IVF regrets: one mother’s story
Today I have the distinct privilege of bringing a unique voice to the discussion about in vitro fertilization (IVF). Katy* is a wife, mother, Catholic, and a regular blog reader who emailed me a few months ago with a story to share. As I read the email, I was humbled and rocked to the core that she would entrust me with a part of her story, and I knew immediately that it deserved a wider audience. She was gracious – and brave – enough to agree to share it with you here today.
I am requiring that all comments and discussion on this piece, both here in the combox and on social media, be of the highest caliber of respect and civility. This is an emotionally fraught topic, and this is a charged political and moral landscape we are navigating. And … this is a real family’s journey, and a real woman’s story. She deserves our attention and our respect. To that end, I will be moderating.
Now I’d like to invite Katy to tell you her story, in her own words:
“Hello, my name is guilty”
I truly wish I had read your posts about IVF four years ago.
For a few months now, I’ve been reading/following/loving your blog.
I feel compelled to share my story, because even though you don’t know me, I feel that certain kinship that can only come from reading someone else’s blog and becoming somewhat acquainted with their life. So here it goes.
I was raised Catholic and my family is devout, but not in a forceful way, so I never even got to go through the typical teenage rebellion. Religion was always just part of who we were, and I was glad to carry on the Catholic tradition in adulthood.
I had a boyfriend whose family was VERY religious to the point of homeschooling and rejecting the Novus Ordo mass entirely, nightly rosaries, etc. That time of my life helped my faith develop, but then after we broke up and I met my now-husband, a mostly disinterested Methodist, I drifted into a much less strict version of practicing Catholic. I still attended church, but I wasn’t involved.
Fast forward to finding out we were infertile. Of course, I knew the Church’s stance on IVF, but I chose to willfully ignore it.
A control freak at heart, I refused to believe that God had my best interest in mind.
I have felt called to motherhood since I was a little girl and I absolutely could not fathom a world in which I was not a mother.
I didn’t want to wait. I didn’t want to have faith. I wanted my way, and I wanted it then, because I was 27 years old and my biological clock was ticking so loudly it kept me up nights.
Only now do I see how ridiculous I was being.
Thanks to the severity of our infertility issues, we were giving a 1% chance of conceiving naturally (who comes up with those stats, anyway?) and were advised against wasting time and money on IUI. The doctor recommended that we immediately pursue IVF.
Now, I did sort of try to be sensible…you know, to “sin a little less.” I inquired about only fertilizing a small number of embryos so that there wouldn’t be “leftovers.” The doctor thought I was crazy, just another wacko religious person, but she agreed to work with me. Then the estimated cost made it so the whole thing had to be put on hold anyway.
A few years later I stumbled upon a clinical trial which provided IVF to participants for free. The big catch: you had to play by their rules, so no requesting a limited number of embryos be created. Blinded by my manic need to become a mother, I signed my name on the dotted line and entered the study.
I felt both elated and guilty.
It’s a guilt I’m still lugging around today.
As part of the study, we ended up with 8 embryos. I did one round of IVF and transferred two embryos. I was pregnant with twins for 8 amazing weeks before my first miscarriage. The second embryo transfer (2 embryos again) resulted in another pregnancy, but a single that time. I miscarried at 7 weeks. Of course I felt like I was being punished. I know it doesn’t work like that, but still, that’s how it felt.
I waited two months and then did a third embryo transfer with a single embryo. After the two miscarriages I was kicked out of the clinical trial and no longer forced to abide by the study protocol of transferring two at a time (a note for your article: most fertility doctors refuse to do more than two, and my current doctor along with many others strongly advises against more than one. The cases you hear like Octomom are thankfully not the norm. And those doctors usually have their medical licenses revoked. What they’re doing is still not OK… but it’s not like they’re all just throwing in ten embryos at once and then resorting to selective reduction, at least not usually).
I once again become pregnant. That one stuck. My beautiful daughter was born in June of 2014.
Motherhood has been everything I dreamed it would be. My daughter brought so much light, love, and happiness to this world that it’s impossible to put into words. Family members fight over who gets to babysit her. She is so smart, so kind, so good.
She is by far the best thing that ever happened to me, and it absolutely kills me that she was conceived in sin.
