For the Church, headed by the Moscow Patriarchate surrogacy whether it is commercial or voluntary is unacceptable. This method of generating children “offends human dignity” according to Vakhtang Kipshidze, vice-chairman of the Synodal Department of the Patriarchate for relations between the Church, society and the media, in a statement released to the agency RIA-Novosti.
The draft law on banning surrogate motherhood in Russia is now being examined by the State Duma (Russian Parliament). In the presentation of the text on March 27, it is emphasized that the proposed ban would be temporary, in anticipation of a new overall draft regulation of surrogacy, which at the same time defend the rights and interests of newborn babies, surrogate mothers and prospective parents.
“The use of techniques surrogate motherhood is a choice of the child’s parents. The Church cannot support this decision, as it considers that this constitutes an offense to human dignity and is in itself a reproductive technology of dubious morality” – said Kipshidze.
Immoral and unnatural
The position of the Russian Orthodox Church on surrogacy is clearly expressed in the “Foundations of the Social Conception”, initially approved by the Jubilee Synod of 2000 and subsequently updated several times, in reference to the moral and bioethical issues that have arisen in recent years. It is the document that most of all expresses the Orthodox consciousness of being the “soul” of the Russian society, and was wanted and prepared by the then Metropolitan Kirill, now Patriarch of the Russian Church. It is somehow the guiding text of the same President Putin’s policy, first elected in 2000.
The document states that “the pregnancy of a artificially fertilized woman, who after the birth returns the child to the ‘clients’, is unnatural and morally unacceptable even if is built on non-commercial basis. This method assumes the negation of emotional and spiritual t intimacy hat is established between mother and child already during pregnancy. ” Moreover, this means of fertilization causes trauma in the mother carrying the fetus, whose “maternal feelings are trampled on.”
In his speech to the State Duma in 2015, the Patriarch of Moscow Kirill illustrated the Church’s position about the dubious reproductive techniques. “Our moral conscience cannot resign itself to allow a law on so-called surrogate motherhood, which transforms children and women in commercial and non-commercial objects of trade”, stated the Patriarch on the occasion.
Limitations for christening of surrogate babies
In the words of Kipshidze, children born through the use of surrogate motherhood techniques have nothing less or more than the other children. However, the church can baptize them only after proper penance to be imposed on those who have made the decision to use such non-traditional methods of generating children. “This position expresses the importance that parents wishing to baptize the child are in harmony with the moral doctrine of the Church, which considers that reproductive technique inadequate,” explained the representative of the Russian Church, recalling that in case of threat to health child, he would be baptized without delay and without preconditions.
Dealing with infertile couples?
The” Foundations of the Social Conception” , Church outlines the behavioral criteria for parents who have lost hope of having a child with traditional methods. “If the husband or wife does not have the ability to have a child, and therapeutic and surgical methods of infertility treatment have not yielded results, they should humbly accept childlessness as a special calling in life,” reads the document. In such situations it is advisable for parents to think about adoption of a child.
The only permissible means of medical aid to fertility, according to the Russian Church, is artificial insemination with the cells of one’s spouse, as it “does not violate the integrity of the marital union, nor does it differ fundamentally from natural conception which occurs within marital relations. ”
In this way the Russian Orthodox Church continues to propose topics of critical importance to the society, which still bears the marks of the long domination of an atheist regime that had systematically destroyed many principles of traditional Christian moral doctrine (unilateral divorce was introduced a few weeks after the 1917 revolution). While Western societies have followed a progressive secularization, the Russian is trying to go the opposite route. The Moscow Patriarchate believes that it is the defense of “non-negotiable” moral principles together with works of charity and the defense of persecuted Christians in the world, is the privileged field of ecumenical relations with the Catholic Church and other confessions and religions. It would be a way to create a true “covenant in the faith”, without bending to illusory unions or dangerous syncretism.