. Even if the aunt isn’t really the child’s mother, I’m pretty sure she is still able to fill the role. The same can be said for a child who grows up with his/her non-biological mother. The child may not know that he/she is not related to the mother but the child would still consider that person as mother. It’s more in the matter of rearing the child rather than their biological connection to them.
    On the matter of surrogacy, I’m not against it, as long as the child is given the love, care and attention they deserve. I believe God has reasons for everything that’s happening and if surrogacy exist, then there must be a reason for that too. I really don’t like reading about people putting words into God’s mouth as though they know everything.

  • screwliberalism

    It is *exactly* the same twisted thinking for decades now, coming from “feminism,” that a father isn’t really needed except as a sperm doner.

    How many fathers have purposefully been denied their role in their baby’s life by the action of a mother choosing abortion or adopting out of [their] baby, and that father has no say whatsoever?

  • Natural

    What amazes me is the entire debate around same sex parenting is that all of creation shows that it takes a male and female uniting to create new life. Logic would indicate that ideal scenarios would be that the male and female care for the new life created. But we humans like to become gods of creation and manipulate plain simple facts of life. When two men or two women can create new life, by all means let them.

    • E Dale Smith-Gallo

      When one person can form prejudicial opinions about families that are not theirs… by all means, let them. (Yes, this is directed at you. You raise your kids your way, but let me raise my kids mine. I don’t comment on your family, so please leave mine out of your discussions as well.)

    • Alexandra

      all of creation shows that it takes a male and female uniting to create new life
      ***********

      You are an ignorant idiot. You should really check out how different species “create a new life”.. Mother Nature is perfectly fine with same-sex activity and parenting. In fact it is perfectly fine with all kinds of activities and reproduction systems you can only dream about.

  • RD

    http://www.irishcentral.com/news/education/Pope-Francis-ten-commandments-for-a-happy-life.html

    Here is what your leader is telling you to do. Which is the opposite of what you are choosing to do. Spread love not hate. Who are you to judge leave that up to your God.

  • Lance

    Until some numbers are provided (I.e. High school or college graduation rate of children raised in same sex couples vs. traditional couples in the same area) the argument is null and void. You can’t simply state that something is a necessity because it is “the standard”. I’ve met a lot of awful mothers, who is to say that a second father would have been just as bad as a neglectful mother? Also, if the couple is same sex it is very possible that one of the partners may air on the more feminine side, so it’s not like this child will have never met someone with feminine mannerisms or who is “motherly”. Also, children “suffer” (or benefit) from all the choices that their parents make, from financial decisions to decisions on what their child is allowed to watch on TV, why is this any different? I’d be willing to say that financial decisions could make more of an effect on a child’s life as opposed to the sexual orientation of their parents. In conclusion, I believe that this is another intolerant, religious argument that has put on the front “it’s for the kids”.

  • Lance

    Until some numbers are provided (I.e. High school or college graduation rate of children raised in same sex couples vs. traditional couples in the same area) the argument is null and void. You can’t simply state that something is a necessity because it is “the standard”. I’ve met a lot of awful mothers, who is to say that a second father would have been just as bad as a neglectful mother? Also, if the couple is same sex it is very possible that one of the partners may air on the more feminine side, so it’s not like this child will have never met someone with feminine mannerisms or who is “motherly”. Also, children “suffer” (or benefit) from all the choices that their parents make, from financial decisions to decisions on what their child is allowed to watch on TV, why is this any different? I’d be willing to say that financial decisions could make more of an effect on a child’s life as opposed to the sexual orientation of their parents. In conclusion, I believe that this is another intolerant, religious argument that has put on the front “it’s for the kids”.

  • Lance

    Until some numbers are provided (I.e. High school or college graduation rate of children raised in same sex couples vs. traditional couples in the same area) the argument is null and void. You can’t simply state that something is a necessity because it is “the standard”. I’ve met a lot of awful mothers, who is to say that a second father would have been just as bad as a neglectful mother? Also, if the couple is same sex it is very possible that one of the partners may air on the more feminine side, so it’s not like this child will have never met someone with feminine mannerisms or who is “motherly”. Also, children “suffer” (or benefit) from all the choices that their parents make, from financial decisions to decisions on what their child is allowed to watch on TV, why is this any different? I’d be willing to say that financial decisions could make more of an effect on a child’s life as opposed to the sexual orientation of their parents. In conclusion, I believe that this is another intolerant, religious argument that has put on the front “it’s for the kids”.

  • Marlon

    I 100% disagree. That child is entitled to loving parents. That is it. Are you also saying that heterosexual couple’s who cannot conceive can’t get children as well? Or is this an attack against homosexuals? My wife and I are having a hard time getting pregnant again. Our son is 11 yrs old already. We want another. If we choose to adopt or get a surrogate then that is our decision and nobody has the right to judge that.

    Stop living in the past.

  • Kate33927

    You have no idea how much love these fathers have for their sons and neither do I. It is absurd that you wrote this article on people that you have never met and have no idea how much love they have in their hearts. Would you rather a baby have a not so loving mother and a father than two very loving fathers just so the baby has a mother? You are making ridiculous statements. It seems like those fathers really love their sons and you should stop judging them for wanting to have their own children. Women and men make babies because they want their own and it’s okay to you because “God made it natural for women and men to have babies.” Well God also made those men gay, have you thought about that? If those men really love those babies then I’m sure He’s smiling down at them just as much as he’s smiling down at a loving mother and father.

    • Marlon

      True, very discriminating article. She claims to only care for the well being of the child but it comes across as something more than that.

  • E Dale Smith-Gallo

    What they are experiencing is based in significantly more love than this article is. I’m glad that Jesus gave you permission to judge your fellow man. Oh wait… he didn’t. Read what you wrote and remember that you are talking about people and that you are arguing that your prejudice is more important than their family.

  • Anonymous

    People like you are the reason that I left the Catholic Church. People like you are also the reason that I consider that choice to be one of my greatest. I sincerely hope that your children never need a surrogate or *gasp* that they’re gay. No amount of science or research will change your mind, but even I had to say something.

    • Marlon

      I remain a Catholic despite people like the author, but I choose to live in the present and accept modern thinking. Catholicism has always been very slow to react to change.

  • thisismyvision

    I firmly believe that a baby needs a mother and a father. These men are living what they believe to be true, and living the love that they know. That’s important. This is the love that they know.

    All the rational and theological arguments mean nothing to someone who doesn’t accept the foundational principles. To argue against them using a Catholic worldview fails not because the teaching is false, but because there is no belief. Rather, why not argue for them to believe in something even -more- beautiful than the love that they have found?

    • Guest

      That is nonsensical. Just replace these two men with an incestuous relationship and see where that logic leads.

    • E Dale Smith-Gallo

      But it’s not an incestuous relationship. You understand that, right? I mean, I could replace “nonsensical” in your statement with “genius”… replacing one thing with nothing like it does not help either the writer or the person replying.

    • thisismyvision

      Except it isn’t an incestuous relationship.

      I’m just saying that maybe having a little bit of respect for their experience is worth more in the end than complete rejection and aggression.