While many people are seeking to make abortion legal and accessible during the nine months of pregnancy, the number of couples struggling to try to achieve pregnancy is on the rise. Infertility is a real disease impacting 1 out of every six couples in the US. It is certainly, as the USSB website states, "a great burden for couples to bear, especially when they so deeply desire to have a child and live out their vocation to be open to life and welcome the gift of children from God. It is important to remember that despite infertility, couples "can have a married life that is filled with love and meaning." (see Married Love and the Gift of Life) As Saint John Paul II has said, infertile couples are able to be fruitful when their married love is "open to others, to the needs of the apostolate ... the needs of the poor ... the needs of orphans" and to the world. (John Paul II, Homily, 1982; quoted in Married Love and the Gift of Life)." Infertility presents couples with an unexpected cross. Marriage is inherently called to bring forth new life, and those couples unable to conceive suffer from this unfulfilled, natural human desire. No one can fully comprehend the grief, the pain and all the emotions that the couples go through as they are faced with such heavy cross unless if they lived through it themselves. It is true that infertility is not cancer yet it is very painful and can be worse than cancer for some people. I personally call it "the silent cancer"; couples struggling with infertility endure its pain alone most of the time while people who have cancer are surrounded by their family members. Instead of receiving support from their family members, infertile couples experience the disappointment of parents and siblings to the absence of grandchildren, nieces and nephews they desire to have which places more pressure on the couples and adds to their stress. Infertility can also impact a couple’s relationship and jeopardize the stability of their marriage if they don't know how to deal with it. I know this for sure because my husband and I were there one day. This cross can weigh very heavily on the couples if they try to carry it separately and away from the Lord. Together united and trusting in the Lord and His Will for them, they can come to embrace the cross and allow it to bring them closer to each as a couple and to the Lord. The acceptance of thsi cross and resolving to morally acceptable treatments can restore healing, hope and peace. I can attest to that based on my own personal journey of infertility. Let us offer as much support as we can for couples around us suffering with the inability to get pregnant by praying for them, being there for them, providing them with resources that offer morally acceptable treatments, that restore hope and healing to their marriage. (You can read my full story here.)
"Life-Giving Love in an Age of Technology" (USCCB, 2009) The USSCB website provides a great document titled "Life-Giving Love in an Age of Technology" in which many questions related to different treatments are addressed. Below are some excerpts from it. "It is estimated today that one out of six couples will experience infertility. The suffering of unanticipated childlessness is real. Spouses may feel they have somehow failed, that they are inadequate in a basic aspect of marital life. Their pain may even be aggravated by regret or guilt over past contraceptive use, sterilization, abortion, or other factors that can contribute to infertility. The sight of other couples' children may make them year for a child all the more and add to their distress. Infertility can affect a couple's sexual relationship and the stability of their marriage. It may even affect relationships with parents and in-laws who express disappointment at the absence of grandchildren. Catholic couples may feel this pain even more deeply as they hear the Church praise family life and teach that children are the 'supreme gift of marriage.' In an age of advances in reproductive medicine, many solutions are offered to couples going through this distress. Some solutions offer real hope for restoring a couple's natural, healthy ability to have children. Others pose serious moral problems by failing to respect the dignity of the couple's marital relationship, of their sexuality, or of the child. The Church has compassion for couples suffering from infertility and wants to be of real help to them. At the same time, some “reproductive technologies” are not morally legitimate ways to solve those problems. We bishops of the United States offer this reflection to explain why. We also offer it to provide hope—real hope that couples can “accept children lovingly from God” and build a family while fully respecting God’s design for their marriage and for the gift of children.
