Friday, December 11, 2009


So a couple of weeks ago in church there were baby dedications, and it was a difficult morning for me, sitting there, fighting back tears. Since then, I have been wrestling a bit about the whole thing. For those of you that have no idea what a "dedication" is, it's a brief ceremony done in lieu of infant baptism. Many modern Christian churches believe that you must be able to cognitively choose Christ as Savior to be baptized, and therefore won't do "infant baptisms."

So, our pastor called a few young families on stage to talk about the miracle of life, and what a blessing children are to the entire congregation. He specifically quoted Psalm 127:3 "Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward."

So, for the first time, I started thinking about the faith-based confusion involving infertility. This particular bible quote, when reversed seems to imply that those who cannot have children, do not deserve the reward for some reason. I have heard the question posed by a woman "Is God punishing me with infertility because I had an abortion in college?" I understand that this is not a punishment from God, but a case of reaping what is sewn. Because if there is scar tissue that forms during the procedure, it's a logical side affect, right? It has nothing to do with blame, or fault, it just IS. But do these woman not deserve a reward?

I've lived life as a relatively "good" person. I've never thought that my infertility was a punishment from God for not doing things "right." I understand that sometimes bad things happen to good people, and that most times, we don't know the reasoning behind it. Still I wonder am I unworthy of a reward?

I am prolife. It is therefore hard for me to reconcile IVF treatments, picking and choosing blasts for transfer and hoping for implantation. Is there anyone else out there that is struggling with the same thing? I would love to hear what you have to say about the subject, or any book/article references on the subject. I'm seriously trying to figure things out.


  1. You've raised a lot of really good questions here. I can't speak for anyone but myself, but here are my feelings:

    1. Infertility / fertility is the result of biology. God is not responsible for my infertility, nor am I being "punished." Would you say that someone with cancer is being "punished?" It's a medical condition that requires treatment. Similarly, I don't believe all fertile people are necessarily being "rewarded." I've seen plenty of unfit parents having kids, and failing to properly care for them. I DO see children as a blessing, but more of something to be grateful for, like good health or a solid marriage, not necessarily as a "reward" for leading a good life.

    2. I'm also pro-life, for myself, though pro-choice for others. I don't believe it is my place to tell anyone what they can/cannot do with their own bodies. That being said, I would never be able to abort my child. I know that some religions frown on IVF for the reasons you mentioned above. However, it is so much more common to have fewer embryos than you need than to have a great excess. Many, many embryos arrest early on and are never really viable. IVF purposely creates many embryos in the hopes of getting just one (or two) to implant and lead to a healthy pregnancy.

    You should be clear before treatments about how you feel about it, though, and what you want to do with any resulting embryos (freeze, destroy, or donate). I don't know of any books about it, but I have seen numerous message board and blog postings about this very thing. Have you considered talking to your priest/minister/rabbi/etc. about this?

    IF has dealt a considerable blow to my own faith. I hope I haven't offended you by offering my rather cynical viewpoint.


  2. My personal belief about IVF/embryos etc... is that we're just enhacing what happens naturally in the womb. Often times a fertile woman will cycle and actually even create an embryo with her DH, but it doesn't survive. It's not like everytime a fertile couple creates an embryo they get pregnant (well, they don't know it even happened by the time CD28 arrives cuz the embie already died off). Just like in the lab. There are many decision about selective reduction and what to do with your embies after creation if many do survive. I PERSONALLY believe in using them all eventually if you created them- and DH and I will not be donating ours to research or anything. We also don't believe in selective reduction- if you created them and gave them the chance at life you are responsible for what happens to them. That's my take on it. I guess it's a somewhat conservative approach to IVF. IVF is DH and my ONLY option for conception, and I truly believe God guided us to do it and that the technology is available for a reason and God inspired the scientists who developed it. HOWEVER... like with all good things, there can be bad results (like creating a million embies and leaving them to die in a dish). We all have to choose what we are morally comfortable with.
    Also, I struggled a lot with the reward idea of fertility. It seems like it should just be a right, especially to a good couple/home. But regardless of that, I STRONGLY believe that IF is NOT a punishment from God. IF is so hard that it's not something that any of us would wish on our enemies even, so how can I believe that a loving God would impose IF as a punishment on His children?
    These are my personal spiritual beliefs :) I hope you can discover whatever boundary you and DH are comfortable with. Good luck to you!!