Artificial Reproduction: Biblical Appraisal -- By: J. Kerby Anderson

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 143:569 (Jan 1986)
Article: Artificial Reproduction: Biblical Appraisal
Author: J. Kerby Anderson


Artificial Reproduction: Biblical Appraisal

J. Kerby Anderson

[J. Kerby Anderson, Vice-president, Probe Ministries, Richardson, Texas]

Many husbands and wives who have no children are seriously considering new procedures of artificial reproduction. They argue that these procedures are no different from normal conception. “It’s just a plumbing bypass,” they reason. If a couple goes to a pastor for counsel on the matter, how should the pastor respond?

Major advances in the field of genetic research have ushered in a “brave new world” of medical technology. But with this new technology have come troubling ethical questions and dilemmas.

These dilemmas are exacerbated by the speed at which new medical technologies are being developed and deployed. What was science fiction yesterday has become science fact today. Consequently doctors, lawyers, and pastors must try to “catch up” to the latest developments, and often technologies are implemented before the medical, legal, ethical, and theological implications of a genetic technology are understood. This article attempts to survey the subject of artificial reproduction and to provide a biblical appraisal of these techniques.1

Background Information

The four most popular methods of artificial reproduction are artificial insemination (known as AIH or AID), surrogate parenting, embryo transfer, and in vitro fertilization (called IVF). The oldest and most often utilized method is artificial insemination. More

than 20,000 children are born each year by means of artificial insemination. This method uses artificial means to impregnate a woman with the sperm of her husband (AIH—artificial insemination by the husband) or of a donor (AID—artificial insemination by a donor) in order to circumvent problems of male infertility.

Surrogate parenting uses artificial insemination to circumvent female infertility. A surrogate mother is artificially inseminated by the sperm of the donor father. When the child is born, the surrogate mother gives the child up to the donor father and social mother.

Embryo transfer is the newest technique to be developed and goes one step further. It uses artificial insemination to impregnate a woman, but then early in the pregnancy the developing embryo is flushed out and implanted in the wife.

In vitro fertilization allows doctors to fertilize an egg and grow it outside the womb for a short period of time. Though scientists cannot yet grow a test-tube baby completely outside the womb, further advances in the development of an ...

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