I struggle with this every day. The line I read equating the children of IVF to victims, like children of rape? Oh, that one stung, but it was so necessary. You’re right, of course, but the truth hurts. (She is referring to an older piece of mine where I was emphasizing that the dignity of the human person is immutable, that no matter the circumstances of one’s conception, the child is only and always the innocent victim.)
I’m sure you already know about God’s fantastic sense of humor, right? Right. So I had 3 embryos left after my daughter was born (3 miscarried, 1 never took, and she was the 5th one).
I knew I would need to have them all because despite my egregious disregard of Church law in doing IVF at all, I still fervently believe that life begins at conception and that those three little souls would absolutely not be destroyed or donated to science.
But then when my daughter was 8 months old, a surprise happened – a spontaneous unplanned pregnancy. That 1% chance of conceiving the doctors gave us? Yeah. About that…
My son joined our family 17 months after his sister. Sometimes the craziest things are true.
Now I am pregnant once again, but this time with the 6th embryo, while the other two wait in storage until we’re ready for another go-round.
No one will be left behind in the freezer, but I admit it’s so hard.
There are the storage fees, the constant worry… how will we be able to afford another round of IVF? (I had insurance coverage for a brief shining moment, which I used to get pregnant with this one, but now I’ve lost my job and that insurance lapses in February). How will we afford five kids? Am I getting too old? (I’m 32 now). Can I even have that many c-sections? (Both my kids were emergency c-sections, and this one will be scheduled).
I wish I had never done IVF.
I wish it so badly. When my faith was tested, I failed, and yet I was still given the most beautiful and miraculous gift that I surely don’t deserve.
I used to keep a diary but I don’t anymore, which is why I’m pouring this all out on you. I do have a blog, but since my readership is mostly fellow IVF veterans, they’re all left-leaning and would never understand my regret.
I’m terrified to write about any of this publically.
I don’t regret my daughter for a second, but I do regret the methods.
I wish I had known.
I wish I could rewind and redo all of this knowing what I know now.
I just hope that you’ll pray for me. It’s very early in this third pregnancy and I’m so nervous (especially with my history), plus I’m constantly worrying about how we will survive the future we’ve created for ourselves.
I am trying so hard to put my faith in God but like I said…I’m a control freak! It’s so hard to let go. I always feel like I’m the one who needs to keep this ship sailing.
Also, if you have any excellent reading or resources for “Woman who Regrets Doing IVF But is Also Joyous to Have Become a Mother”… please send it my way.
What a courageous woman to share this story. God works through all things–sin and suffering included–and his goodness never ceases. My prayer is that she can continue to lean on Him….clearly the Holy Spirit is hard at work in her heart and life, and that is so beautiful. May God Bless this pregnancy!
God bless you. I will keep your family in my prayers. Also, If I may add, you’re not too old at 32. I gave birth to my son at 40 and adopted my daughter at 48. They have kept me from becoming old in my thinking. You will be a wonderful mother no matter what your age.
I have to agree. I had the first of my seven children (five biological and two adopted plus three in heaven) at age 32. Don’t worry about age. At.all.
Gods mercy knows no bounds. Anytime we seek the higher- good, outside of the Lord’s will, we are in a state of sin. Thanks be to Christ, our redeemer, for the sacrifice that changes everything. May all of our lives be fruitful to declare Gods to everyone.
Love, hugs and prayers to you, Katy. Thank you for sharing your story! And congratulations on your wonderful growing family!
This brought tears to my eyes. When I converted to Catholicism I already had two children. My husband had his vasectomy reversed and we struggled with secondary infertility. We saw 2 fertility specialists and I still remember the blatant disregard one of them had for my religious beliefs. The other Dr was very respectful and encouraged us to keep trying on our own…
We have concieved 5 more naturally since that time of infertility. Two in heaven, two here with us now, and one in my tummy (at age 45!!). I still remember that feeling that I might never have another… I walked away from treatments with two children on earth, not sure what I would have done if I wasn’t already a mom (like you it has always been my deepest desire).
I regret all the years we contracepted before I converted. I often think about all the children that are missing from our family. I just try to remember I was doing the best I knew how at the time…
I’m glad she wrote this it’s a good thing to help other women to know the truth. If she went to confession she’s forgiven and we do penance and I would say this is one of it penance. The answer to the C-sections my friend had 10 and always trusted in the Lord no matter what the outcome would be life or death she was with God and trust him.sinners have past and Saints have the future. I’m not her judge neither is anyone else confession is it. I bless her and her family and she will be in our prayers. God has already forgiven her she must forgive herself because she’s not greater than God. God’s mercy! Greater the sinner greater the right to God’s mercy
What an honest, hard story. God bless you.
Katy, I will be praying for you.
What an amazing and beautiful story. (first you are not “too” old to have them all) (I say this as 42 and pregnant with number 7). I’m sitting here crying over your story. Only because as a Catholic that drifted and found my way back AFTER kids.. I could totally have been where you are. HUGS and love to you and your family.
Thank you for sharing such a deeply personal part of your story, Katy. I will be keeping your family in my prayers!
This is such a conundrum to be in: realizing the moral and ethical questions and issues raised by IVF, but still having the two embryos left. I know there’s not a defined course of action the Church prescribes in such a case, because as far as I’ve read, there’s just not a definite thing you should do.
For anyone struggling with how we can approach such conversations, does anyone have resources you could share? I want to be sensitive how I say this: Knowing the issues surrounding IVF, I don’t think I ever would recommend to my loved ones to go ahead with all remaining embryos if they’re having regrets and feeling guilty. I don’t say that to make anyone in that situation feel worse. But it’s an ethical question Katy so poignantly illustrated. Are there any resources on the topic?
Thanks for hosting the discussion, Jenny!
What an incredible testimony to share. Thank you for being so brave. You and your family will be in my prayers!
Our God is Love and Mercy, and Understands you, your past, your regrets, and your future.
Hugs and Prayers for you and your family.
You. Da. Bomb. Thanks for sharing so much of yourself with all of us.
I hope that in time you’ll be able to let go of the feelings of guilt that you’re carrying. As far as your daughter being conceived in sin, so are countless other children who are conceived out of wedlock and in other sinful situations. You’re obviously repentant, and assuming you’ve been to Confession, you’ve been forgiven for the circumstances of her conception. And as you know, her life is just as valuable as it would be if she had been conceived under different circumstances. Furthermore, you deserve a lot of credit for ensuring that none of your embryos are destroyed and that they’re all given a chance of life. We’ve all done things in our lives that we regret. You are brave enough to admit your mistake and to do whatever it takes to make it right, and that counts for a lot.
It takes tremendous courage to share this. Thank you, Katy, for your courage. God can bring such beautiful good from your story – good to you and your family and good to others. Keep being courageous. Praying for you.
I can’t imagine the pain of infertility. I pray you can learn to give yourself the grace God is surely giving you. You will be in my prayers.
I will pray for you Katy. Thank you for sharing your story and helping us all understand a little more. We are all sinners and yet God wants us all. I can’t help but feel that He is loving you a little harder and stronger now because you are seeking Him too!
Katy, you’re one brave lady. Tell the Lord you’re so confident in his goodness and mercy that he can bring greater good out of this situation than if it had never happened. And he will be glad for your trust and he will bring a greater good. (I think this is a prayer from St Faustina.) I too have a child who was conceived in a less than ideal manner (out of wedlock). She’s now 18 and I can testify that God had indeed brought greater good out of my sin.
God’s grace is infinite. His love for you is infinite. We cannot begin to truly comprehend or appreciate His mercy. I pray that His light glows more strongly within you as time goes on. May you and your sweet babes be blessed beyond measure.
Katy, as I mother myself who has cried over my babies (trying to get pregnant, losing 2 in the second trimester, surprise pregnancies) your anguish is close to my heart. God knows your struggle. And yet even He can bring good out of this situation. Prayers continue for your family as you navigate the road ahead.
This is such an important story, and many thanks to Katy for sharing! Please know that there’s help out there if you need to figure out the best course of action going forward. The National Catholic Bioethics Center is a phenomenal resource (I’ve got personal experience consulting with them), and you should feel free to contact them to explain your predicament and how best to handle it. Their website is http://www.ncbcenter.org
I am so glad someone mentioned NCBC. Last I researched this, Fr Tad Pazholcek (sp) would say that the frozen babies are unfortunately sort of in limbo. It is not necessarily any better to implant them as it is to leave them, because you have to offend the marriage act (sin/ do another wrong) to implant them. We leave them to God’s mercy. But I know a mother’s heart may feel differently.
