Most people think that surrogacy has been a recent phenomenon, but studies into the history of surrogacy reveal that it has been around since Babylonian times.
While it is true that the concept was legalized only recently, the world (though not all societies) have come to terms with the fact that an infertile couple can fulfill dreams of parenthood, thanks to the efforts of surrogacy.
Here’s taking a journey through the history of surrogacy — let’s take a look at the different milestones in the history of surrogacy from the Biblical era to the present time.
Surrogacy – from the ancient days to the modern times:
- Biblical times: There are several cases of Surrogacy referred to throughout the Bible, especially the Old Testament. The oldest possible example of surrogacy is found in the Book Of Genesis, where Abraham’s spouse Sarai tells him to impregnate her maid, Hagar so that they can become parents. Another instance of Surrogacy in the Bible is the Mosaic Law that allows levirate marriage, whereby a man is supposed to impregnate his dead brother’s widow and bring up his children on his behalf.
But the biggest example of surrogacy (though clouded by speculation) is none other than Christ – born of the Virgin Mary and the Holy Spirit.
- The First Public Agreement: was brokered in the U.S in 1976 by the attorney Noel Keane. This surrogacy did not involve a financial recompense because it was a traditional surrogacy. The first legal surrogacy clinic, called Infertility Center made history with artificial insemination during the same period. The clinic was founded by Noel Keane and Dr. Ringold.
- The First Paid Surrogacy: was in 1980, when a woman with the alias Elizabeth Kane accepted a financial compensation of $10,000.
- The Tragedy in surrogacy: involves the case of Baby M, where the surrogate Mary Beth Whitehead refused to give up her child, baby M also known as Melissa.