birth control to avoid having a baby with birth defects

This is my first post and I’m not sure if I’m posting in the correct place.

Here’s our dilemma:

My husband and I have four wonderful children. Two boys and two girls from 6 years old all the way down to a four month old. He’s 30 and I’m 27. We have the means to support more children and would welcome any with open arms.

I was diagnosed last month with hyperthyroidism. It can be serious if left untreated, heart damage and/or brittle bones are possible. The medications I need to take to control the heart symptoms are ok while breastfeeding, they buy me time until I can have surgery, but they could cause serious birth defects should I become pregnant again.

My fertility has returned and I don’t know what to do. We’ve used NFP for several years but although we have been to classes and a private teacher it doesn’t seem to work for us as a way to postpone pregnancies. I don’t feel I can use it and be confident I will not become pregnant again.

Does anyone have any advice? Would it be acceptable to temporarily use some type of birth control until I can have surgery to cure my thyroid problems? If so, what would be the ‘best’ to use that would prevent conception rather than cause a child already conceived to be harmed?

Thank you

Do you and your husband not have self control? I think exercising that through abstaining until the surgery is the best option. You are not an animal, you can control yourself. Instead of committing a mortal sin and contracepting, just abstain for a while. Your soul will thank you someday.

WOW, rude much?

Not trying to offend anyone, but that last post seemed a bit harsh! Although I admit there are plenty of couple on here that succesfully use NFP to avoid becoming pregnant, there are still others that have tried it and not had such good results. I agree that abstinance for a short time might be the answer, but before I would make any decision, I would go talk to a Priest that you feel comfortable speaking to. I’m really sorry you’re having to go through this, and I applaud that you’re trying to be safe, but this sounds like something you should speak to a spiritual advisor about.
God Bless

Well, seeing as NFP has a better success rate then artificial contraceptive devices, you may as well stick to NFP, or abstain.

I mean, don’t take this the wrong way, but what happens if you fall pregnant when the pill fails or teh condom tears? What then will you do with a child who may or may not have a birth defect due to your medication?

The best bet is to abstain. It will likely strengthen your marriage.

I suggest that you abstain, and use this period in your life as an opportunity to grow closer to each other. God is giving you an opportunity to strengthen your marriage, to better your communication skills, etc. And mortal sin is just not worth it. Hell is eternal and Purgatory can last up to 400 years before you finally get into Heaven. Yikes!

HI and welcome to CAF. I am responding to you as a mother of three sons and two deceased children. My first two babies died and my son died of Spina Bifida.We had genetic counselling and were told that we held a very high risk indeed of subsequent children having spina bifida.
We had to take a specially formualted amount of folic acid in a tablet for 3 months prior to conception and all the way through pregnancy.Much monitoring and blood tests scans etc to bring into the world my beautiful sons.My husband and I went through much heartache.To lose your child is the most painful experience ever.
Now I have three grandsons and my daughter in laws had to do the very same things to ensure the health of their children.

My advice would be to talk to your priest about this.Of course you can abstain for a while,but we do not know if surgery would be possible for you at this stage and my mother has thyroid condition but takes tablets to control it for the rest of her life. You need not worry about what your priest will think.Our priest was very helpful indeed.There are many options avalable to you short term and long term.

My heart goes out to you with the situation you find yourself in.Your health and safety and that of any future children you may have are extremely important.I would make an appointment for you & hubby to go and see your priest and discuss it with him.

May God bless you and grant you healing

Huh? Support for this idea?

I’d really be interested in hearing what these many options are.

There seems to only be a few possibilities no matter what one’s faith.

NFP, abstaining all together for now, or using an artificial form of b/c which if one is Catholic in my understanding is always against Church teaching, no matter what some kind hearted priest may tell somebody. If I am wrong then I think your explaining other approved Church options would probably be beneficial to many.

My wife and I are faced with a similar circumstance. We both carry the gene that causes Cystic Fibrosis. There is a 1 in 4 chance that a child will be born with CF. We have 2 children. Our oldest has CF. She was not diagnosed until we were already pregnant with our 2nd child. After she was born we discussed with our Priest that we were concerned with conceiving another child with CF. His answer; NFP or abstinence. The only 2 allowable options. G1j

Have you spoken to your doctors in detail about your faith and this particular medication. There are medications used even during early pregnancy to treat hyperthyroidism and so there is a possibility that you could request a change of medications.

If that is not possible then I hope you take the time to receive counsel from a priest but it does seem that there are only so many possibilities that will keep you faithful to the Church’s teachings.


no it is not acceptable but gravely sinful to use any artificial birth control method. Schedule the surgery as soon as possible and in the meantime call CCL or a resource in your diocese for further counselling on NFP and make sure you are availing yourselves of all modern methods of ovulation prediction. And use prayer together to help you avoid the most common cause of mistakes, forgetfulness.
If your peace of mind requires absolute surety, discuss the possibility of complete abstinence for the short time remaining before surgery. It will train and prepare you for those times which are inevitable in every marriage where abstinence is forced by circumstances.