The marital act was already offended when the embryo was conceived, outside the womb and apart from the marital act. There is currently no official church teaching on what to do with the “leftover embryos”. Until there is an official teaching, Catholics are free to follow their own conscience when it comes to transferring embryos which were conceived in the early stages of IVF, and even adopting other people’s “leftover embryos”. At least transferring them gives them a chance to either live or to die, rather than being in limbo indefinitely.
Yes, you are right that there is no official church stance. However, NCBC is often looked to for gold standard advice by the pro life secretariat. I appreciate your points and I see your charitable motivation for implanting the embryos. One can argue that this is a good end that would be achieved by an immoral means. As Catholics we take seriously that the end can never justify the means. Not only is the marriage act offended by sperm collection and the creation of the baby, but also of it unnaturally being implanted in the womb versus being placed there by the husband and God. These are muddy waters and this is why the church has not taken a stance. Same thing with snowflake adoption. Obviously there are additional reasons not to encourage that, such as perpetuating the entire IVF industry. In the end, you are right. It is left up to each person’s conscience. In all humility, I do not claim to know which is best… especially when the Church herself cannot make a claim. I just wanted to the raise the point when I saw the quote about no one will be left in the freezer.
I was not trying to say that the end justifies the means. I realize that IVF is sinful on many levels. Katy has confessed her sin and received absolution, and if she were to have her embryos transferred at this point (I say transferred, because whether or not they implant is beyond the control of the IVF doctor) she would not be incurring a new sin. Obviously, during the marital act, one action on the part of the couple results in conception as well as “placing the embryo in the womb”. IVF separates this into two steps (conception and then transfer at a later date), but that doesn’t mean it divides it into two sins. Her sin occurred at the time of conception when she elected to start the IVF process. She has repented from this sin and now wants to prevent a greater evil, which we as Catholics are allowed to do when there is no official Church teaching. That is why the Church is opposed to the destruction of embryos or their use for scientific research, stem cell research, etc. Because destroying them or using them for research takes away their chance of life. Once an embryo has been conceived, it is a human being who deserves to live, and the only way it can live is by an embyro transfer. Which is not to say that Katy would necessarily be committing an additional sin if she declined to have them transferred, but she certainly isn’t sinning by proceeding with the transfer. (I’m not saying that you accused her of sinning, but it could be interpreted that way by viewing the two-step process of the conception plus the transfer as two separate sins.)
Well, the reality is that it is a two-step process. So the question remains now that there is an awareness that IVF is wrong, should it be continued with? I agree that you can make a case for either way and Katy and her husband need to follow their consciences. of course, the church does not promote the destruction of embryos. But it is not encouraging everyone to run out and adopt an embryo either. Our society has created a true moral dilemma.
Definitely, it’s a tangled web we weave when we try to play God. I struggled with infertility and miscarriages for many years and did not do IVF or embryo adoption. We went with traditional adoption. But I am grateful to people who feel called to adopt the unwanted embryos. I applaud Katie for having the humility to admit that what she did was wrong, and for her desire to do what she can to bring good out of what started out as a sin. Honestly, when I was trying to conceive, there was not much support within the Church for couples struggling with infertility, certainly not enough to counteract the IVF culture that is so predominant. Maybe if that changes, IVF will become less common among Catholics.
Claire, I’m so sorry you have struggled with the cross of infertility and I’m so glad you have been able to adopt. I am grateful for our dialogue and I pray for God’s abundant blessings on your family! Peace! 💗
Thank you Adrienne! I appreciate your prayers. Yes, the infertility/miscarriages have been a heavy cross to carry, but I wouldn’t trade this cross because without it I would not have adopted my son. God definitely knows how to plan a family better than I do!
Katy I too felt/feel terrible guilt but for having had a tubal ligation. The first one was after my 5th was born, I had Byers Clips put in. I knew the Churches teaching but I was feeling pressure from family especially my mother to stop having children. I cried a lot afterwards. Financially we were really struggling & it was the 80’s & everyone was very anti-children pro-feminist. Well 5 months later the clip came off & i was pregnant with #6. This time i was angry! Angry at God angry at my husband at myself at our new baby! I had a complete tubal ligation after he was born. As the years have passed I felt guilty & made a good confession but as i have become more aware of the real teachings of our Beautiful Church the guilt returns and so do the tears. I know i have been forgiven but i always wonder about the children i could have had and what blessings they could have brought us. But I know God is good & I pray that someday you will feel His forgiveness in your heart. God Bless.
