Surrogacy is a complex and contentious moral and ethical issue across global cultures. The rise of Westerners using Indian surrogate mothers has added a political dimension to the religious and legal debate.
The surrogate mother: Spiritualism and Hindu Mythology
In the Bhagvata Purana, there is a story that suggests the practice of surrogate motherhood. Kan(sh) the wicked king of Mathura, had imprisoned his sister Devaki and her husband Vasudeva because oracles had informed him that her child would be his killer. Every time she delivered a child, he smashed its head on the floor. He killed six children. When the seventh child was conceived, the gods intervened. They summoned the goddess Yogamaya and had her transfer the fetus from the womb of Devaki to the womb of Rohini (Vasudeva’s other wife who lived with her sister Yashoda across the river Yamuna, in the village of cowherds at Gokul). Thus the child conceived in one womb was incubated in and delivered through another womb.
Buddhism and Hinduism
Buddhism totally accepts surrogacy. This may be because Buddhism, unlike Christianity, Judaism and Islam, doesn’t make procreation a moral duty. Couples are not under pressure to marry or have children, and there are no Buddhist teachings suggesting that infertility treatments or surrogacy are immoral. Hinduism allows infertility treatments in specific circumstances. Children are very important to Hindu families, and medical help is allowed if a couple can’t conceive. Hindus permit artificial insemination using the husband’s sperm, but not that of an unknown donor , because the child would not know its lineage.
It is said surrogacy is rarely used by Hindus, but surrogacy clinics are a booming industry in India. surrogacy clinics are a booming industry in India.