What does the Bible say about artificial insemination?

by Matt Slick

Artificial insemination is the process whereby sperm is artificially placed within a woman so as to make her pregnant.  Generally, this process is used when the sperm count is not sufficient to allow pregnancy or there is some physical or psychological problem involved in sexual intercourse.  Even though this process is not explicitly described in scripture, we can still derive biblical principles that apply to this subject.

God intended that pregnancy occur within the bond of marriage between a man and a woman -- who are married to each other.  God commissioned the human race in Genesis by the proclamation that Adam and Eve were to multiply and replenish the earth.  Furthermore, according to the Bible, pregnancy is to occur between the man and a woman who are married to each other.  Sexual relations outside of the marriage relationship are either rape, adultery, or fornication.  God condemns these as being morally wrong and thereby sinful.

If the married couple is having a problem getting pregnant and artificial insemination is recommended by a doctor, then it is acceptable under the following conditions.

  1. Only the sperm and egg of the married couple are involved.
  2. Fertilized eggs are not intentionally lost or destroyed.

As long as both the egg and the sperm are from the same married couple, then I can see no problem with this process.  After all, both the egg and the sperm belong to the married couple, and there is no intrusion of seed from outside that marriage bond.  If the married couple accepts the sperm from another man (a man outside of the marriage bond with that woman), then she is inviting the intrusion of another man's seed into herself.  This is an adulterous occurrence.

In addition, if the process of artificial insemination involves the fertilization of many eggs with only one being implanted in the womb of the mother, this is not acceptable since the other fertilized eggs must then be discarded.  This is not an acceptable option for a Christian couple since it risks destroying human life.

Christian marriage is a covenant between the husband and wife before God with people as witnesses.  This covenant is taken seriously by the Lord.  It should also be taken seriously by the couple.  God knows all situations and circumstances and is in complete control.  If a Christian couple cannot get pregnant and if the only way the wife can get pregnant is through the donation of sperm from a man outside of the marriage bond, then it is best to avoid that pregnancy.  Otherwise, the couple is inviting into the woman's body the seed of another man -- which is adultery.  If the couple desires to have children, they should adopt.  This prevention of pregnancy could be a means by which the Lord arranges for couples to adopt, thereby, taking care of other children.

Objections Answered

Some claim that using another man's sperm to impregnate a woman is not morally wrong because there is no physical act of adultery involved and there is no intention of adultery.  Also, if the husband agrees, then how could the impregnation be adulterous?

We must be very careful to not let situational ethics govern biblical principles.  God has ordained that husband and wife, a married couple, be the bearers of children within that covenantal bond of marriage.  Whether or not the physical act of adultery has occurred or not does not excuse the fact that the sperm of another man has entered the body of a woman to whom he is not married.


About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.