How far is too far? That’s the question Lisa asked me this morning. Doctors say her husband’s morphology has bottomed out at 1%, but she isn’t ready to give up on the dream of parenting. Neither is he. So, the RE is recommending IVF+ICSI.
Here’s the dilemma, as Lisa put it:
“I don’t know what God would want me to do. ICSI involves the doctors “choosing” which little one they want to inject. To me, I’m not sure this seems natural, and it’s a bit scary! But part of me thinks God gave us this science for a reason…. Is there any insight you can offer me with this moral/ethical dilemma?”
What does God think of IVF+ICSI? Does He want couples to pursue it? To avoid it? To condemn it? If science has outpaced the literal words of scripture, how can we know if God approves, or if He’s angry? If He will bless those who pursue this form of conception, or curse them?
Those are hard questions.
When I look at the people who struggle hardest with them, here’s what I see. They often fall into one of three categories: active or lapsed Catholics, scripture literalists, and those who know little about what the Bible does and doesn’t say. These may seem like very different groups to you, but they have one critically-important thing in common: They’re used to having someone tell them what God expects of them.
For most or all of their spiritual lives, someone has told them The Answers. The Rules. The Expectations. Now, they find themselves facing a question that could open or close the door to the future they deeply desire. What does God want them to do? Who can tell them the right answer? And what if they get it wrong?!
I’m convinced this moment of anxious uncertainty is actually a gift.
Underneath the fear of seeking answers from the wrong source — or worse, guessing incorrectly — there is the newly-planted seed of a desire to know God’s will more fully. There is an impulse to seek Him out. To go deeper — beyond rule-following obedience, into a more intimate relationship with the God who longs to be known, to bless those who seek Him, and to reveal His will in and through their lives.
This is not the journey most infertile couples thought they’d be making when they began trying to conceive. And it is not one every couple embraces. But, I believe it is the journey infertility nudges us toward – one which can ultimately enrich and expand the spiritual lives of future parents prior to becoming a family. And that is a blessing.
But, in a moment of paralyzing uncertainty, it doesn’t feel like one.
So, if you’ve reached the same point that Lisa has and you’re wondering what to do next, don’t panic. Trust me: This is all part of God’s plan. Commit to seeking His will and He will reveal it to you. And as you do, remember….
1) Those who want to conceive but also want to honor God cannot look to the Bible for hard and fast rules when faced with infertility. What we can do, though, is look to the Bible for guidance — and to the Holy Spirit for wisdom and discernment.
2) God is omniscient and omnipotent. He knows our motivations, our deep desire to parent, and our intention (or lack of intention) to honor Him in all that we do. That matters greatly to the One who is able to open or close a womb at any time.
3) God sends us help in many forms, including science, doctors, and medicine. Those who refuse to accept that help sometimes do so in an attempt to honor Him or demonstrate their faith in Him. In fact, they’re requiring God to work miracles — or see His offered blessings rejected. I believe their motivation has great spiritual value , but their rejection of God’s blessings may not.
4) I believe that when our hearts, minds and spirits are completely focused on doing God’s will, and we proceed with the deep desire that His will be done, God will open and close doors along our path to see that it is so. In other words, He will guide our steps, illuminate our path, and fill us with the peace that assures us we are in the flow of His will.
5) The best way to assure His will is done is to trust Him, let go, and pray the servant’s prayer: “Thy will be done.” God is well able to work within our circumstances to achieve His purpose.
Of course, each couple must make their own decision about which path to take. The only Right Answer is to seek the God who longs to draw nearer to those who draw hear to Him.
Trust Him completely; He never fails.
If you’d like to read another post on this topic, here’s a link. And, if you want more inspiration and cause for hope, order a copy of Pregnant With Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples.