Thursday, April 26, 2007

Catholicism - Part II

If I consider infertility to be a medical condition, and I wouldn’t hesitate in doing a medical procedure to save my life, why then wouldn’t I consider IVF? This is a major question. Because I do consider infertility to be a medical condition. But, I physically cannot die from infertility. It does however effect me emotionally and mentally. It does make me feel sad, depressed in my darkest days, which has been known to cause physical ailments in others. But will I die? More than likely no. However, most medical procedures are not condemned by the Church. I can’t think of one that is, besides IVF. Could this be a case of men not recognizing the significance of not being able to procreate? A misunderstanding on their part.

Did you know that Catholic Nuns helped with the development of fertility drugs, specifically the nun’s urine? Serono Laboratories in Italy used the urine of post-menopausal nuns to prepare the pharmaceutical extract Pergonal, prescribed to stimulate fertility. Pergonal is gonadotropin which helps produce several eggs. The human menopausal gondotropins (hMG) consists of FSH and LH which is closely connected to human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) which is also used in ART procedures to release the eggs. How am I to interpret that involvement? It seems to me that they support ART more than they lead on. These drugs are also used for non fertilization procedures. The answer could be that, but they are more often used for IVF. It seems contradictor.

Do we pursue and then ask for forgiveness later? The answer to this is clearly no. As a Catholic, I believe that you are judged on what you know to be true and right. Therefore, if after my analysis, I don’t believe this is true or right. Then I cannot pursue and then ask for forgiveness. In this situation, it would be very tempting to say the end justifies the means, but it would be the opposite of what I am trying to do here. It would mean that infertility won again, and another piece of Dianne is lost.

And how do you raise a child in the Catholic Church when its doctrine believes that child was never to exist? How do you explain all of this to said child when the time comes?

Lastly, how do I ignore that desire which has been put in my heart by God? Because I don’t believe it could be put in my heart by any other.

I will be answering all these subtopics in separate posts. Mostly because there is so much to each of them and I don’t want to overwhelm myself. Well, I don’t want to overwhelm myself any more than I all ready am.

Thanks ladies for reading along my thought process, please do continue to comment. This is something that I want to talk thru with several people in real life as well as in Blogland. Getting all of those thoughts and opinions may help me figure out my own opinion for my situation.

It really saddens me how much infertility takes away from a person. It threatens each and every piece of the being. And I feel like I am constantly battling to keep the original me in one piece, and this piece is a big part of me. I don't want to reshape it, unless I truly believe it needs to be. I don't want to loose this piece of me because of my useless body.


M said...

Interesting. I thought I posted to you about this before, but I don't see my comment anywhere below. I am Catholic, my husband Luterhan. He is the one that had issues doing IVF. In fact, he insisted we do IUI beforehand even though the doctors said it would never work.
And then we got to the point that the dr's said it was our only hope of having a biological child. And we did it. And neither of us regrets it for a second.
I cannot, in my heart, believe that God will condemn me to hell for creating a life. We love Madelyn like nobody's business. I truly believe he would condemn someone who had a child, didn't love them, abused them, etc. before he would do that to me.
And my thought all along was that if God wants us to have a child, IVF will work. If it's not in his will, regardless of what medical treatments we go through- it won't work. Because seriously, when it comes down to it, he is the decider.

Rachel said...

Wow, you have a lot to consider right now! I am not a Catholic, but I am a Christian. My husband is also a Christian but we were raised attending different types of churches so we interpret the Bible a little differently on some issues. Before we got married, we struggled about our different beliefs. Then I heard someone say, that if it is not a salvation issue, it will not keep you out of heaven. This helped me be at peace with our differences.

I know that having children is much different than the issues we dealt with. However, remember that things such is IVF were not even a possiblity when the Bible was written. Man has to guess at what God's intention was. I am not a Bible scholar, but I don't think God will condemn you if you make the decision to go forward with having children through IVF.

Serenity said...

I can't help with the religious dilemma here, but I wanted to comment and let you know that I believe that, in the end, you need to go through this process and come to an answer that is comfortable for you. It's not easy, but I believe you'll get there.