God has and will continue to bless you. And he has forgiven you. The difficult road now is to forgive yourself and accept that the God of second chances has given you just that.
My prayers are with you and your family. Xxx
Katy, you have a powerful story! Thank you for sharing. It sounds like you and He are in the beginning of a beautiful conversation. God is here!
Peace be with you.
Katy, thank you for sharing your story. I, too, tried to conceive through IVF. After 3 rounds we only made 1 embryo which did not result in a pregnancy. I carried that guilt with me for years. When I finally went to confession, the priest told me that it was not a sin because we were trying to bring a new life into the world. God blessed us with a newborn son through the miracle of adoption years later.
Have you considered embryo adoption? There are couples who cannot create an embryo but the mother is able to carry a child. You may be the answer to someone’s prayers. Whatever you decide, be kind to yourself and know that God loves you.
Jackie, thank you for your honestly and your words of mercy, and I praise God for the gift of your son. I would gently suggest to you that the priest who heard your confession was mistaken about the nature of IVF, however much God does forgive this – and all our sins – when we bring them to His mercy. IVF is a grave moral evil, no matter how great and how real the desire to become a mother is. But again, when brought to the light of the Sacrament, it is washed away just like all the rest of our sins. (embryo or “snowflake” adoption is a bit of of a gray area that is still being discussed and prayed over and has not received any kind of official green lighting from the Church. this is a good resource for reference: http://www.cuf.org/2012/01/frozen-embryo-adoption-has-rome-spoken/)
I wanted to point this out so that everyone else reading this thread does not come away with confusion about what the Church teaches in this area. I have heard from many couples who were counseled similarly in the confessional about early abortions via RU-486 being less serious because of the age of the baby, and of contraception being acceptable on a case by case basis.
It is the work of a lifetime that we as adult Christians form our consciences and conform our minds more deeply to Christ and His Church, and this includes our priests, who very much need our prayers.
Thank you for sharing this story! You’ve been to confesson; God has forgiven you! Keep praying for healing to be able to forgive yourself. You and your family will be in my prayers!
Very moved by this story, Katy! This is such a tough subject and I know many people who do IVF and speak lightly about the left over embryos. Your reverence for the life created and your commitment to care for those souls no matter the cost is amazing. I will pray for you as you continue on your journey. I just know God will bless your family.. He makes all things new!
I found that aspect of her testimony to be the most powerful – moved me to tears when I got her email. SHe’s an amazing woman on a hard and beautiful journey.
God bless you and give you peace.
Part of this story mirror images what my husband and I went through. We had our son in January of 2014. I grew up Roman catholic and he grew up in a very Religious Pentecostal Caribbean household.
I believe that God placed a strong maternal desire deep within my heart and soul from the time I was in elementary school. My husband and I met in September 1993.
We found out there was a fertility problem in 2004 a year after we got married. We were also given a 1% chance of ever naturally conceiving. The deception of our Faith at that time was a very intimate and personal journey.
During that time I was running to God as I used to have regular conversations with him as a child. At times feeling LOST only to be recently reminded by GOD “not all that wander are lost “. My husband stopped going to church all together as soon as he moved out of his parents house and in with me.
The regret that I have is that we didn’t have a God centered relationship. That opened up another Avenue for sin unfortunately. Living together before marriage and premateral relations is the 1st mistake we both made.
As I continued over the years to seek out God through the ups and downs he is truly refining this daughter of God from the inside out. My husband and I go to church every Sunday and serve in other ways as well.
Our present situation and the broken marriage we are currently in for unforeseen circumstances that have happened over the years I believe is a TEST from GOD. God can will meet us where we are. I’ve seen the works of his hands throughout my entire life. I’ve also seen how much the Devil wants to destroy anything good that GOD has already pre-destined.
When our son was conceived through IVF in 2014 there were 2 remaining Embryos that I currently want to carry 2019. I’m asking for prayers over the lives of these 2 fertilized embryos and believe Life Begins at Conception.
Somewhere along this journey God grabbed a hold of me and has never let me go since. Multiple near death experiences from childhood to adolescence and February of 2019 and almost loosing my husband to a pituitary tumor changes an individual’s perspective.
