Saturday, July 07, 2012

Review: The Infertility Companion for Catholics

About the Book:
One in every six United States couples experiences infertility but Catholic couples face additional confusion, worry, and frustration as they explore the medical options available to them. Filling a major void in Catholic resources, The Infertility Companion for Catholics describes the Church's teaching on reproductive technologies and provides a rich spiritual perspective on the emotions and faith involved in embracing the cross of infertility. The authors both experienced periods of being unable to conceive and they walk in solidarity with readers, compassionately coaching them through the challenging landscape of infertility. 

The book includes a variety of spiritual resources including prayers, devotions, and wisdom of the saints. There is a chapter designed for friends and family of infertile couples, with tips on how to relate to the couple with compassion and sensitivity. Appendixes include suggested further reading, reference materials, Catholic documents, and Catholic blogs about infertility.

My Comments:
I found this one on NetGalley. It appears that Ave Maria Press has become one of their customers, so I decided to have a look-see. Thank God infertility has not been a cross I have had to bear, but I have a lot of friends who have suffered from secondary infertility and my son's Godparents were never able to have a baby. They are devout Catholics who wanted to follow the Church's teachings. They knew IVF was immoral, but when they went to talk to their pastor about adoption, they learned that, at least in his opinion, at least one of the procedures they did was against Church teachings. I have other friends who rejected the same procedure-a procedure our diocesan paper specifically said was licit.  Clearly, there is a need for a resource that not only gives the Church's "ruling"on various procedures, but also explains the reasoning behind those rulings so that when faced with decisions about unknown procedures, couples will have the information needed to evaluate them.  

The authors of this book have walked the walk. They have tried to get pregnant and failed. They have been poked, prodded,injected, examined and pumped full of medications. They have spent lots of money. They have had doctors and others consider them to be overly religious when they refused treatments on moral grounds. I think it gives the book a credibility that books by celibate theologians lack--yes, the theologians may have the right answers but they haven't been there, done that. 

The book is filled with information that would be useful to any couple, Catholic or not, beginning the journey of treating infertility. It describes many of the common problems, tests and treatments. It also describes NaPro Technology, though I would have liked to have learned more about it. Nutritional support for fertility is briefly discussed as well. It looks at both moral and immoral fertility treatments and talks about why each is in the category it is. Procedures with debated morality, specifically GIFT and embryo adoption are also mentioned, along with the fact that their morality has not been definitively established. 

I'd recommend the book to couples solely on the basis of the scientific information, but besides the fact that it looks at the morality of various procedures, the other thing that makes this book Catholic is that it offers spiritual support to couples. Each chapter ends with a prayer and the spiritual aspects of suffering, of wanting, and of discernment are given a lot of attention. The importance of couple prayer is stressed, and a method of discerning God's will as a couple is given. 

Each chapter has a bibliography for additional reading and links to blogs and internet forums for infertile Catholics are given. 

In short, if you are looking for support on the painful walk to the Calvary that is infertility, I think this book will be helpful. Grade: A.

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1 comment:

  1. It didn't seem like we were going to making any more babies- so we adopted two more. I know it may not be everyone's answer to infertility, but it worked for us, and the kids.


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