Monday, November 19, 2012

10 Commandments for Infertile Catholics

1.       I am the Lord your God.  You shall not have other gods before me.
a.       You shall not idolize the idea or hope of a future child to the point of forgetting other possible callings in your life.
b.      You should not allow the desire for a child to rob you of the ability to recognize the many blessings in your life.
c.       You shouldn’t come to believe that having a child would be the one thing that could give you fulfillment, for you ought to seek that only in the Lord.
2.       Do not use the Lord’s name in vain. 
a.       When you pray, do not focus solely on requests, as this fails to acknowledge the scope of God’s presence in your life.  Remember to be grateful, to repent of your shortcomings, and to remember others in your prayers.  Do not treat God as Santa Clause.
b.      Also, when you do ask God for blessings, always add the caveat Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane: “Thy will, not mine, be done”
3.       Keep the Lord’s day holy.
a.       It is prudent to take regular breaks from all labor, including those related to the pursuit of parenthood.  Periodic “on hold” times are recommended.  If a day of rest is good enough for God, it’s good enough for us.
4.       Respect your mother and father.
a.       It may be a delicate balancing act to continue to honor your parents if they are not supportive of your IF struggles, but Christian charity demands it of you nonetheless.
b.      It is important not to get so fixated on one’s own lack of parenthood that we neglect to still honor our parents like we did before trying to conceive.  (eg. Mother’s day…)
5.       You shall not kill.
a.       An action is killing if it stops life from progressing where otherwise it would’ve progressed. Human embryos created in the lab must be treated with respect and not disposed of as if they were not human beings in the earliest stage of development.  Having said that, everything should be done to maximize the survival of any child conceived, starting with how they are conceived, and avoiding cryopreserving them "for future use".  Children are not to be used like property.
b.      Human embryos cannot be aborted at will because too many were transferred and now they all risk death.  This is a sign of lack of foresight. Human embryos likewise cannot be aborted due to negative in-utero test results.
6.       You shall not commit adultery.
a.       Introducing a gamete donor into a marriage forever changes the relationship between the child and one of the parents, as well as between the spouses. A couple must truly come to an agreement to use a donor, and not just to reluctantly agree. But it should always be well-thought out in light of not just the immediate result, but the burden that this places on the future child as well.  Entering into third party reproduction haphazardously is a disregard for the marital bond.
b.      The pursuit of parenthood outside the security of a marriage is not in the best interest of the child.  Children ought not be sought without first establishing a two-parent household into which the child is to be born. Having said that, adoption of a child who would otherwise not have any parents at all by a single parent is certainly more beneficial to the child than remaining in an orphanage or foster care.

7.       You shall not steal.
a.       Stealing is taking what doesn’t belong to you.  If you are so focused on becoming a parent that you fail to acknowledge or seek God’s will for your life, you are in effect stealing from God what is rightfully His (leadership of your life).
b.      Also, you may be stealing time, attention, energy, even finances from others if you are consumed with pursuing parenthood to the exclusion of other goals.
8.       You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor
a.       If you do use a gamete donor and do not disclose this information to your child, this is a lie. The child has a right to know.
b.      If you adopt and do not tell your child this fact, or keep important information about their biological family from them, this is a lie.
c.       If there is a hereditary fertility situation you may have passed down to a biological child but you do not tell them bc you don’t want to disclose your struggle with IF, this is a lie.
9.       & 10. You shall not covet (jealously desire what’s not yours)
a.       You shouldn’t envy other parents for having children.
b.      You shouldn’t focus on how bad some parents are with their children, as this isn’t charitable.
c.       You shouldn’t assume parents don’t have as many struggles as you, as this encourages a woe-is-me mentality, which breeds lack of gratitude.


  1. as a woman who has struggled with infertility for over a decade (shortly after marriage) i strongly AGREE with all of this. these are hard to live by in the midst of arms longing to hold a child, but our Lord surely can give us the strength to do so!

  2. I should note that these are written from a place of reminding myself, certainly not because I've mastered them! Thanks for writing :)

  3. Great thought and Biblical application.

    jenni - author, Hannah's Hope: Seeking God's Heart in the Midst of Infertility, Miscarriage, & Adoption Loss