Conception problems


My wife and I have been trying to have a baby and its proving difficult. She suffers from a medical disorder which keeps her on the pill out of necessity. She has come off of it and is now on fertility medicine to assist us.

What sort of options are acceptable to the Church? From what I understand, fertility pills are acceptable. I’m not sure if in-vitro is acceptable or not. I’m pretty sure using a surrogate mother is unacceptable, although I’d like confirmation. I’m sure there are other options as well, but I’m not aware of them, so if I’m missing one please feel free to mention it and its permissibility.

Once we’ve had a child, my wife will most likely return to using the pill for her medical problem, as its something that doesn’t go away, and comming off of it to make the attempts we’re making caused nervous/cardiac issues as well. As this is a medical necessity, would we still be able to have marital relations?

Sorry I’m so long winded!!


Dear T,

You’re correct, in-vitro is not acceptable for a Catholic, nor is using a surrogate mother. Since your wife is using the pill for medical reasons and not to contra-cept, the Church does not forbid you from having sexual intercourse. Any un-intended miscarriages that might result would not be considered by the Church to be abortions. This is a long-standing stance the Church has taken in similar situations. It’s good to remember, every time a husband and wife have sexual intercourse there is the possibility of an un-intended miscarriage occurring—even if the wife is not taking the pill for medical reasons!

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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