"I want to have children with you."
So much meaning is packed into these words, when a man or woman says them to a spouse. This openness to new life, this willingness to beget and raise children together, is essential to married love.
It is sad, then, that so many couples hoping to have children find it difficult to do so. It is estimated today that one out of six couples will experience infertility. The suffering of unanticipated childlessness is real. Catholic couples may feel this pain even more deeply as they hear the Church praise family life and teach that children are "the supreme gift of marriage."
In an age of advances in reproductive medicine, many solutions are offered to couples going through this distress. Some solutions offer real hope for restoring a couple’s natural, healthy ability to have children. Others pose serious moral problems by failing to respect the dignity of the couple’s marital relationship, of their sexuality, or of the child.
The Church has compassion for couples suffering from infertility and wants to be of real help to them. At the same time, some "reproductive technologies" are not morally legitimate ways to solve those problems.
—From the USCCB publication Life-giving Love, in an Age of Technology
Natural Family Planning offers many couples struggling with fertility a chance to finally conceive a child. All NFP methodologies have reported substantial success – as high as 40% of all couples were able to conceive within six months of beginning to use NFP for that purpose.
For those with more serious difficulties, there is a new technology recently developed at Creighton University in Omaha called Natural Procreative Technology (or NaProTech). They report success rates of up to 80%!
Unfortunately, this new technology is still not widely known within the medical community. Fortunately, the Archdiocese of San Francisco is blessed with 3 Creighton model teachers, and a local (El Sobrante) MD who is trained as a Fertility Care Specialist. All of them can be found on the list of NFP teachers, or you can contact the Archdiocese of San Francisco (Ed Hopfner) at (415) 614-5547 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some couples, in this age of technology, have turned to In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) to help conceive a child. While the Church sympathizes with their very real desire for children, there are many problems with IVF that are not well publicized, and in any case she cannot condone a method of creating new life that is separate from the loving union of the parents. For more information on IVF go here.
Click here to read the Bishop's document Life-Giving Love in an Age of Technology.