Should I Try IVF or Surrogacy?

By our very nature, women are called by God to nurture new life. Children are true “gifts,” the fruit of total self-giving, sown in the protected arbor of married love. When children are conceived in this way, we become co-creators with God – a human reflection of divine love that is the Trinity.

So then, what is a couple to do when, after giving of themselves as generously and totally as they know how, they still do not conceive?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The late, great Pope John Paul II proclaimed the family the “domestic church.” Within the loving embrace of family, strengthened by the sacraments of the Church and guided by her teachings, we receive the graces we need to make it all the way to heaven.

 

For those who are accustomed to look to Scripture alone to guide them through life, issues such as infertility and IVF can be difficult to discern. Even among Christians, opinions vary so widely that the confusion only deepens.

 

And yet, the same Church that discerned the original canon has continued to discern and apply spiritual principles handed down from the first Apostles to daily life. When we are struggling to find our way, we can trust the Holy Spirit to guide us thorugh the ancient wisdom of the unbroken line of men who received their authority through the Apostles, who received theirs from the Lord Himself.

 

Redemptive Longing

 

By our very nature, we women have been called by God to nurture new life. Our children are true “gifts,” the fruit of total self-giving, sown in the protected arbor of married love. When children are conceived in this way, we become co-creators with God – a human reflection of divine love that is the Trinity.

 

So then, what is a couple to do when, after giving of themselves as generously and totally as they know how, they still do not conceive?

 

For some, this sorrowful longing presents an opportunity for penance, to make amends for past sexual indiscretions or selfish choices. When our bodies are damaged through no fault of our own – through sexual assault, infidelity, or injury – we can take comfort in knowing that the bodily scars that prevent us from bearing children are a pale reflection of scars our Savior bore in His Passion.

 

While infertility and inability to carry a child to term is undeniably painful, our grief may give way to an extraordinary calling of a different kind. God may be preparing you to receive a child through adoption or foster care, or may be preparing you for work of an altogether different kind that will reap a rich harvest of spiritual children.

 

If we are willing to open our hands and offer back to God our hopes and plans for the future, we may find ourselves being called to cooperate with God’s plan of redemption in altogether unexpected ways.

 

In my own life, I have seen how even the most painful and humiliating circumstances of life present a consummate opportunity to trust. To have faith that God does not break our hearts out of spite or vindictiveness, but loves us and works only for our good. To hope in the power of God to bring life out of death, and good out of evil. Above all, to love … striving to remain open toward God and all those He puts in our path.

 

“Love Does Not Demand …”

 

In his first letter to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul reminds us of the true meaning of love in a passage many can clearly remember from our own weddings:

 

“…[Love] does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:6-7).

 

This passage offers real protection from the temptation to run ahead of God in our eagerness to secure the blessings of family life. Love does not seek its own interests … but trusts in the wisdom of Mother Church. Love does not bemoan past injuries or injustices, but remains open to the possibility of grace. Above all, love endures, confident in the law of love that is higher and purer and stronger than we are ourselves.

 

And so, when the Church says that assisted reproductive techniques such as IVF and surrogacy do not uphold the dignity of a child, or protect his right to be conceived in the loving embrace of his parents who have been joined for life in the holy sacrament of matrimony, we can trust that this boundary is for our protection.

 

  • It protects the lives of children, and prevents their abandonment in IVF labs and storage tanks.
  • It protects couples that would otherwise sacrifice everything – financially, physically, emotionally, even martially – to “achieve” pregnancy.
  • It protects women.  When we are in anguish, struggling to understand and accept the realities of our situation, the wisdom of Mother Church casts a light of peace and justice upon our path.  

It is not always easy to accept our human limitations. We want to feel in control, in charge, invincible. We want to believe that if we just pray long enough and try hard enough … if we just do our part, God will bless us with our heart’s desire.

 

In this, the Book of Sirach offers these words of caution:

 

Rely not on your wealth; say not: “I have the power.”

Rely not on your strength in following the desires of your heart  (Sir 5:1). 

When all is said and done, what is most important is not our own desires, but God’s desires for us. Our first calling is not “parent,” but “child” … a most beloved child of God, created in love and adopted by grace.

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One thought on “Should I Try IVF or Surrogacy?

Add yours

  1. Heidi,
    Thank you so much for this beautiful post… God is so good to us and your words are the fruits of much prayer!

    I have linked your article to my post for the day… It has been on my heart during the last couple of weeks that every good Catholic should consider and pray about the gift of adoption or foster care. Just as we should consider and pray about the Religious life before marriage. In my heart I feel that we should all seek the Lord in prayer to see if He is calling anyone of us to this beautiful gift of life and love.

    God bless you,
    Therese
    The Apostolate of Hannah’s Tears
    Hannahs.Tears@gmail.com

    Like

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