Saturday, July 21, 2007

Being Catholic and dealing with infertility

Guidelines for Catholics on the Evaluation and Treatment of Infertility

"On the part of the spouses, the desire for a child is natural: it expresses the vocation to fatherhood and motherhood inscribed in conjugal love. This desire can be even stronger if the couple is affected by sterility which appears incurable. Nevertheless, marriage does not confer upon the spouses the right to have a child, but only the right to perform those natural acts which are per se ordered to procreation. A true and proper right to a child would be contrary to the child's dignity and nature. The child is not an object to which one has a right, nor can he be considered as an object of ownership: rather, a child is a gift, "the supreme gift" and the most gratuitous gift of marriage, and is a living testimony of the mutual giving of his parents. For this reason, the child has the right, as already mentioned, to be the fruit of the specific act of the conjugal love of his parents; and he also has the right to be respected as a person from the moment of his conception." - Donum Vitae

"How do I know when a reproductive technology is morally right?"
  • Any procedure which assists marital intercourse in reaching its procreative potential is moral.
  • Any procedure which substitutes or suppresses a need for marital intercourse is immoral.
Reproductive Technologies in Disagreement with Catholic Teachings:
  1. Obtaining a semen sample by means of masturbation
  2. Artificial insemination using sperm from a donor (AID) or even the husband (AIH) if obtained by masturbation
  3. In-vitro fertilization (IVF), zygote intra-fallopian transfer (ZIFT), and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), ovum donation, "surrogate" uterus

* excerpts from the Catechism of the Catholic Church explaining why these are immoral** Articles further explaining the problems with in vitro fertilization and artificial fertilization

Reproductive Technologies in Agreement with Catholic Teachings:

Observation of the naturally occuring sign(s) of fertility (Natural Family Planning). Time intercourse on the days of presumed (potential) fertility for at least six months before proceeding to medical interventions.
  • General medical evaluation of both spouses for infertility.
  • Post-coital test to assess sperm count and viability. These tests are undertaken after normal intercourse.
  • Appropriate evaluation and treatment of male factor deficiency. Seminal fluid samples can be obtained from a non-lubricated, perforated condom after normal intercourse.
  • Assessment of uterine and tubal structural competence by imaging techniques (e.g., ultrasound, hysterosalpingogram, etc.).
  • Appropriate medical treatment of ovulatory and hormonal dysfunction.
  • Appropriate (usually surgical) correction of organic problems underlying male or female infertility.

  • Resources:


    So, with my husband and me being Catholic we are limited in what technological advances in the reproductive field that we can use. My husband cannot get a sperm analysis because of the teachings of the Catholic Church. Yes, it does bother me sometimes, but I am totally in line with the Catholic Church’s teaching.

    I haven’t always wanted children. With my first serious boyfriend I didn’t want kids. But as soon as I met my husband that changed. I want a large Catholic family!!

    The Pope Paul VI Institute in Omaha would be the best place for my husband and I to get treatment. There they will actually find the cause of infertility instead of masking over everything. That is what my gynecologist wanted to do. She wanted to get my cycles regular by using birth control pills. Yes, I know I can use them if it is for medicinal purposes and not for contraception. But I still felt it was wrong. Plus, I hated being on the Pill. I was on the Pill for a few years before I was Catholic. Synthetic hormones just don’t seem right. Unfortunately, my insurance at work doesn’t cover the Pope Paul VI Institute. So I will have to make do with my gynecologist.

    Borrowed from


    VMPJ said...

    Hello, I came across your blog when I searched Catholic and infertility. I am Catholic and I blog about my experiences with infertility, too.

    Anyway, I'm posting because it is possible to get a seminal analysis. You can go to and they sell a packet that has a Male Factor condom (or you can go to a store that sells that brand). You perforate it, have intercourse with it, and then put it into a jar that the doctor gives you. The difficult part is finding a reproductive urologist that will accept that. I finally got lucky but it took a couple doctors.

    I know what you mean about going to the PPVI institute. It would make all this so much less complicated. We can't afford it, though, but at least we found a good doctor through our Fertility Care (NFP)instructor. I don't know what we'd do without it. I have PCOS and long cycles myself.

    Anonymous said...

    Having suffered from infertility myself and experiencing many treatments I would like to spare others some of the pain of this experience. I was diagnosed with "unexplained infertlilty" after all tests and many treatments at top fertility clinics and they could not identify the reason for my infertility. Later, I was diagnosed with celiac disease. It is one of the most under diagnosed dieases in the country with many, many different symptoms. Celiac can lead to infertility. The good news is celiac disease is trated with a gluten free diet and many patients after being on a gluten free diet for 9 months or more are able to conceive and have children. After everything one goes throught with infertility this is another avenue to pursue. Probably most fertility specialists don't een test for this. You should have a blood test at a prometheus lab and perhaps a intestinal biopsy if your doctor thinks you may be at risk. Believe me it is less painful and less expensive then the tradtional infertilty tests and treatments. Perhaps, it can be the answer to some women's infertility. God bless!