Archbishop Kenneth Richards of Kingston is concerned about the amount of sperm and eggs that could be wasted before and after in vitro fertilisation, which could have been potential children. He said that the Church does not advocate and accommodate means of procreation such as in vitro fertilisation, because what it does is make the process of procreation impersonal. Life is being created in a lab instead of in a womb between two persons, and then you are inviting in a third party—a surrogate— “which complicates it”, Richards said, according to diocesan weekly, The Gleaner.
He said persons who have been trying and are unable to conceive should try adoption, adding that surrogacy is complex and persons were not thinking about the consequences. The Archbishop said ethically and morally, the Church is against the practice of surrogacy.
His response comes ahead of the Hugh Wynter Fertility Management Unit at The University Hospital of the West Indies inviting women who consider themselves suitable to be surrogates to come in for an appointment. The unit, established in 1979 is the only facility in Jamaica that uses assisted reproduction technology, which includes in vitro fertilisation. The unit generally uses the gestational method, where both the eggs and sperm are from the intended parents or another source.
While not wanting to disclose a figure, obstetrician/gynaecologist, and director of the fertility unit, Dr Vernon DaCosta, said they have done quite a few procedures for both parents and surrogates, but noted that good substitute women were hard to find. DaCosta told The Gleaner, “We have people coming to us to be surrogates but by the time you screen them and put them through the psych evaluation and so on, we have to cancel a lot of them.”
He said the psychological evaluation was very important, as surrogacy was a complicated procedure and persons have to know and understand what they were getting involved in.
“You don’t want them to have the baby and walk away with the people them baby, or they can’t deal with emotional problems. There is a lot to surrogacy, it’s a lot more complicated than it looks, so you have to really evaluate and you have to let them know everything,” said DaCosta.
Pointing out that there was always the possibility that in spite of an agreement, a surrogate could change her mind after the baby was born, he said so far, they have not had that experience.