Should you become pregnant, thank God for his gift, continue treatment and trust yourself and your child utterly to God. Should your child be born with a defect welcome him, love him, raise him, but more than likely he will grow to be a six foot tall accountant like the child of my in-laws, whose mother faced the identical scenario 26 years ago. the doctors can tell you what may happen, but not what will happen.

Jesus I trust in you.
Jesus I trust in you
Jesus I trust in you

realize, if you allow this to become your daily prayer, that God has immense blessings in store for you no matter what you decide to do and no matter what happens with regard to future children. Do not fear a period of self-imposed abstinence, periodic as in NFP or longer term as a curse but a blessing, as with any type of fast, God works through it to give good to you, your spouse, and your marriage.

I am sorry you have been diagnosed with a thyroid problem. As for NFP, I suggest you learn a different method and for now abstain.

Be faithful to Christ and his teachings. Resist the temptation to sin.

No. Contraception is a mortal sin. It is **intrinsically **evil. This means there aren’t **any **situation in which a Catholic can consider contraception as a valid option.

If you believe your reason for avoiding pregnancy is that serious, then you need to abstain until after your thyroid surgery and the problem is corrected.

I also suggest, as above, contacting an instructor and learn a different method of NFP.

A couple points:
–Contraception has done great damage physically, emotionally and spiritually to families. It’s unnatural and not of God. NFP has been shown to strengthen marriages but contraception is known for making (even unconsciously) another an object rather than a spouse to be respected. Note the high divorce rate since the 60s.

–Even if the Lord should entrust you with a child with birth defects, he/she is still your child, and the Lord has His reasons for that life. Trust His will–He knows what He is doing much better than we do.

Abstinence is your best choice. It is 100% effective, while birth control is not. Using birth control, under ANY circumstance is a mortal sin. It is not worth endangering your soul over. Abstinence is of course difficult, so I encourage you to pray for grace. Saying The Rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet will help you. I will keep you in my prayers. :gopray:

If you do end up having a child with birth defects, then though it would also a difficult, you must remember that it is still God’s child which has been entrusted to your care. It would be no less worthy of your love. :slight_smile:

God Bless and take care.

Thank you all for your responses!

I think I should give a bit more information. My husband is in the military. We were apart for a year in 2009 and he has more deployments coming up. I’m not sure it matters but we’re already apart quite a bit and like to be close when we’re together. We have tried the only NFP method that will work for us. Because I am still getting up a couple time each night with the baby I cannot use a method that relies on temps since they would fluctuate. We used it for three years and had two children in that time. Not to get into too much detail but I’m not someone for whom the observations are able to be made reliably. We have even gone to private teachers and they told me the same.

The earliest I could have the surgery would be about a year from now, when my husband is getting ready to go on his next year long deployment. We were also unable to be together for much of my pregnancy due to complications. I understand that contraception in any form can stress a marriage but being ‘apart’ for all but five months of four years would be stressful too. I’m still unsure what to do.

Be faithful to Christ, and he will give you strength.

Also, perhaps look at Marquette Model NFP, which combines the Creighton Model with a fertility monitor.

Have you looked into the Marquette method of NFP? It is supposed to be as effective as the abc pill when done correctly. I have health problems as well and also cannot rely on temperature readings so what I’m doing is sort of based on Marquette… I’m monitoring CM and using OPK strips. Abstaining long-term is not an option in my marriage so hopefully it ends up working for me. My Dh doesnt think like a catholic (yet!) in regards to BC so my situation may be different than most here. Anyhow, you should read up on Marquette, it’s the most scientific method and there isn’t a ton of abstaining. Good luck!

I would just like to express my support for you, and am sorry you have to go through this! I’ve also been treated for hyperthyroidism, and know it is not fun!! At the time, we wanted to have a second child, but I was not able to get pregnant (we later found out I was not getting pregnant because of the hyperthyroidism). In about 40% of cases, hyperthyroidism will cause lack of ovulation, and I was in those 40%. So, even though you might have your period back, you might still not be ovulating.
Also, at the time, when I was discussing treatment options with my endocrinologist, he did tell me there are risks involved with getting pregnant while being on medication for hyperthyroidism, as some of it crosses the placenta (if I remember correctly). He did, however, have a few patients who were pregnant while on the medication, and they were only followed closely to make sure that everything is OK with the baby.
Another thing, my mother had my brother while hyperthyroid, she was also told she should not, but she did, and he is a tall young man (OK, not six feet as a PP mentioned, but still :)), currently enrolled in a German university.
Hope this helps! You already got some excellent replies on the issue of contraception, so I will not repeat those. Wishing you all the best!!

I’m sorry for your difficult situation. A couple of people have suggested Marquette, which I would suggest as well. The fertility monitor could give you that extra bit of information to help you avoid getting pregnant at this time.

Trust in God. Be faithful to Him and ask Him for the strength to get through this. I understand how abstaining can be stressful, but IMO using ABC would be even worse for the marriage.

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