Solidarity Blog

Embracing Life: Choosing Life-Affirming Fertility Care

Life-affirming fertility care

Fertility care is a deeply personal journey, often fraught with complex decisions and bioethical pitfalls. From a Catholic bioethics perspective, the sanctity of life and the dignity of every human person are paramount. That’s why at Solidarity, we advocate an approach called life-affirming fertility care. This approach is above all committed to the sanctity of life and the dignity of every human person.

In today’s post, I invite you to explore how life-affirming fertility care differs from conventional approaches, how it aligns with Catholic values, and what its benefits are. It is important to note that while life-affirming fertility care is rooted in Catholic bioethics, it is applicable to all individuals and couples dealing with infertility who wish to prioritize long-term health and well-being by addressing the core issues causing infertility.

Issues with Conventional Methods

Did you know that children born through IVF face a higher incidence of health challenges, including premature birth,1 congenital birth defects,2 and leukemia?3 That’s not all – women undergoing IVF procedures are also at risk for severe life-threatening complications, such as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome,4 highlighting the need for ethical and safer alternatives.

Unfortunately, while conventional artificial reproductive technologies like IVF offer hope to many, they not only often have associated risks, but ultimately fall short in addressing the root causes of infertility.

The Principles of Catholic Bioethics

Our commitment to life-affirming fertility care is grounded in the following principles of Catholic bioethics:

  • We recognize the inherent dignity of every human person, from conception to natural death.
  • We believe in respect for all human life and the importance of informed decision-making.
  • We believe in the pursuit of the common good.
  • We believe all fertility treatments must uphold the sanctity of life and respect the natural order of human reproduction.

Why Choose Life-Affirming Fertility Care?

Unlike artificial reproductive technologies which involve the creation and destruction of embryos, life-affirming fertility care, including methods like NaProTECHNOLOGY (Natural Procreative Technology) treatments, works with the natural physiology of the female and male reproductive systems to identify and address underlying causes of infertility.

Some of the benefits of life-affirming care include:

1. Individualizing Care: Life-affirming fertility care offers personalized, holistic care that addresses the unique needs and circumstances of each couple, accounting for factors such as hormonal imbalances, nutrient deficiencies, menstrual irregularities, and other underlying issues.

2. Safe Approach: Life-affirming fertility care minimizes the risks associated with conventional methods of addressing infertility, prioritizing the health and well-being of both women and future children.

3. Respect for Natural Law: Life-affirming fertility care respects the natural order of human reproduction, working in harmony with the body’s natural processes rather than circumventing them. Unlike some artificial reproductive technology procedures that may involve moral compromises, life-affirming fertility care offers ethical alternatives for achieving pregnancy, such as supportive hormonal therapy, cycle monitoring, and/or targeted surgical interventions addressing the underlying cause.

4. Long-Term Health Benefits: By addressing underlying health issues, life-affirming care not only facilitates pregnancy, but also promotes overall health and well-being for both women and men, laying the foundation for healthy families.

Solidarity’s Commitment to Life-Affirming Fertility Healthcare

At Solidarity HealthShare, we’re proud to share life-affirming fertility healthcare and direct members to physicians providing this care across the country. By embracing life-affirming care and supporting doctors who practice it, we can create a more compassionate society where every human person is valued and respected from conception to natural death.

Dr. John C. Oertle – Chief Medical Officer of Solidarity HealthShare
  1. Premature birth for Artificial Reproductive Technology babies is 4.73%, while naturally conceived is 1.81%. ↩︎
  2. “Overall, IVF infants’ odds of having birth defects were 1.25 times greater than those of naturally conceived infants with similar maternal characteristics.” ↩︎
  3. “Children born via IVF had a 67 percent increased risk of leukemia and a more than tripled risk of Hodgkin’s lymphoma compared to children conceived naturally.” ↩︎
  4. Ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome affects 3% to 6% of women who go through in vitro fertilization (IVF). ↩︎