By JOEY MARTINECK, Commentary | Published April 25, 2019
When Jeanine got married, she had high hopes of being a mother. She and her husband dreamed of being able to hold a newborn of their own.
The doctor called it “bad luck” when Jeanine had her first miscarriage. After recovering from the heartache, a second miscarriage followed. Then a third. Why was this happening? The doctor had no answers and Jeanine was left feeling devastated.
Her story was chronicled in “The NaProTechnology Revolution,” by Thomas W. Hilgers.
The experience of infertility as well as miscarriage is a heartrending reality for many couples. As Mother’s Day approaches, many women like Jeanine are reminded of their unfulfilled desire to have a family. Though our culture sometimes treats fertility like a disease, the truth is that infertility is the real disease—or rather, it is a symptom of an underlying health issue that needs attention.
While seeking to correct infertility is a praiseworthy endeavor, not every solution is ethical. Often couples who experience infertility are directed to clinics that propose treatments like in vitro fertilization (IVF). Here’s how it works: first, a bunch of human embryos are created in a petri dish from sperm and egg cells. Then, the most desirable embryos are put inside the mother’s womb in the hopes that implantation will occur with at least one. The remaining embryos (tiny human beings) are frozen or discarded.
IVF is immoral for many reasons, but ultimately because it separates the procreative act from the unitive act of conjugal love. Conjugal love is by nature inseparably unitive and procreative, and the gift of a child is always meant to be the fruit of the faithful and permanent love between husband and wife. IVF is not in accord with the natural moral law and God’s plan for us.
A brief but important question: does that mean people who have been conceived via IVF are “bad?” Certainly not. God, who is capable of bringing good out of evil, has willed them into existence and has given them the capacity to become children of God (see John 1:12).
Fortunately, there are ethical and highly effective treatments for infertility, some in particular known as NaProTechnology. While treatments like IVF may sometimes yield a pregnancy without ever identifying the root cause, NaProTechnology provides solutions that directly address the underlying reasons for infertility. It does not give a “cookie cutter” treatment; NaPro relies on the data from a woman’s ovulation cycle (charting) to expose what is happening with her body. Thus, the solutions it proposes are specific to a particular woman’s needs. Additionally, NaPro can address many gynecological conditions that women begin experiencing in teenage years (cramping, irregular cycles) when common treatments merely focus on suppression of symptoms via the birth control pill. When a woman actually knows her body, often she can spot signs of infertility long before she is trying to conceive and get the care she needs ahead of time.
Locally, Dr. Nicholas Kongoasa leads a practice in Atlanta known as RHM, Reproductive Health Medicine & Gynecology. A former patient, Alexandra T., testifies that “Dr. K has shown me that he is willing to think outside the box to find foundational answers to questions that had former doctors throw their hands up in the air.”
I am personally excited to have this resource for infertility and women’s health available in the Archdiocese of Atlanta.
Jeanine eventually stumbled upon NaProTechnology herself. She began charting and had her blood tested by a NaPro doctor. The data revealed that Jeanine had low progesterone and estrogen levels, as well as endometriosis. Five months after the surgery for endometriosis, Jeanine was pregnant, and stayed pregnant through delivery. She and her husband are now proud parents of their son, Robert Thomas.
The call to action? Pray for those who struggle with infertility and miscarriage. Get the word out about real solutions like those Dr. Kongoasa’s practice in Atlanta explores. Let’s reclaim a greater awareness and reverence for the inner workings of our bodies.
Joey Martineck is director of the Respect Life Ministry for the Archdiocese of Atlanta. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.