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Background

The Church does not abandon those facing infertility, but offers wisdom on how to proceed with addressing infertility while respecting the dignity of the spouses, the marital act, and the potential child God desires to create. The Church promotes Natural Family Planning (NFP) as an ethical means of regulating births that is beneficial for the spouses, the dignity of the child to be conceived, and the overall health of marriages.  Developments in the methods of NFP do not just help space children, they have led to a better understanding of women’s health and are a means to address infertility. Many common Artificial Reproductive Technologies (ART) are immoral and do a disservice to the couple because they are often not able to identify the underlying medical issues that are causing the infertility in the first place. Instead, couples become wholly “dependent” on the science to “produce” their child, bypassing the underlying medical concerns.  

Even though it comes from a good desire to have a child, we must avoid any means of addressing infertility that result in harm to the sacredness of the marital act and/or the death of innocent children in process.  It is only in this way that we can begin to appreciate the true gift that life is and begin to help women with the underlying issues that cause infertility. 

Facts & Figures

  • Over six million U.S. women struggle with infertility.(1)

  • Physicians define infertility as an inability to conceive after a year of regular intercourse without contraception.(2)

  • Around 76% of transferred embryos in IVF do not result in live birth; that sums up to over 1.5 million embryos miscarried.(3)

  • Pre-implantation diagnosis is common with IVF and is directed toward the qualitative selection and consequent destruction of embryos, which constitutes an act of abortion. Embryo grading involves a visual check of embryos to determine fragmentation. Although there is no direct correlation between this visual test and health in the long run of the embryo, this test still results in the death of embryos that do not pass the test; this amounts to ableism, or discrimination based on appearance.(4)(5)

  • IVF does not seek to identify and treat the causes of infertility such as endometriosis, PCOS, or male-factor infertility.

  • Using IVF increases the chance of preterm birth 4.24 times.(6)

  • The multiple birth rate (twins or triplets often) with IVF is 30%. Often in these cases the practice is to selectively reduce (i.e. abort) 1-2 of the extra babies in order to “improve the oucome(s) of the remaining fetus(s) or to allow the woman to decide on the number of children she wishes to have.”(7)(8)

  • There are very roughly half a million frozen embryos (translate: tiny human babies) in the U.S. Hundreds of thousands of these are abandoned.(9)

  • NaProTechnology identifies and treats abnormalities to normalize fertility so that couples can achieve a pregnancy in the normal way.(10)

  • NaProTechnology has significantly higher pregnancy success rates for women with anovulatory infertility, PCOS, endometriosis, or tubal occlusion than patients with similar conditions using IVF.(11)

1https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/infertility

2ibid

3https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5306416/#:~:text=The%20overwhelming%20majority%20of%20embryos,rate%20of%2076.5%25%20in%202013.

4https://journalofethics.ama-assn.org/article/preimplantation-genetic-diagnosis/2001-08#:~:text=Ethical%20Concerns%20of%20PGD&text=True%2C%20no%20fetus%20is%20destroyed,that%20carry%20the%20unwanted%20mutation.

5https://daviesivf.com/embryo-grading/

6https://reproductive-health-journal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12978-022-01363-4#:~:text=Women%20who%20used%20in%20vitro,treatment%20at%20time%20of%20conception.

7https://rmanetwork.com/blog/what-are-my-odds-of-having-multiples-if-i-do-ivf/

8https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1894927/#:~:text=Selective%20reduction%20refers%20to%20the,drugs%20or%20in%20vitro%20fertilization.

9https://www.nbcnews.com/health/features/nation-s-fertility-clinics-struggle-growing-number-abandoned-embryos-n1040806

10https://fertilitycare.org/what-is-naprotechnology

11https://naprotechnology.com/infertility/

Church Documents

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Pastoral Programs

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