March 18, 2010

Religion vs IF

I had dinner the other night with a new friend, I've mentioned her before, she's been dealing with IF for seven years and is a midwife. I am in awe of her ability to deliver babies while not being able to have one of her own. She's a very nice person, very strong in her faith, and not shy about sharing her opinions. She very bluntly tells me that she is worried for my marriage. IF has made her marriage very hard, she and her husband don't even talk about IF anymore. They can't seem to decide on a treatment and because they are very devoutly Catholic, they are limited in what they can do.

C and I were raised Catholic, married in a Catholic Church and always wanted to raise our children Catholic as well. That is until IF came into our life and we read about the Church's stance on IVF, talk about a punch to the gut. But, honestly, I shouldn't have been surprised. The Church isn't exactly known for being progressive! I'm 80% sure we are leaving the Catholic Church. Only 80% because we have two godchildren and both of our families are Catholic. I can't imagine my ILs being very happy about us leaving the Church. Not that I care what they think!

[edited to protect the innocent!]

My faith is important to me and I maintain a relationship with God. I pray, give praise, and ask for blessings. I am confused about Jesus, sometimes I just have so many doubts and other times, I feel strongly Christian. I guess my status with Jesus would read: It's Complicated. But, I don't feel guilty about that, I'm human and all I can do is try. I don't think God thinks badly of me for that and I can't imagine God disapproving of C and I bringing a child into this life via IVF. It's a child, regardless of how he/she is created. And, don't most religions preach that life begins at conception? Tell me then, does IVF conception not apply to that same belief?


  1. I'm not religious at ALL, so I can't tell you the reason Catholics are again IVF, but one explanation that I've run across is because of the multiple embryos that are created. Generally in IVF, you have multiple eggs retrieved, then fertilized. Then you take the best embryos or two and implant them. But there are still multiple embryos left and these generally get frozen. If the pregnancy doesn't take, you might try again with a couple of your frozen embryos. But if the pregnancy does take, what happens to those embryos you don't need? I assume that most Catholics would see these as potential lives that are being wasted, with souls and everything (again, not religious so I don't believe this). These embryos are often what's used in stem cell research. Other times they may eventually be destroyed. And still other times they are kept frozen indefinitely. So my guess is that for most Catholics (and maybe other religions), the issue with IVF is not the child that's born from it, but the other children that are created and never born. Does that make sense?

  2. as long as you're at peace with ivf, then everyone else can suck it!! i know there are major controversies with ivf v religion, but i'm at peace with my god, so everyone who isn't at peace with what i'm doing obviously has a different god (in MY opinion).

    i can't imagine dealing with IF and being a midwife, or any other profession where you have to deal with pregnant women and babies. that sounds like a nightmare.

    i hope you're doing okay and hanging in there :o)

  3. I dont think there is anywhere in the Bible that says IVF is unacceptable, so I wonder where your friend draws her views on it from? I call myelf a recovered catholic. I was raised Catholic and stopped practcing many moons again due to hyprocracy and other things I did not agree with.

    I think Megan hit the nail on the held with why the Church might have an issue with it. That's the only thing I can think of.

    Sorry you had to ensure such narrow minded comments.


  4. Well, thank goodness I'm Episcopalian! ;) IMO - if IVF wasn't meant to be done, it wouldn't work. All the children that have been born because of IVF are children of God, just as those who are lucky enough to be "fertile myrtles". I have nothing against the Catholic church - I'm not Catholic - but Episcopal church is very similar without all the old school bull that the Catholics deal with. For example, my mom is an Episcopal priest. Find me a woman Catholic couldn't. Because men are apparentley more holy than women in the Catholic church. Find me a gay person in the catholic church. You can't. But, there are gay members and even a priest. They too can believe in God. Go figure! Look - do what makes you happy. Screw everyone else and their opinions. God wants you to be happy. And if that means using medical science, so be it. Remember, God creates all things.

  5. Megan- yes, I believe that is part of the reason. I have read all of their reasoning's but I just don't agree with them.

    Sienna- very well said! They can all suck it! lol

    Alison- we are very strongly considering switching to the Episcopal faith. I am really loving everything I am reading about it!