Hope can be restored and solutions found through NaProTECHNOLOGY
There is hope. The Creighton Model FertilityCare System, used in conjunction with NaPro TECHNOLOGY – a medical approach cooperating with natural hormonal balance of the human body, can increase a couple’s potential to conceive a child. According to its 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. It is a fertility-care based medical approach rather than a fertility-control approach to family planning and gynecological health. NaProTECHNOLOGY uses the Creighton Model FertilityCare™ System biomarkers to monitor easily and objectively the occurrence of various hormonal events during the menstrual cycle. NaProtracking provides valid information that can be interpreted by a woman and by physicians who are specifically trained in this system. Unlike common suppressive or destructive approaches, NaProTECHNOLOGY works cooperatively with the procreative and gynecologic systems. When these systems function abnormally, NaProTECHNOLOGY identifies the problems and cooperates with the menstrual and fertility cycles that correct the condition, maintain the human ecology, and sustain the procreative potential. Women now have an opportunity to know and understand the causes of the symptoms from which they suffer. NaProTECHNOLOGY is offering great hope for couples and women dealing with infertility and miscarriages.Using a NaProTECHNOLOGY approach for the treatment of infertility can be highly effective and even more effective than current approaches to infertility. You can read more about it and about different cases of infertility by clicking here and watch videos below.
Women's Healthcare That Reverences Your Life... And The Life Of Your Family Below you will find information for women of all ages who want a natural approach to women's healthcare that reverences her fertility and health. The resources contained within uphold Catholic teaching and support women in understanding their fertility to identify and correct any underlying abnormalities and restore her back to health.
In particular, these resources are vital for women struggling with infertility. Our hope is that this page -- and its prayer and information resources -- will encourage renewed hope and consolation.
National Gianna Center for Women's Health & Fertility
Catholic Health Care for Women, Infertility Concerns, Natural Family Planning, etc. The Gianna Center provides comprehensive gynecologic primary care and specialized fertility and family planning techniques to uncover the causes of infertility for all women. They offer a natural alternative to assisted reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization, in accordance with the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services.
For a list of Gianna centers and its affiliates, you can check here.
Saint Peter’s Gianna Center of Manhattan Anne Nolte, MD 15 E. 40th Street Suite 101 New York, NY 10016 Phone: (212) 481-1219 Fax: (212) 481-1423 Learn More
Gianna Center of Long Island Paul Carpentier, MD, CFCMC222 Gianna Center of Long Island 1000 Montauk Hwy West Islip, New York 11795 Phone: (631) 376-3232 Learn More
Gianna Center of Philadelphia Delia Larrauri, MD, FACOG Barbara Rose, AGPCNP, CFCP 2705 DeKalb Pike, Suite 207 East Norriton, PA 19401 Phone: (844) 204-0005 Learn More
Gianna Center of Albany Jan Patterson, MD, DABFM, CFMCMC, FCP 242 South Central Avenue Mechanicville, NY 12118 Phone: (518) 779-5225 Learn More
Gianna Center of Syracuse Karen Dalton, MD 127 Chapel Drive Syracuse, NY 13219 Phone: (315) 488-3139 ext. 16 Learn More
Mercy Care for Women’s Health, an Affiliate of The National Gianna Center Cynthia Mangubat, MD 819 S. Governors Ave Dover, DE 19904 Phone: (302) 883-3677 Fax: (302) 736-6951 Learn More
Morningstar Family Health Center Jean Golden-Tevald, DO, CFCP, FCP Eddie Fleming, MD, NFPMC 54 Old Route 22 Clinton, NJ 08809 Phone: (908) 735-9344 Fax: (908) 735-7136 Learn More
Gianna Family Care Terese Bauer, MD Angelique Pritchett, MD, FCMCr. 10820 West 64th Street, Suite 202 Shawnee, KS 66203 Telephone: (913) 890-2555 Fax: (913) 890-2550 Learn More
St. Gianna’s Center in FL the Smart Sixty-Six office center at 2360 66th St. N, Room C2 in Largo, FL 33773. Learn More
FEMM - Fertility Education and Medical Management
FEMM is a comprehensive women’s health program that:
teaches women to understand their bodies and how to recognize hormonal and other vital signs of health.
provides women with support through its free FEMM Health App to help women track their health and reproductive goals.
provides accurate medical testing and treatment based on new research and medical protocols.
continues to conduct research to provide women with the latest diagnostic tools and treatments for their health.
offers training to individuals so that they can teach FEMM health tracking to women and training to medical professionals in the FEMM methods and protocols.
Dealing With Infertility by Julie Kelemen, discussing what the Church teaches about assisted reproductive technologies and offers comfort and advice on how to deal with the emotional, financial, and spiritual challenges of infertility.