Aurelia said...


I'm going to ask my hubs again some of these questions, and I may send you some links and book titles.

But a couple of things that I do want to emphasize, is that the Church would not view your child after IVF as not being meant to exist, or judge you or your husband harshly. Individual priests and laypeople might, but they are not God and not the Church. God loves us, all of us, no matter how we get here. And Dianne, he will always forgive us, no matter. We just have to ask. That is the beauty of true faith and living in God's love. Humans get to waver and make choices, and it's not about the end justifying the means.

Dianne, I am worried that right now, you are being overly hard on yourself, contemplating these questions through a lens of hormones and sadness. Please be gentle with yourself as you think about this, and don't close any doors.

Anonymous said...

I am Catholic too and have been trying to get pregnant now for quite some time as well. So these issues are in my mind and on my heart. And as much as I want children, like you said, the ends do not justify any means whatsoever. I do also believe that the Church exists to help us to understand the truth, especially on weighty matters of faith and morals. (because sometimes these things just aren't easy!) I am praying for you right now as you try to discern what is right. I would suggest that you do not make this decision lightly. Do not try to figure it out on your own. Rather, investigate and learn why the Church has such a position. I am no scholar either, but I do know that one reason (though not the primary one I suspect) the church opposes IVF is because of the high possibility that innocent embryos will be left over to die or be destroyed. (In IVF they get as many eggs as they can and try to implant as many as they can each time). The primary reason for the Church's opposition, as I recall, is that each and every act of intercourse between husband and wife is to be 1) open to life, and 2) an act of love. These two things are equal and are part of God's natural order. Who are we to divorce the two?

Praying for you,

Kate said...

I became Catholic a few months before I got married and even before we were thinking of having kids I asked this question in my RCIA class. The answer I got was vague and unsatisfying. All I can say is that 1)I agree with Aurelia and 2) When things like this come up I try to remember that I chose to be Catholic b/c being Catholic made me feel spiritually whole and that wholeness was a result of my relationship with God. Sometimes humans get in the way, I think. You have a point - the church is run by men who will never understand and I think it is important to remember that. How can trying to create a life be a bad thing? My prayers to you.

Mama Bear said...

It’s sounds like you’ve got so much on your mind. It’s certainly a tough and intensely personal decision. So many of these issues are so complicated on so many levels. And I think that Catholic scholars still struggle with some of the implications of this new technology. Personally, I don’t think life is any less miraculous with IVF. But there’s certainly much more to it than that. No matter what, you’re clearly a very good, thoughtful person. I wish you all the best as you struggle through these issues and peace once you make the decision that’s best for your family.

TeamWinks said...

This all ties in with the grieving process. I wrote about that the other day. So, what you are doing makes complete sense. I'm not catholic, but find it very interesting. Doing what's in your heart won't lead you wrong.

Anonymous said...


I feel a need to correct some misconceptions in these comments. When Anonymous/DY says that w/ IVF doctors try to get as many eggs as possible and "implant as many as they can each time," he/she is incorrect.

1) Nowadays, most clinics in the US let the patient determine how many of her eggs will be exposed to sperm in the first place. You don't have to create more embryos than you desire.

2) Reputable clinics are increasingly limiting the number of embryos they will transfer per cycle. If you're under 35, have high quality embryos and do not have a history of failed IVF cycles, many REs would not consider transferring more than 2 embryos at a time. My RE strongly encourages patients in that situation to consider transferring just ONE healthy blast. The days of transferring as many embryos as possible are behind us now that the technology and embryo cultures have improved and embryos can be kept alive for longer periods in the lab.

Doctors also counsel that the number of embryos transferred should be limited for any patients for whom selective reduction is not an option.

3) Doctors cannot "implant" embryos; all they can do is transfer them to a woman's uterus. Only God/fate/some other higher power determines whether they implant.

I can't offer any advice about the teachings of the Catholic Church -- I'll leave that up to practicing Catholics -- but I want to make sure that you are using accurate information about IVF while weighing your options and examining your beliefs.

Again, I wish you peace w/ whatever choices you make.