"And she said, Behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto her; and she shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her."
In this chapter Leah and Rachel are in some sort of contest to have children. After Leah has four sons, Rachel gives her maid Bilhah to Jacob to build up children by her. Bilhah has two sons. Leah finds she is now barren so she gives her maid Zilpah to Jacob to build up children by her. Zilpah has two sons. Then Leah has two more sons and a daughter. It is then that Rachel finally has Joseph. With that the twelve tribes of Israel are born. Well, almost Benjamin comes later.
As I read this verse the though came to me that the maids having children for their mistresses sounded like surrogacy. Someone told me the Church didn't allow surrogacy, but I didn't know if that was true or not. I looked and found the Church's statement on surrogacy in Handbook 2. "Surrogate Motherhood: The Church strongly discourages surrogate motherhood. However, this is a personal matter that ultimately must be left to the judgement of the husband and wife. Responsibility for the decision rests solely upon them."
So, basically it is discouraged, but left up to the couple. As I pondered on that I think the reason it's discouraged is because the surrogate is not under that law like what was allowed by the Lord in Abraham, Isaac and Jacob's time.
I found in Doctrine & Covenants 132: 37 "Abraham received concubines, and they bore him children; and it was accounted unto him for righteousness, because they were given unto him, and he abode in my law; as Isaac also and Jacob did none other things than that which they were commanded......"
I'm certainly in no position to judge this matter. I'll leave it up to the couple. I just found what I read interesting. But, what I really came away from all this was the act of the surrogate having the child for the mother ultimately leads to adoption. It fascinated me thinking about Leah and Rachel adopting these children, just like gentiles can be adopted into the House of Israel as they are converted. This is the law of adoption. What Jacob saw happening in his household was exactly what we are seeing today. The gathering into the House of Israel. I had never looked at it this way.