Written by Dr Stacey Ellender
A Brief History of Surrogacy
Surrogacy is not new, although the practice has been altered with time. There is evidence that it was an accepted remedy for infertility in the ancient world. In the Hebrew scriptures, when Sara was unable to have a child, she told Abraham to be with her maid Hagar, so that she might bear him a son. A similar story was told of Rachel, Jacob, and the maid, Bilhah. In such stories, it was the wife who was perceived to be infertile, thus a stand-in for her, a surrogate wife, was the only remedy sought. The surrogate was, in most cases, of the same race and ethnicity as the wife, (though often younger) so as to produce a child readily acceptable to her, and passable as her own. But the surrogate was also likely to be of lower social position, a servant or a slave, and she had no choice in the matter; if the head of the household decided she would bear him a child, she complied. If she successfully gave birth, she might be acknowledged as the one who did so, but the child was raised by the man who impregnated her and his wife, and she had little or no place in that child’s life.
Other sections in this article:
- Gestational versus Traditional Surrogacy
- A Booming Business
- Concerns for the Surrogates
- Concerns for the Child Born of Surrogacy
- Concerns for the Intended Parents
- Guidelines for Practice
This review article was published in the January 2010 issue of the IVF NEWS.Direct! journal.
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