I came across an interesting New York Times story by Judith Warner entitled, "Outsourced wombs." It describes the use of women in India to carry to term babies for wealthy US couples and women. The author feels very uncomfortable about the practice but just isn't sure why. That's understandable if there isn't an universal moral framework in the world which governs human actions and relationships.
She raises the specter of Huxley's "Brave New World" and the dehumanization of the practice. That's just what surrogacy is for all concerned. For the birth mother who's "used" to bring into the world the "designer" baby. The intended parents who can have the baby of their choice without all the hassles of child birth. The sperm or egg donors who can sell their genetic material for money and simply walk away with no responsibility for the "product" er baby resulting. And of course the baby who is treated as a commodity exchanged for money as part of an arm's length business agreement.
The practice tweaks the moral sensibilities of lots of people and rightfully so. The practice is an affront to the design and purpose of the Creator for parents, children, and families. As Chuck Colson says:
"...we cannot get away from the law written on our hearts, which tells us that the Creator has an intentional design for our families that benefits and protects men, women, and children. And when we deliberately try to circumvent that design, the frightening truth is that we end up using people; men for their sperm, women for their eggs or their body parts. And sadly, we even use the resulting children for our own gratification.. that every human life has value and dignity--not because we can use that life to satisfy a need or desire, but because the Creator of all life made us in His image and values us beyond all comprehension."
Colson points to the moral framework Christianity brings to the discussion.
Interestingly, the practice is frowned upon in Europe, of all places, where surrogacy is outright banned or severely restricted.
The issue will be coming to Minnesota in the 2008 legislative session where the Minnesota Bar Association is working on a bill to legalize the practice.