These embryos deserve a chance and as a mother of 1 son, It is truly an honor to be able to carry them. I put every area and aspect of my life into Gods hands. I believe and receive the miracles that he’s already blessed us with.
We will pray for your beautiful pregnancy and that God watches over you. Will you please pray that our October 1st, 2019 consult to discuss the lives of these embryos be placed in God’s hands. He has the final call as to what he wants to see happen to them. “I DON’T IN THE NAME OF JESUS WANT TO DISCARD THEM OR USE THEM FOR SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH”. I WANT THE RIGHT TO CARRY THEM.
Thank you so much for sharing your story. I wish you all the best and our prayers are with you and your family.
Lizzie (not my real name to protect clients)
Hugs to you, Katy! It is women like you that humble me. I was an NFP teacher for many years. Part of the process was getting an Intake form which contained very personal info. We needed this to better serve our clients. One woman didn’t want to fill out some of the info. I told her I wasn’t there to judge, but the info would help me better teach her, i.e. cryosurgery might affect quantity and quality of mucus; procedures that can damage or weaken the cervix, etc. This woman had had several abortions before she had a conversion and prior to being engaged to her fiance. I am reminded to not assume anything (as to why someone has no children, one, or many) nor judge others because we are all on a journey. And, don’t we have many saints who made grave mistakes? St. Augustine, St. Mary Magdalene, St. Peter? Jesus knows your heart. Peace to you and your beautiful family.
Thanks for sharing your journey with us. I knew the Church teaches against IVF but now I can see why. I think you are a loving,really brave and conscientious person who loves God and cares about how God feels. That in itself is a splendid gift. However I feel concerned that you are living with so much guilt that you introduce yourself as ‘guilty’. That’s really sad. By doing so you are disregarding God’s mercy and carrying a burden He died for so you could be free. In this case you make His death pointless for you…imagine that! Guilt is good and necessary when it makes us grieve for our sins, repent and ask God for forgiveness. Once we do this through confession He restores our broken relationship. Other than that guilt is destructive and becomes a barrier to experiencing God and recieving from God. This is because we cannot go boldly into His presence as it says in Hebrews 4:16…
In the Gospel Lk 7:36-50 we see a woman who had been living a sinful life go to Jesus and cry at His feet His response to Simon His host was her sins which are many are forgiven because she has loved much..
Again in Jn 8:1-11 For the woman caught in the very act of adultery He says I do not condemn you either go but sin no more… See how He handles them and know that thats the same standard for you as well. He forgave you when you asked Him to but you did not forgive yourself. You say you love your daughter but a part of you feels she is a consequence of your sin but we were all brought forth in sin…Ps 51:5 Behold I was brought forth in iniquity and in sin did my mother concieve me…. Be kind to yourself. you may have made a wrong choice but God works all things (good and bad) for our good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose..Rms 8:28. sometimes God allows us to go through some experiences so that we can help others in similar situations. My prayer is that you will loose the gulit and begin to live your life in full as the Lord wants you… That next time you’ll introduce youself as ‘beloved’ ‘joyful’ or ‘blessed’ or ‘accepted’ but never again as ‘guilty’ and may you carry your pregnancy to term and have a safe delivery and may you always see the children as great blessings and a sign of God’s love and concern for you and your family’s wellbeing. Blessings.
This is good. A solid reminder for all of us carrying guilt or shame. Thank you.
Thanks Jenny and Katy for sharing this story, and especially to you Katy for sharing your vulnerability with a story in sure many women can relate to but aren’t able to share. You are in my prayers.
Katy, thank you for sharing this. I will pray for you as you continue on this difficult journey. Being in the midst of infertility myself now, I know the terrible, physical ache for children that you experienced. There are days when I feel like I would do anything to relieve the pain, and I know quite well how willing doctors are to move you right along to IUI and to IVF soon thereafter.
By the grace of God (truly, I know we could not do it ourselves) we have avoided and will continue to avoid using ART, but who knows if that would have been the case had we married younger or at a point where our consciences were less well-formed on this matter. Jenny, I know Infertility Awareness Week is coming up in April (which can be more like IVF advertising week, really) and it would be great to read more from you on this topic!
