This is a command that most married couples wish to fulfill. For the majority, procreation happens with relative ease. Some fall pregnant easily, others take a little time, but find that pregnancy is achieved naturally within a few months. However, there is an ever widening group for whom infertility is a very real issue which causes much heartache.
Recently we learned of a new fertility product called “Duo Fertility”. Developed by Cambridge Temperature Concepts in the UK, the device takes a woman’s basal body temperature up to 20,000 times in a 24 hour period in order to detect when ovulation is most likely to occur. Additional personal information is also collected and everything is entered onto a database. Couples are given a fertility analysis which gives the most accurate predictions.
This is a great device for couples who wish to optimise their chances of conceiving, and certainly fits into Catholic morality. It is a more sophisticated device than the ovulation test kits that are available in the pharmacies. Devices like these give couples struggling to conceive extra knowledge about their fertility, and would be particularly useful when used in conjunction with a system of Natural Fertility Regulation, such as the Billings Ovulation Method.
Christian couples who wish to remain faithful to God’s plan for human sexuality, marriage and procreation need to be aware that the makers of “Duo Fertility” are not against IVF treatments. Cambridge Temperature Concepts states in their on-line literature:
“It should be noted that there are a number of conditions with which DuoFertility cannot be expected to assist and where IVF is an entirely appropriate treatment with significant success.”
This statement does not pose a moral problem for those using the “Duo Fertility” device itself. However users should be aware that advice may be given to look further into IVF treatments if they are not successful in conceiving while using this device. That is a position that Family Life International cannot endorse.
We would prefer to promote an alternative technology that embraces Catholic moral teaching about procreation and marriage from the outset. NaProTechnology (Natural Procreative Technology) is a very real alternative to IVF and is extremely useful for couples experiencing difficulties in conceiving.
NaProTechnology was developed in the US by Dr Thomas Hilgers of the Pope Paul VI Institute. While not yet available in New Zealand, it is available in numerous cities in Australia. It would be wonderful to be able to offer this service to New Zealanders.
NaProTechnology takes the following approach to the infertile couple:
- Assesses the underlying causes of the reproductive abnormality.
- Allows for the treatment of underlying causes.
- Assists the couple in achieving pregnancy while maintaing the natural acts of procreation.
- Research into unknown causes is undertaken if the treatment plan is unsuccessful.
- Family building through adoption is supported if the medical programme has been unsuccessful.
For Catholic couples, NaProTechnology is an acceptable alternative to IVF treatment as it fully embraces the Catholic understanding of human sexuality, marriage and procreation.
We would encourage couples having difficulty in conceiving to approach a good doctor who understands the ethics involved in fertility treatments, and who will respect their wishes to remain faithful to God’s plan for marriage.
Our website has more information regarding the morality of infertility treatments.