Infertility Awareness Week

On Being Catholic and Infertile

 Wednesday, April 27, 2011

This week is Infertility Awareness Week. According to the CDC, over 2 million married women in America are currently experiencing infertility. This is a deeply painful experience for any couple, but faithful Catholics face unique challenges in this department—yet in all the discussions about Natural Family Planning and how and when to avoid pregnancy, the struggles of our brothers and sisters in Christ who are not able to achieve pregnancy often get overlooked. So this week I spent some time chatting with friends who are facing infertility, including a woman whom I’ll call “A.,” who chronicles her journey online at This Cross I Embrace. They shared some of the challenges unique to being Catholic and infertile:

Temptation to Use Illicit Treatments: In modern culture, the words “infertility” and “in-vitro fertilization” go hand-in-hand. Even though IVF doesn’t always succeed, and often costs tens of thousands of dollars when it does, the success rates are high enough that it’s widely touted as a solution that is likely to give couples the children they so desperately desire. This is a source of temptation for the women I talked to, even though they understand and agree with Church teaching against IVF on an intellectual level. “I would never do it, but it’s like a punch in the gut when other women go to the IVF clinic and are then planning baby showers seven months later,” one friend said. Added to this, there can also be tremendous pressure from family members who don’t understand Church teaching and see IVF as a path to having grandchildren or nieces and nephews.  read more here

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