Bless you, Katy. There are so many of us who have sinned when it comes to our fertility and sexuality. Thank God for his great mercy and the gift of confession. Be free. By sharing your story, you may be preventing others from making the same mistakes and there is some good that can come of it, not to mention the gift of life in your daughter. I have a nephew who was conceived out of wedlock, and he is a great gift, even if he was “conceived in sin.” Every life is a gift. I can understand the great temptation to do things your own way. After years of contraception and promiscuity, I’m now a Catholic, married, and learned about NFP. We had our first pregnancy (and miscarriage) recently. I completely know how tempting it must be for some/must have been for you to take matters in your own hands and reject the Church’s teachings because they are so hard, but for our good. Even in the medical world of conception, there is such an anti-life perspective. You are going against the tide. Thank God you have seen the light now. Your story will reach others, and you are not alone in having regrets about your past. God love you.
First of all, you are not too old! I had baby number #5 at 44. Secondly, yes you can have 5 c-sections. My first was an emergency and my other 4 were scheduled. Third, I’ve had 6 miscarriages and I know your pain of early losses. Finally, I was a wayward Catholic for many, many years. I recently returned to the Church after having our 4th child. Once I returned I realized that I have so much to learn. I have so many regrets about my past too. I have learned to place my trust in God and his mercy. I pray you will too.
I’m so sorry for the pain you feel Katy, my heart goes out to you. I have a dear friend (not Catholic) who is pursuing IVF right now, I can visibly see the pain she is going through. The infertility pain that she has struggled with for years remains, but there is a new pain now. The pain that comes with feeling lost and I know that she is so struggling with rationalization, but I can see the guilt seeping in. So thank you so much for sharing your story, I think it has helped me appreciate her situation a bit more. I will keep you both in my prayers. And congratulations on your new pregnancy, you are putting your trust in God and He always provides!
God, in his infinite wisdom, is using this to bring you closer to Him. Lean on Him and His infinite mercy. May He bless you family and give you peace about this.
Wow, Katy, what an amazing witness. Thank you for having the courage to write this!
Also, I read a similar article maybe two months or so ago on Verily- a mom of twins who regrets using IVF. You should check it out!
Here’s the link(I think):
This was a great article. My question is, if we have a close friend or family member who is looking into IVF, how do we approach them about this? How do we charitably tell them these hard truths or lovingly recommend NaPro technology?
Thank you for sharing this, Katie. God bless you abundantly. We’ll be asking St. Raymond Nonnatus’ intercession for your baby delivery. Hugs!
You can’t un-ring that bell, so put down that guilt burden and go to Confession ASAP. You’ll feel so much better, because your good ol’ Catholic guilt will continue to eat you up until you do. It’s already taking something away from your total enjoyment of your precious daughter. God always forgives – Always!
Joanne – I edited the original post to reflect this, but in case anyone missed reading it, she has been to confession 🙂
Thank you so much for your courage and willingness to share. God bless you Katy; our family will pray for your pregnancy.
Jenny–thanks for posting such a great story (and thanks to Katy for being brave enough to write), and thanks for moderating the comments, especially clarifying when necessary about the Church’s teachings. In reading the comments, I wish we as women and mothers (I’m expecting our first) would always support each other in such a beautiful way, instead of judging. But along with that needs to be a mutual striving for holiness and willingness to accept fraternal correction, and I think your blog allows for that so beautifully. Thank you!
THANK you for posting this, Jenny, and to the mother and author of this guest post, you do not have anyone’s judgment, only our thoughts. Best wishes on your current pregnancy.
Thank you very much for sharing your story – it is remarkably similar to mine – aside from me being a bloke, and from the Southern Hemisphere (assuming you are in the North)! Ironically I read your story while a tv program regarding IFV successes in the U.K. happened to be on in the background.
My wife and I have two beautiful boys by ICSI at a time when I “chose” to be ignorant of my faith (there’s another story there). My wife is Anglican. As I rediscover this wonderful faith we all believe in, I to grapple with how I reconcile that with my, quite clear sin. Our priest senses this internal conflict – pretty obvious when you withdraw from the sacrament of the Eucharist while bringing the boys forward for a blessing.
For me, I pray – daily, that a) I find the fortitude to drag my arse to reconciliation, b) our Redeeemer shows mercy on my boys and c) some of that mercy might extend to me – in that order. Should I suffer so that my boys don’t then I will suffer that burden well.