Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Guest Post: Faith & Ethical Decisions

A few weeks ago I received an email from a woman asking if I would consider her as guest post on my blog. I am not sure if it was because she was from Monterey, California; which is where I was raised (close enough) or the fact that she was also hesitant to IVF, like us, but something in her email made me anxious to read what she was hoping to share.

Here is her email...

Hi Teresa,

I saw your post inviting people to guest post and I'd love to be considered.  We've been through 3 failed medicated IUIs and now we're trying to decide whether to do a 4th or move on to IVF.  I have hesitations regarding IVF and it scares me for many reasons.

I also wanted to tell you how much I appreciated your recent post about adoption and knowing your limits.  I've looked at available children to adopt online and I felt like such a horrible person for not wanting to adopt an older child or special needs child.  Your post is the first post I've ever read that addressed that, and I admire your courage in writing that.
 I have a blog about faith and school librarianship (I'm a school librarian).  Obviously, it's nothing to do with infertility, but you can get an idea of my writing style.
Thanks again for your blog. It has been a tremendous help to me this past year.  I wish you continued success


Lisa N.
Monterey, CA
Last week, Lisa emailed her post over and I loved it; I knew right away that it was something I wanted to share with all of you! I found both her thoughts and writing style to be fitting for my blog and I felt that we shared similar views. The first line in the third  paragraph completely hit home for me because I have had that same thought, so many times...
Please, enjoy.

Faith & Ethical Decisions

I’m a Christian and I believe God promises me good things, but I don’t believe that means he promises me a baby.

I also believe that God can bring about healing and miracles through medical intervention.  I’m so thankful that we live in a time when we have options.  My heart breaks for the millions of infertile women throughout history who didn’t have the options and hope we have due to medicine and technology. 

But because I believe in God, I don’t want to start playing God.  Every step I’ve taken in my journey on fertility has been preceded by prayer and serious thought.  I know that many other infertile women who share my faith have given similar consideration to their decisions.  And women of other faiths (or no faith) undoubtedly seek to make ethically-sound decisions based on their individual morality and conscience. 

Most people believe that is sacred, and there’s something magical and mysterious about creating life.  I think we all realize this on some level, and none of us take our treatment decisions lightly.  So I get extremely frustrated at people who pass judgment on those who are pursuing aggressive treatment.  

This past week I read an article that condemned IUI, IVF, and gestational carriers as unethical.  First of all, it pissed me off that those three treatments were lumped together as the same thing.  It pissed me off that someone who has never been through infertility wrote the article.  And it pissed me off that people some people have been guilted into forgoing treatment. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I am not advocating a fertility free-for-all.  It looks like we’re headed towards IVF, and I plan on weighing all of our options in regards to how many (if any) embryos we freeze and how many we transfer.  These are INTENSELY personal decisions which my husband and I will make after a lot of prayer and research.  While I may come to different conclusions than other people, we can still respect their decisions if they too are seeking to pursue treatment in an ethical way. 

But it took me a long time to discover that I can do IVF in a way that allows me to keep my Christian convictions.  Most of what I found regarding IVF and faith was filled with rhetoric, guilt, fear, and verbiage designed to sway the reader into choosing treatment the author approved.  What I wanted was a resource that would help me understand the ethical issues, dig into what the Bible says (and what it doesn’t say), and then make my own prayerful decision. 
I finally found this resource when I read The Infertility Companion: Hope and Help for Couples Facing Infertility by Sandra L. Glahn and William R. Cutler.  It breaks down common infertility treatments and medications and help you examine the moral and ethical issues involved with each one. 

I would even encourage women of other faiths to consider this book.  Even though this book is written from a Christian perspective, it addresses objections that are issues in other religions, too. At the very least, it will help you as a person of (any) faith to think through the ethical issues of reproductive technology and decide what you believe and what your limits will be.

Lisa blogs regularly about faith and school librarianship at  She also blogs occasionally about her infertility journey and creating a home at AmateurNester.


  1. Thanks so much for sharing Lisa! Those ethical and moral decisions are incredibly difficult and personal, and it's so frustrating when others feel the need to put their two cents in....especially if they've never been there. The book looks amazing, and like a fantastic resource to guide couples through a thoughtful, well- researched decision! I can't wait to check it out!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this!

    Lisa, I love this. I too have wrestled, heck, I'm still wrestling with this. We're looking at IVF in just a few short months, so I'm excited to read the book you recommended.

    Ultimately, I've come to the same conclusion you did: I can keep my faith, my morals AND pursue IVF. I think ultimately we just have to realize that the responsibility rests on our shoulders. We can't expect the doctors to share our views, so if it's important, we've got to vocalize it and keep vocalizing it until we feel confident and comfortable.

    I'm working on a post about this right now, so thanks for sharing!!!

  3. Lisa, I have read this book and truly appreciated the various parts of the books that delved into the ethical issues of each treatment. It helped me tremendously in clearing any clouds about the ethical aspect of pursuing IVF in our case. Like you said, my husband and I pray constantly about our decisions and do not take anything lightly. I am so glad you are introducing this book here and I hope that it helps others the way it has helped me. Thank you! I wish you all the best in your decisions.

  4. I am having to keep IVF from a large part of my family do to us being christians who practice our faith in the Catholic church. We have come to terms with our choice, but I will be getting this book for sure to help validate things. Thank you so much for sharing.

  5. I am having to keep IVF from a large part of my family do to us being christians who practice our faith in the Catholic church. We have come to terms with our choice, but I will be getting this book for sure to help validate things. Thank you so much for sharing.

  6. Great guest post! I have to say, I am loving all of these! Such amazing perspectives, such admirable honesty!

  7. Great post! Thank you so much for sharing it!! Happy ILC Week

  8. I've never really understood the perspective that looks down on medical intervention. I believe that God has educated those doctors and given us medical treatments for infertility, as well as a number of othe things. Of course there are ethical/moral limits to anything, but each person has to figure those limits out for themselves. I haven't read this book, but it does sound like a great resource. Thank you so much for sharing. This tends to be a tough topic for many and it's nice to have someone bring it to the forefront.

  9. I appreciate this guest post! thanks for sharing


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