Treading on Sacred Ground: Why NOT IVF or Embryonic Stem Cell Research?

Last week my friend Denise published on Catholic Exchange an account of her IVF experience, which is entitled “Treading on Sacred Ground.”  If you’re considering this type of assisted reproduction … or are still on the fence with how you feel about embryonic stem cell research, this article is for you.

One line in the article that gave me pause  was the obvious pain the author felt over venturing beyond the ethical boundaries the Church has established for family life — in this case, satisfying the desire to conceive a child.

As I wrote to Denise in the comments:

[You wrote in your article,] “My husband and I talked about it later. We had come face to face with the earliest moments of our children’s lives. We had peered into something that only God should see. We didn’t deserve what blessing might come despite our serious sin.”

I’m sure you must realize the sin was not in the looking … the looking was a kind of grace, for it gave you an opportunity to contemplate the seriousness of your actions. And in the contemplation, to express the lesson in words that even now may change a life.

“[God makes] all things work together for good…” the Scriptures tell us. By walking as closely as possible to truth, we spare ourselves untold heartache. And yet, in our failures we often catch an unforgettable glimpse of the mercy of God.

We were made for love, to participate in the divine and creative love of God. But for every true and good gift, the evil one conjurs a deceptive counterfeit. Your story shows just why the Church is right to speak against these kinds of assisted reproductive technologies. The cross of infertility is both real and painful … but perfect love always works according to God’s design, not our own.

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Bad Endings: When Choices Break Our Hearts

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about choices. The ones we make (and wish we hadn’t); the ones we didn’t (but wish we had). The ones that hurt no one but ourselves … and those with far-reaching consequences that hurt the least deserving.

For example, “Orphans Hope” reports that if all the parentless children of the world stood shoulder to shoulder, they would circumnavigate the globe three times. (In most cases parents do not choose to leave behind young children — these choices are more complex and indirect, in the form of cultural and global indifference, complacency, and greed.)

Happily, many couples are responding to this overwhelming need by stretching the borders of their families, some through foster care (domestically) or sponsorships (internationally), others through adoption. Increasing numbers of families foster and/or adopt after having (and possibly after raising) their own children. However, traditional adoption has been a kind of twofold redemption.  Continue reading

Life After Miscarriage: A Guest Post by Dawn Wilde

One of the last articles that I acquired for Canticle did not make the “final cut”… but I felt the subject matter was too important not to give it a wider audience. And so, I’d like to share this woman’s story with you here.

“Dawn Wilde” (a pseudonym) experienced her own painful journey from grief to hope after having lost her fourth child six months into her pregnancy in September 2007. She received an outpouring of support from Catholic, Protestant, and even Jewish friends … but her pain was compounded by her own family.

Dawn writes, “My sister-in-law was due just two weeks prior to what would have been my due date and I had to grieve in her shadow. Neither my sister-in-law nor my mother-in-law ever expressed sympathy for our loss beyond our son’s funeral, and my sister-in-law did not even attend the funeral.  

“It was a painful experience, but one that ultimately brought me closer to Jesus and Mary. With little support from family, I had to rely upon my faith for grace, strength, and consolation. I have forgiven my husband’s family because I understand now that, without Our Lord in your life, it is very difficult to offer compassion to others who are suffering. The whole experience has prompted me to pray for my husband’s family even more.”


If you are struggling to cope with the loss of your baby, please know that you are  not alone … and that your baby is safe in the arms of the angels, until you meet again. If you have not yet lost your baby, but are struggling to come to terms with a bad prognosis regarding your child and/or pregancy, click here.

Continue reading

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.



EMN Carnival #1: Tea Time!

I wanted this, our first Carnival, to be a friendly introduction to the women you’ll be hearing from now and again through EMN. We’re just getting started, and I’m hoping this time next month there are many more entries for you to peruse. But for now, just pour yourself a favorite cuppa, and “come and see.” (This is a picture of my favorite teapot … just ignore the tree!) Continue reading