Here are some quick facts on a huge topic! To delve a bit further you’re welcome to use our links to some resources below.
Subfertility or Infertility?
Subfertility refers to any kind of reduced fertility where for a long time a couple are trying to conceive but cannot due to hormone inbalances, problems with the reproductive tract, or other problems.
Most couples of childbearing age who struggle with fertility are actually subfertile and may be able to conceive and bear a child with the right treatment.
True infertility in young couples, where there’s no egg or sperm production, is rare.
Assisted Reproductive Technologies
The main ART is IVF (In Vitro Fertilisation), but there are others including interuterine insemination and GIFT (Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer). The Church warns against the use of these technologies for many reasons, but mainly because of two main principals it holds dear:
The dignity of the developing embryo as a human life
For the Church, all human life is sacred and worthy of the utmost dignity – the fact that most IVF embryos are expected to die or are destroyed and discarded, kept in a state of suspension or used in other ways doesn’t align with this vital aspect of our Catholic belief.
The sacredness of married lovemaking
As Pope Francis explains it:
“The union of man and woman in that community of love and life that is marriage, is the only ‘place’ worthy for the call into existence of a new human being, which is always a gift”.
Interuterine insemination, IVF and GIFT for example, all circumvent this sacred ‘place’ of union in the physical act of lovemaking. How? By the harvesting of eggs and sperm and their manipulation
(in the lab or in the woman’s body)
outside of the marital embrace.
The Pope has actually called for a lot more medical research to be done in this area, as
“the search for a diagnosis and therapy is scientifically the correct approach to the issue of infertility, but it must also be respectful of the integral humanity of those involved.”
For Pope Francis’ full address click here
A Total Gift of Self is an innovative series of digital and print resources exploring natural fertility methods. Infertility is also discussed. Click here for more about ‘A Total Gift of Self’
Napro Technology and FertilityCare. Click Here for Australian website
NaProTECHNOLOGY (Natural Procreative Technology) is a new women’s health science that monitors and maintains a woman’s reproductive and gynecological health. It provides medical and surgical treatments that cooperate completely with the reproductive system in order to treat the underlying causes of infertility. US website
Life-Giving Love in an Age of Technology
This article is an overview of the Church’s reasons for not supporting many artificial reproductive technologies. We love this quote: “All children are precious gifts of inestimable value and overwhelmingly loved by God regardless of how they are conceived, but the Church’s view is that the way God planned conception is important.” Read this Article Here
Pray to St Gerard
An anonymous author penned this prayer to St Gerard, patron saint of expectant mothers, for those who have difficulty conceiving or are unable to conceive:
O good St. Gerard, powerful intercessor before God, and wonder-worker of our day, we call on you and seek your aid.
You know that this marriage has not as yet been blessed with a child and how much this couple desire this gift.
Present our fervent pleas to the Creator of life from whom all parenthood proceeds and beseech Him to bless this couple with a child whom they may raise as His child and heir of heaven. Amen.
Other patron saints for fertility and infertility are St Gianna Molla, St Anne the mother of Mary, and St Rita of Cascia.
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