Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Should the Sperm of A Dead Man Be Used To Father A Child?

The desire of a woman to be a grandmother; her wish to have a grandchild prompted Marissa Evans to say that she wanted to harvest the sperm of the dead son for a surrogate pregnancy so that though gone the son: Nikolas Evans should have a child. Initially it was rejected but she went to court and won the judgment. She said she wants to fulfill his wishes for he always wanted to be a father. On April 18, 2009, ten days after the Evans case, Gisela Marrero won the Supreme Court judgment to preserve the sperm of the dead fiancée so she could retain his legacy . Immediately the question arises: is this ethical? To determine whether anything is ethical or not is first and only by consulting the Bible because that is the constitution that God gave to mankind. You will have good ethics if you follow the Bible but you will have no ethics if you reject it.

No one can feel the pain of losing a son as she feels and I extend my condolence to her. Though she has a noble intention of remembering and continuing the legacy of the son, one is forced to say that there are many other ways she could remember the son. The daughters of Zelophehad wanted to continue the legacy of their father by keeping his possession (Num 27:1-7).

Many people think there is nothing bad for it is the same like organ harvesting. But sperms are not an organ. While organs come to compliment a body, sperms would give a new life. Others say but what is bad if science could improve and reach a level that one could harvest the sperm of his dead son to continue the legacy. The presence of science does not annul ethics. That is where the Bible comes in as we look at it extensively.

In the levirate marriage a brother inherited his dead brother’s widow. If he did not have a child his duty was to raise one up for him to continue his brother’s legacy (Deut 25:5). Judah had two sons: Er, Onan and Shelah. Judah married Tamar for his first son who was killed abruptly before he could have a child (Gen 38: 1-10). According to the levirate tradition Onan was to marry his brother’s widow to continue the legacy. He wanted the wife but did not want to have kids for him. So when it was time, he spilled his semen on the floor so God killed him. Here again One would have inferred that God approves the practice of trying to conceive a child for the dead man which He did.

Judah wanted Tamar his daughter in law to remain a widow until his son: Shelah is grown to marry her (Gen 38:11). That is because he wanted by all means to continue the legacy of the son. But it was too selfish for by the time the son would have grown the woman would have gotten old. That attempt did not hold. In this passage the Bible seems to take prostitution lightly because her intention of having children was superior to the lust of Judah. Perhaps the reason why it ended up with the disgrace of Judah was simply to show that her desire though unethical was less sinful.

In both cases they were to have the child for a father to take off. Nowadays that we have single motherhood one would have said but the grandmother is going to take care of the child. Yet single motherhood is not an approved behavior in the Bible. Women were single not by choice and when they did they were not to have children for the medium through which they will have children will be illicit.

After the death of Elimelech their two only sons: Mahlon and Chilion got married and all died prematurely. She neither had any other children nor would she be able to conceive again for the women to have husbands (Ruth 1:1-15). Remember if there was no man to take care of the child no need to have them was the rationale.

The levirate practice was continued to a point that the Sadducees felt it would contradict the doctrine of resurrection. Jesus remonstrated that God is a God of the living and not of the dead (Mat 22:25-33). So when someone is dead people should learn how to move on for it serves no purposes whether the name or legacy exists. It’s all vanity!

The whole issue of harvesting the sperm is trying to create fatherhood in a dead son or dead fiancé. For anyone to be a father they should be alive. If the father died after having the child it will be an unforeseen circumstance but not willingly making a child an orphan from birth. Being a father had some responsibilities. The father was to teach the children (Deut 6:7). How would this child be taught when the father is dead? The father was to nurture his child or children (Eph 6:4). When the child is born he will be without a father to nurture and raise him/her up. From birth they will be deprived of the love of a father due to man-made circumstances. It goes again to affirm the doctrine that single motherhood is unethical behavior just like harvesting a sperm from a dead man.
Until ten, it is unethical.

Prince & PA Hamilton Ayuk






“No matter how a rat becomes the house pet, if it is sleeping beside the bag of groundnuts the owner may not have much sleep. ” (Hamilton Ayuk)."If a goat runs from the owner’s leash it will be tied by the council in a market square" Hamilton Ayuk).

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