While many Christians adhere to the notion that conventionally conceived children are a gift from God, many Christians who are infertile, homosexual, single, or who face other reproductive challenges consider the scientific technology that enables them to have children to be a gift from God as well.
As is often the case, scientific advances and moral absolutes rarely keep pace with one another. And, as is always the case, it helps to know the facts.
In this two-session study, we'll consider the brave new world of assisted reproductive technologies, or ARTs. We'll explore the basic technologies and terminology, and define and discuss the medical and ethical pros and cons of procedures such as in vitro fertilization; egg, embryo, and sperm donation; gestational surrogacy; and prenatal genetic diagnosis.
Based on a solid foundation of knowledge, we will then discuss historical and contemporary Christian responses to issues of reproduction, the definitions of "family," and consider how our own congregations can provide social and spiritual support for members who yearn for children but who do not fit the mold of the traditional family unit.
After all, before we pass judgment on the lengths to which some people will go to have a child, we should remember the Old Testament story of Abraham and his wife, Sarah. When Sarah was unable to bear him a child, he simply impregnated Hagar, Sarah's maid, as was the custom of the day.