I'm a faithful Catholic, I attend Mass every Sunday, go to confession, support Catholic charities, adhere to the guidelines against contraception and other banned substances and fertility procedures. I also can't stand by when religious and apologists make statements that are untrue. I'm an activist myself and I know that when you believe in your position so strongly, it's tempting to polarize the issue by making the other side look patently evil and misrepresent them. It happens with animal rights, gay rights, abortion, etc.
Quite a few of the stances I take in my own life might line up with Church teaching but a lot of them also make good sense. I like rational decision making, I think it's good for people. My decision not to use IVF is not because the Church says it's wrong, it's because it's not a rational procedure to submit to. It's very expensive that most middle-class people cannot comfortably afford it. I've read a fair number of couples go into debt (the dreaded credit card kind) to undergo an IVF cycle. Bad decision. When I first started this blog, I'd just finished reading The Baby Business. It's not technically considered Lenten reading material, but I highly recommend it. I wanted to understand assisted fertility as a business, because most everything in life is a business, sadly.
I've also learned that fertility drugs make me crazy and I have an inherent moral duty to be good for my husband. Clomid makes me bad for him and that's unfair. And why in the world would I go to a drug even more powerful? A child couldn't exist without our marriage so why would I sacrifice it's goodness by submitting to medical treatment that might give me a baby but make him want to divorce me?
I'm not an apologist for the Creighton Method, and I've said so here before.
And I guess that gets me to my ultimate point for this post. Christina posted in her last comment an article that I'd half read several months ago: Babies Deserve Better. After she posted I link, I read the whole thing pretty carefully. There are several serious errors (that I spotted) in the article.
- According to the Pope Paul VI Institute, couples who have learned to chart effectively have a 76 percent chance of conceiving during their first cycle of use and a 98 percent pregnancy rate by their sixth cycle.
- Not true. According to the Institute, this quoted success rate is only for couple with "normal fertility" and that is never defined. My guess is you're considered normal if you've gotten pregnant within six months since that's very close to 100% in that study.
- The primary reason the Church opposes IUI and IVF is that these techniques frustrate the unitive aspect of the marital act.
- Partly true. I'm not sure about the Church but the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have neither approved nor disapproved IUI when the sperm is obtained through a natural act of intercourse. Dr. Hilgers himself said the main reason the Church opposes IVF is that it's abortive in nature meaning many embryos are created in the process and some will die or be destroyed when the couple doesn't want them or need them.
- When you are infertile, every act of intercourse is pregnant with the hope that God will work a miracle.
- Every act? Not when you know you're an infertile in the infertile part of her cycle. It's disingenuous to dismiss the fact that lovemaking when you're infertile is very stressful and heartbreakingly frustrating.
- Ironically, many couples using IUI and IVF in their late twenties and mid-thirties were contracepting earlier in marriage. This is because IUI and IVF are the logical counterparts of the contraceptive mentality, which has as a fundamental tenet that women enjoy total control over their fertility.
- This is far from ironic. The vast majority of sexual active adults use some form of contraception. NFP is very rare. "The contraceptive mentality" permeates the Western World, not just for people who use IVF. I think most free people assume total control over most things in their life, not just as it comes to fertility.
There are certainly some very good points in the article and I think it's good to hear those things from a couple who is experiencing infertility themselves. The article was written some years ago, I wonder if they ever were able to have their child.