IVF and Catholicism

I'm lucky enough to be 12 weeks pregnant with twins after ICSI IVF. My father is a strict Catholic is keeping his religious views to himself (for now) but I know he's not happy about how his grandchildren were conceived. My husband was divorced when we got married which my father also wasn't happy about and almost refused to come to our wedding- but he did eventually come round and now loves his son in law to bits. I hope the same will be true for our children but it is so upsetting. I used to consider myself a Catholic but decided to walk away from it when we found out we'd need IVF to conceive- the same week the current 'liberal' Pope condemned it- it seemed like a sign somehow and I won't be part of a church my children are not welcome in. Has anyone else had to deal with family members reacting badly to their infertility and decision to use science to help treat it? Did you find an effective way to tackle it?

8 Replies

  • I'm sorry that you've been put in this awful situation ,caught between your religion ,and your want of a family. Must be very difficult. Glad the pregnancy is going well 👍 I'm not really that religious, so I cant imagine how that feels, but I do hope that I can conceive naturally. IVF is no ones first choice for conceiving,but can bring many many couples ,the family they've always dreamed of ❤️ But hubby doesn't mind ,how mind how our baby is conceived ,because the baby will be made from our love ,💘 I'm sure your Dad will adore his grandchildren and enjoy being involved with them both, like all grandparents spoil them rotten and drive you crazy with it 😂 My mum says it's really amazing being a grandparent(she has one from me and two from my sister) coz you get all the fun and none of the hard work 😆 As for being judged in your church for IVF why tell them you had IVF..? It's no ones business except you and your husbands. 😊

    Wishing you the very best with your pregnancy,you've fought hard to get there, try to enjoy it,and don't let anyone make you feel bad about having IVF. ❤️X

  • God made man clever for a reason. So we can take care of ourselves and help others. My family was very against IVF, until they saw how hard it was for us when I became an Aunt for the 12th time. God isn't punishing us, I'm not sure what his plans are for me, someday I'll meet and ask him. Your Dad will come round. When you place the little one in his arms his heart will melt. And you're making a baby within the confines of marriage! Not a whoops, unplanned baby. Religion is a hard thing. I've come to the conclusion the gospel is true, but men are fallible. Even ones ordained make mistakes.

  • Hello Kernishp,

    I have so often thought about writing about this very issue which I have also struggled with during our journey so thank you for raising it.

    Both my husband and I are Catholic and our families are too. We are fortunate that they have been very supportive in our decision to have IVF (although my hubby has been too frightened to tell his 80 yr old gran!). Knowing the views of the church on IVF I found it very difficult to reconcile my own faith with having IVF and I felt like a hypocrite praying for a successful outcome during our treatment. When I spoke to my mum about this and she reminded me that we're all only human, we're all fallible.

    Have you read what Pope John Paul I said in the birth of Louise Brown? I found this helpful:

    "I too offer my best wishes to the baby girl. As for her parents, I do not have any right to condem them; subjectively, if they have acted with the right intention and in good faith, they may even have great merit before God for what they have decided on and asked doctors to carry out".

    I wonder if the views of the church would be different had he survived. I think the church would struggle with any embryos being destroyed so my husband and I have vowed to use all of ours.

    I don't believe the church truly understands our struggle. There quite a few stories of infertility in the bible. I found the story of Hannah the most poignant and it told me that even if the church doesn't understand, God does.

    Regardless of the views of the church on IVF I have always been taught that everyone (especially innocent little babies) are welcome in the church. I believe your whole family will be very welcome.

    Take care of yourself. I hope things work out with your father. I'm pretty certain he will get over it! x

  • This is such an amazing reply hopeful1982..... I'm literally a blubbering mess after reading it!😭🙈 (teachers me for being nosey and ready every post and reply every evening!!) xxx

  • Lol! I felt emotional the first time I read that quote! x

    p.s. I read pretty much every post and every reply too! x

  • Hi Kernishp,

    Congratulations first of all, on your pregnancy, how wonderful.

    I read your post with interest. I had completely forgotten that IVF is still an issue within the Catholic church. I consider myself very fortunate not to have any strictly religious family, although my husbands family are Catholic but mostly non practising. I did however have a strict and awful father who I cut off contact with over two years ago. He had very strict Victorian attitudes to just about everything and always believed he was right. An ignorant man on many levels.

    I have felt nothing but relief and gratitude from the point I decided to cut him out of my life. Since that moment I have been happier and myself and living by my own judgement on things. 36 years of living with someone else's issues was lifted from me.

    I'm not at all suggesting that you have any grounds for cutting him off as I'm sure he is a wonderful father in most ways (whereas mine was not). My point is that you will know what is right for yourself and your new family, stay true to your own beliefs. If your father is a good and supportive parent and grandparent then he will be there for you. If he acts with prejudice about IVF , a process which I expect he has no real understanding, then perhaps he does not deserve to be part of their lives.

    In my case I decided that life is too short to worry about other's expectations. My acupuncturist helped me see that with IVF we were just helping the body prepare itself and then nature does the rest. I wish you all the best with it all. xxx

  • I'm not Catholic or particularly religious but my mum attends church regularly. I was a bit concerned about telling people we'd be using donor eggs for our 3rd round of ICSI, fortunately for us our family and friends have been really supportive of our decision and if they aren't happy about it they are keeping those views to themselves.

    I suspect your dad will be overcome with love for his grandchildren in the end he won't be bothered about how they were conceived, to his credit he is keeping his views to himself.

    Some people will always be against IVF as they see it as not "natural". However you could say that about many aspects of medicine from antibiotics to treatment for life threatening illnesses. You and your hubby are fulfilling your desire to be parents within a loving relationship and no-one will know how they were conceived unless you choose to tell them. I imagine there are a lot of Catholics who disagree with the current stance of the church. Celibate religious leaders are perhaps not the best placed people to talk about infertility. Perhaps you could go to a different church or practise your religious observances at home?

    I wish you all the best with your pregnancy and look forward to hearing the birth announcement.

  • I am also dreading strict religious sentimental opposition from my father alone, but I have not discussed there mate with him, as I choosed a cut off for reasons of that attitude. My hubby and his family althoug nosy in other respects but they had never mentioned displeasing ideas about IVF/ICSI may be due to male factor in my case of trying IVF. I never thought of the rest of the world until I read this post. Now I understand why people want to keep it confidential sometimes. As for my perspective on life I would say that my efforts and life means so much to me than I care for others in their own judgements. Same should be true for my child through the IVF journey, child must realise to stand by this reality that how desired conception was, and how brave the parents have been to choose all the available options for just to bring them in this world, hold them in arms and then raising them as the confident persons who accept all realities as they are... So I wouldn't hide anything from prospective child.

    As nor I remember why my mum asked me once, to be secretive and go through IVF. She did never opposed the idea so I could not understand why she asked me to not disclose it to people in general. But I always did the opposite. Because first of all I was not ashamed of my choices and secondly I thought I'd I share it might help others in seeking an available option for then in case of infertility. So whatever reason and whatever judgements people make, I wouldn't care. It's good for me if I get successful cycle, may be this time, and its also good for others who could think of it after knowing my experience. Xx sending you lots of baby dusts and good luck xx

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