No More Snowflakes: On “Dignitatis Personae”

From “Dignitatis Personae” (“On the Dignity of Persons”), published by CDF on the 20th anniversary of “Donum Vitae” in order to address certain questions pertaining to reproductive technologies and the dignity of the human person from conception to natural death.  Paragraph 13 addresses the parameters of options available to married couples who want to become parents:

“[T]echniques aimed at removing obstacles to natural fertilization, as for example, hormonal treatments for infertility, surgery for endometriosis, unblocking of fallopian tubes or their surgical repair, are licit. All these techniques may be considered authentic treatments because, once the problem causing the infertility has been resolved, the married couple is able to engage in conjugal acts resulting in procreation, without the physician’s action directly interfering in that act itself. None of these treatments replaces the conjugal act, which alone is worthy of truly responsible procreation.

“In order to come to the aid of the many infertile couples who want to have children, adoption should be encouraged, promoted and facilitated by appropriate legislation so that the many children who lack parents may receive a home that will contribute to their human development. In addition, research and investment directed at the prevention of sterility deserve encouragement. ”

And from paragraph 16:

“The Church recognizes the legitimacy of the desire for a child and understands the suffering of couples struggling with problems of fertility. Such a desire, however, should not override the dignity of every human life to the point of absolute supremacy. The desire for a child cannot justify the ‘production’ of offspring, just as the desire not to have a child cannot justify the abandonment or destruction of a child once he or she has been conceived.”

One aspect of artificial reproductive technology of particular interest to those who have considered adopting one or more of the abandoned embryos through the “Snowflakes” program, was also contained in this document:

“The proposal that these embryos could be put at the disposal of infertile couples as a treatment for infertility is not ethically acceptable for the same reasons which make artificial heterologous procreation illicit as well as any form of surrogate motherhood;[38] this practice would also lead to other problems of a medical, psychological and legal nature.

“It has also been proposed, solely in order to allow human beings to be born who are otherwise condemned to destruction, that there could be a form of ‘prenatal adoption.’ This proposal, praiseworthy with regard to the intention of respecting and defending human life, presents however various problems not dissimilar to those mentioned above.”

While this development may be troubling to some, we must be willing to accept the Church’s authority to shine the light of truth on this and other matters pertaining to the seamless garment of family life. When a couple is struggling to find God’s will for their lives, these teachings provide practical, providential boundaries to protect both the marriage and the individuals … as well as their future children. 


Have I Miscarried? Signs to help you know.

Today I came across this article online that identifies the signs that you have miscarried. 

Recently Tina at “Antique Mommy” posted about her experiences with infertility, and put together a helpful list of things not to say to someone who is having difficulty trying to conceive. I hadn’t considered before that suggesting adoption might not be appropriate.

My husband and I got married knowing that having a child of our own would be highly unlikely (though we would have been thrilled had it happened). So for us, we enthusiastically embraced adoption as a wonderful way to share our love with kids who might otherwise never have a home.

And yet, Tina’s article reminds me: It’s all about timing. Each family needs an opportunity to grieve their loss and frustration in their own way before they can be open to other possibilities. Those in the throes of grief don’t need an easy fix, but a listening ear.

Merciful Father, when one of your daughters is grieving,
Let Your gentle Spirit flow through through me,
That I might be a source of healing and comfort.
Teach me not to push, but to embrace. Amen.

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? Continue reading

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

From Dawn Davenport, adoption expert and founder of “Creating a Family”:

Hi all. Tomorrow’s Creating a Family show, Aug.13, will be on Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, and my guest will be Dr. Marcelle Cedars, director of the University of California at San Francisco Center for Reproductive Health.  Dr. Cedars specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of PCOS.  As always, the show is live from 12-1 Eastern Time, but you can listen to it anytime after it airs at the radio page of (click on radio page, then click on the play button) or download it as a free podcast from iTunes.  You can call in with questions during the show (347/215-8510) or email them to me in advance at dawn (delete space).

Please let other forums that might be interested in this topic know about the show.  We rely on word-of-mouth to spread the news.  Thanks.


I have added a number of questions to the Adoption Frequently Unasked Questions page, including questions about adopting from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. We are having a problem with adding too much data to that page, but the problem doesn’t affect the new questions just added.



Be Not Afraid

Today at, Mark Shea answers the question, “What would you do if your unborn child received a poor diagnosis, such that you knew he or she would not survive for long?”

If you or someone you know is struggling with this issue, you may like to know about a special online ministry to grieving parents called “Be Not” With compassion and courage, parents of “imperfect” children share their experiences with others, and affirm the reality that every child is a gift from God, no matter how long that child is in our arms.

This is something worth considering for parents who are seriously considering adoption or foster-adoption, but hold back in case something should “go wrong” and the child be returned to the birth parents.  No human relationship — no matter how loving — is guaranteed for life. And yet, if you choose to love, that relationship has lasting effects that will transform both parties for life.

Thanks, Mark, for sharing your wisdom on this!