When a couple makes the decision to proceed with in-vitro fertilization (IVF) they are bound to be on the receiving end of critical, judgmental statements made about their decision, especially if the couple is associated with any religious affiliation.
I am going to write from a Christian’s point of view on this matter, because I am a Christian.
People who tend to be quick to judge in this matter do not take into consideration that when a Christian couple makes the decision to proceed with IVF, typically, it is a decision that is made with much prayer and seeking God’s guidance in the matter. The decision to do IVF is not made flippantly. Our decision was certainly not made flippantly.
I also believe that people who are quick to judge are most likely people who have never walked down the road of infertility. People may think they know how they would walk a certain road if ever they had to walk it, but the truth is, until they have actually walked the road, there is no way possible for them to know what decisions they would be forced to make along the way and what choices will be made.
As I wrote in a recent post, the general public, being that they are fertile (because infertility only strikes 1 out of 6 couples in the USA) do not have a clear definition and picture of what infertility really means. This is understandably so! Why would a couple who decides, “It’s time to make a baby!” and then several months later is pregnant need to know about infertility, IVF and all the other lovely things that come with it? They don’t!
What most people do not realize is that infertility is a disease. Heart disease is a rampant disease here in America. Infertility is just as much a disease that negatively affects the reproductive system like heart disease negatively affects the circulatory system.
Quick frankly, I did not even fully realize that infertility is a disease until my surgery in November and I had been walking the road of infertility for over a year! It wasn’t until I had the surgery and Stage 2 endometriosis was found that it really hit me that I have a disease and because of this disease, I may never get pregnant and give birth to a biological child.
That is a hard reality to swallow – especially for someone who has dreamed, since childhood, of being pregnant and having a baby!
I am an infertile but I am first and foremost a Christian. Long before I realized I had a disease called endometriosis, I realized that the heartache and pain I was experiencing by going through infertility was not a curse in any way but was (and is) God’s way of allowing His glory, His power and His strength to shine through me as I walked this very dark road. It was when I realized this truth, shortly after starting my infertility journey, that I chose God.
I did not choose bitterness, anger, jealously, rage and hurt, although all of those emotions have certainly played a role at some point during this journey.
Infertility has a way of knocking you down flat on your face, month after month after month. However, I am a Christian, and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt what was (and is) available to me …
God’s love, God’s peace, God’s joy, God’s strength, God’s power. I knew all of that, and more, was available to me if I chose to give up my own will and surrender to God’s will.
Giving up my will for God’s will also requires something else. It requires seeking God’s guidance and direction for every decision that must be made. This is why a close walk with God is so important! Knowing God’s will and seeking His guidance takes close, daily fellowship with Him. It also takes prayer. A lot of prayer. Talking to God and, most importantly, listening to God. And then following God’s leading – no matter where He leads you to go.
It sounds cliché but to say God lead us to IVF is the absolute truth! Which is why I also believe two dedicated Christians seeking God’s will, can come to two different conclusions when deciding to do IVF or to not do IVF.
God’s plan and purpose behind my infertility journey is not the same exact plan and purpose behind another couple’s infertility journey.
Dave and I know a couple who contemplated doing IVF. After much prayer, consideration and even an offer from a parent to pay for the complete procedure, the couple decided God was not leading them in the direction of IVF. They were obedient to the calling of God in their lives and did not do IVF. It wasn’t long and God blessed them with three pregnancies that were completely a surprise!
Now, the argument here could be that God blessed them with children because they chose not to do IVF. I do not believe that is what happened at all. I believe God blessed them because they were obedient to God’s will for their lives. God’s plan all along was to give them children in the way He did and the way he chose to give them children was not through IVF. Had they gone through IVF, they would have missed out on the miracle God desired to perform in them through surrendered, obedient hearts seeking to know, and follow, God’s perfect will.
Remember the story of one of my readers named Jess? She and her husband sought God’s will in deciding whether they should do infertility treatments or not. They believed God was telling them to not do anything and later they learned why. God’s plan all along had been to bring them four children through adoption! After the adoption of their four children, God gave them an unexpected surprise – a biological child. Once again, Jess and her husband were obedient to God and His time clock. Had they done their own will, who knows where four of their children would be today!
A woman and her husband in my church struggled with infertility for a decade. In speaking with her I learned that God began working in their hearts and they knew God was leading them to do IVF. They are now the parents of a beautiful IVF miracle baby!
Eighteen months into my infertility journey, I still do not have the complete picture to be able to know God’s plan and purpose for placing me on this road. But this I have learned in these past 18 months:
Anyone who makes a judgmental statement towards a dedicated Christian couple and their decision to proceed with IVF after seeking God in the matter, is to essentially judge their personal relationship with God. The Bible clearly states that it is only God who can clearly see into the heart of a man and his motivations.
God has plans for us that far exceed anything we can ever plan for ourselves. If we are to discover these marvelous plans that God has mapped out for our individual lives before we even live one day on this earth, it is going to take having a close, personal relationship with Jesus, a surrender of our wills for God’s perfect will, and an obedient heart that follows the lead of God.
That leaves no room for judgmental statements.