He Said-She Said: Single Women and Artificial Insemination
- Tuesday, December 28, 2010
EDITOR'S NOTE: Each He Said-She Said column features a question from a Crosswalk.com reader with responses from a male and female point of view. If you've got a question about anything related to singleness or living the single life, please click here to submit to He Said-She Said (selected questions will be posted anonymously).
QUESTION: Can unmarried women be allowed to have babies through artificial insemination? What's the Bible saying about this?
HE SAID: As a single male, I have never personally considered this question, and my perspective doesn't come from one who has struggled with their natural maternal instincts but rather from a supportive "brother" who has walked the road with many friends who have.
Most of us have witnessed over the years, either through friendships or through the news (thank you Octo-mom), there is nothing stopping an unmarried (or married) woman from being artificially inseminated. With a desire, a little time and a couple of thousand dollars, a person can go to an insemination clinic and attempt to get pregnant.
While the Bible does not specifically address this issue, we can attempt to discern from what it does say in order to draw a possible conclusion.
God created man, saw it wasn't good for him to be alone and made him a suitable helper (Genesis 2:18). He did what was best for "us." Likewise, Adam and Eve became intimate, and through his assistance, Cain and Abel were born.
Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, "With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man" (Genesis 4:1).
After Noah's faithfulness of building an ark and gathering the animals together, God commanded him and his wife, and his sons and their wives to populate the earth.
Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth (Genesis 9:1).
God created conception to occur between a man and a woman within the covenant of marriage in order to populate the earth. The disparity arises when arguments against this creed arise, "that was the Old Testament," "but God gave me the desire to have a child," and "that was before medical advancements made it possible for insemination to happen," to name a few.
This is all true, however if we look at some of those from the Bible who took their "supposed" barren situations into their own hands, maybe we can learn from their outcomes.
One day the older daughter said to the younger, "Our father is old, and there is no man around here to lie with us, as is the custom all over the earth. Let's get our father to drink wine and then lie with him and preserve our family line through our father." So both of Lot's daughters became pregnant by their father. The older daughter had a son, and she named him Moab; he is the father of the Moabites of today. The younger daughter also had a son, and she named him Ben-Ammi; he is the father of the Ammonites of today (Genesis 19:31-32, Genesis 19:36-38).
From their children came the Moabites, who worshipped the god Chemosh, honored with cruel and wicked practices (like child sacrifices), and the Ammonites, who were steady antagonists of Israel. Was this how they "intended" to preserve their family line?
Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar; so she said to Abram, "The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her" (Genesis 16:1-2).
As a result of her impatience and unbelief, Sarai acted outside of God's promise for her life. She thought "perhaps I" can do it on my own. Maybe I know better. Maybe I can make it happen. But what about the consequences?
Then Sarai said to Abram, "You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my servant in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the LORD judge between you and me" (Genesis 16:5).
Sarai's conception didn't just bring strife between her and Abram, Hagar's son Ishmael is considered the father of the Arab people and "his hand will be against everyone and everyone's hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers" (Genesis 16:12). The Jewish and Arab people have been enemies ever since. Is this the "family" Sarai envisioned?
In support of artificial insemination, I have heard of a number of arguments.
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