  6. I was raised Catholic but I'm now atheist (not because of IF). Faith is such a personal thing. You really shouldn't let other peoples opinions interfere with your decisions.

    And remember this one fact.... despite all of the advances of science there are two things they still can't control: fertilization and implantation. Call it God or science or natural selection or WHATEVER but something magical still has to happen for IVF to work.

  7. I'm Catholic as well and struggled with our decision to move forward with IVF.

    We are going through azoospermia to. Glad I found your blog.

  8. My status with Jesus would read it's complicated as well. I find that infertility is a very hard struggle and personally it has challenged my faiths and beliefs. I'm so sorry that R was that way toward you. I really wish that people wouldn't be so judgmental when it comes to IVF. If you do decide to change religions, you might be comfortable with being an Episcopalian. I was brought up and confirmed Episcopalian. I'm a Baptist now (I converted when I married my DH who is Baptist). Episcopalians are very liberal, yet the format of the service is very similiar to a Catholic service (I went to a lot of Catholic services, my former fiance was Catholic). So, that might be the way to go for you. Whatever you decide, don't let anybody make you feel guilty or "push you around."

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  10. *delurking* I've loved following your blog, and have enjoyed being a lurker, but this post really resonated with me, so I'm outing myself. :) I'm not Catholic, but I'm a Pentecostal Christian, who is a preacher's kid. Before my hubby and I decided to take the path of IVF and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, in order to try and prevent our children from having sickle cell anemia (which I have), it was something that was really difficult for me to reconcile. I had some family friend pastors telling me that we should just trust God to give us healthy children, and I had my parents telling us that God made it possible for people to come up with the technology to do such amazing things like IVF, so we should thank God for it and use it. I was really torn, and for our first year of marriage, we decided to not do anything and just see what happens. Over a year, a lot of debunking of misinformation about what is possible for us, and the addition of great doctors who give us hope instead of killing our hope, we're both grateful that we've changed our minds and have decided to do IVF (and grateful that we have not gotten pregnant yet on our own). I just had to sit think about it, and if I had the chance to try and ensure that my children would never have to suffer what I have gone through, I would do ANYTHING. I think God understands that, and I now believe that He who created our world and the scientists and doctors within it, also paved the way for the creation of IVF and PGD, so that I could be helped one day, because He loves me that much (He loves all of us that much). So, I'm with you on this, and just wanted to say MORE POWER TO YOU and TO GOD BE THE GLORY in all the great things to come for you and your family! :)

  11. kemstarr- your comment touched me so much and I agree with you 1000%. Wishing you truckloads of success sweetie!

  12. I'm Catholic also and have some of the same issues you've expressed. For the most part, I've been able to live my life not fully agreeing with some of the "official" views - it's been so much harder with the views on IF and treatment options.

    I've always felt like there are so many religions so that people can find one that works for them - but there isn't one that's right or better than others.


  13. My family is Catholic, although not practicing. I have always wondered what would happen if I needed IVF and I was still in the Catholic Church. I think it can be such a huge dilemna for so many people. It makes me sad.

    A few months ago I went and read up on their stance on IVF, and it just didn't sit right with me. To me, it is natural. It is showing love for each other and for your future child/children. I've always been of the belief that God has allowed medical advances to happen for a reason, and that He wants us to use them. One time I had a Christian mentor at my church tell me that I shouldn't be on antidepressents, and that I should trust in God to take care of my depression. That really hurt me. Depression is a disease, and God created medication to help me cope with the disease. Just like God created IVF to help you and your husband.

    I think you really have to go with your heart on this one. It must be difficult after being so entrenched in your church. Do you have to leave it after doing IVF? This may sound horrible, but do you have to tell them? Or, is it simply a matter of you not wanting to go anymore because of their beliefs? I think those will be the things that you have to think about.

    I hate saying this, but I also feel my relationship with Jesus is complicated. Sometimes I feel such faith, and other times I just don't get it. But I know that Jesus understands that that is bound to happen, and He forgives us for feeling that it is complicated.