Fertility test pre-wedding


In a romantic relationship potentially leading to marriage, is it OK to ask for a fertility test?

If so, at what point in the relationship?

Is it OK for both the male to ask, as it is for the female?


I would ask my potential spouse if he was open to adoption if we couldn’t conceive, but I would never ask for a fertility test. :frowning:


Go ask Dr. Ray:



Only ask if infertility is a deal breaker for you;if you would absolutely not marry someone who is infertile. What the church requires is that you be capable of having relations with your potential spouse, not that you be capable of conceiving. God can bring new life to your family through adoption as well. If you are both open to having children through adoption, if it should turn out one or both of you is infertile, it may be a question better left till after marriage. I’m not aware of how they test for it, (Any doctors out there who would know?) but there are people who have no obvious problems and never find out if they are able to conceive until they try, and others who think they cannot, but later find out that they can.


Do you mean fertility testing as in, to see if your future spouse is fertile? I think that is a bit out of line, I guess. You are preparing to vow to love this person for better or for worse, but you are willing to leave them now if they are not able to conceive a child? Would you leave them if you found this out after you were already married? What if infertility is a trial God has planned for you and your future spouse?

Secondly, many ways of testing for fertility are immoral and gravely sinful if done improperly and outside of marriage. This includes methods of obtaining sperm for male fertility testing. It can be done using a perforated condom during normal sexual intercourse between a husband and a wife and be moral. Immoral means would be masterbation (the normal method of “collection”) or using an unperforated condom during sexual intercourse. Since sexual intercourse before marriage is out and masterbation is out, both for moral reasons obviously, there would be no moral way I know of to collect the sperm for the male’s fertility test prior to marriage.

Now, if you are talking about screening for a disease that might complicate pregnancy, that is a different thing all together. For example, I am a carrier of a rare blood disorder called beta thalassemia. It doesn’t do anything to me, but if had kids with someone else who was also a carrier our kids could be born with horrible birth defects and live painful lives until they died at a very young age. Since I knew about this before meeting my future husband, I requested he be tested before we became engaged. We would never have been able to have children had he been positive, and I was not willing to trust my own knowledge and self control with NFP if we did marry and try to avoid pregnancy indefinitely. Thankfully, he was negative and we are now married with two beautiful, healthy boys and more in the future, God willing.

Does this help?


'What the church requires is that you be capable of having relations with your potential spouse"

Gosh, I’m married and don’t remember that question. They must have dressed it up a bit in obscuritory language. :eek:

I wonder if the mean in a physical sense, or willingness sense.

Do they mean, once, or forever? Hmm


What would the purpose of such a request be for the man or the woman? Why would you ever even think of this?


In both the physical sense and the willingness sense, at the time of marriage.




My fiance and I met with our priest last month and he asked if, to the best of my knowledge, was I able to produce children. I said yes even though I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. (Dr. said I should be fine.) But he did not ask if I was capable of having relations.

I’m not sure how I would feel if someone asked me to get a test. On one hand, I would appreciate their honesty of not wanting to be with a woman who couldn’t produce biological children, but on the other hand I would feel seen as a baby machine and my only use for him was to produce heirs.

We have talked about this and said that if we couldn’t have children then we would adopt. I was surprised at how open my fiance was about the subject. He said there are so many children out there who need good homes and he’d be willing to take some in.


I havent read any of the replies above so I don’t know if anyone has answered this, but my answer (as a medical professional) are in line with the Church’s answer & they are…

a- In theory the woman could have a ‘fertility test’: this would be a blood test to check whether she is ovulating, and/or an ultrasound test to check on the presence of eggs in her ovaries etc.

However, if you are menstruating regularly (give or take 5-10 days), then you are almost certainly ovulating. It would be pretty unlikely to have regular periods and not be ovulating

(by “regular” I don’t mean, exactly the same length each and every single cycle. Very few woman have this. The normal cycle length varies from about 21-35 days)

b- A fertility test for an unmarried man would involve

  • hormone tests to check for testosterone levels (but if he has had a normal puberty, with normal body & facial hair, and his voice has broken, it would be pretty unusual for him to have any serious testosterone problems)

  • a sperm count assessment to check for number of, and health of, the sperm.
    This would NOT be morally acceptable as it would involve the unmarried man mastrubating, which is a mortal sin and should not take place under any circumstances.

If he were married, he could have a sperm assessment if the sperm were collected during an act of intercourse using a special PERFORATED CONDOM.


These devices are PERFORATED and can be obtained from Catholic fertility specialists. They are perforated, so some of the semen still gets out into his wife’s body, but enough is retained for medical assessment.


note, I am not addressing the MORALITY of whether fertility testing pre-marriage, should take place. Simpl the morality of what would be involved should it take place.

Some people would argue that you should trust in God and not have fertility testing, especially if you have no reason to suspect any problems.
(About 40-60% of fertility is classed as “unexplained” anyway)

Other’s might say that if you have a significant reason to suspect the woman might have a fertility problem, then it MAY be legitimate to test her before marriage.


HMM…you do know that you can menstruate and not ovulate…they do not go hand in hand for some woman.


A marriage is not possible if a couple are unable to ever physically engage in intercourse.

So if a man is definitively and perpetually impotent then he can not be married (note: not ‘may not’ but ‘can not’.).

Also note: this total impotence is extremly RARE and the man must have it BEFORE he gets married. It must be something which means he is UNABLE, NO MATTER WHAT MEDICAL INTERVENTION IS AVALAIBLE, to penetrate a woman.

The reasons for this relate to the meaning, purpose and nature of the conjugal act and I would recommend reading Humane Vitae, or:

The Good News about Sex & Marriage by Christopher West, which has a 4 page explanation on this very issue, as well as many more. It is very cheap on Amazon.


Yes, I do know that (as I have just studied obstetrics & gynaecology). People with PCOS are perfect examples

However the key word is REGULAR.

Women who have REGULAR periods (the length of which must be within the normal range), for the last year or so, are pretty unlikely to be anovulatory (i.e. it’s unlikely they’re not ovulating)


OP, please don’t ask this testing of anyone! If I were your fiancee and you asked me to undergo testing like a brood mare (or for the males, a stud), well. . .you would be looking for a new person to marry. I believe it reduces the human to just one of their bodily functions and strips them of their dignity to make them get fertility tests before agreeing to marry them.

Only God will decide if any couple gets biological children. Every test in the world could say someone is fertile and if it is not God’s will then the result will just not happen. I have married friends who have undergone testing due to numerous miscarriages after their first pregnancy had been no problem. The doctors say nothing is biologically wrong, yet multiple miscarriages. Therefore, testing tells them nothing about whether they will be blessed with more children.


As someone experiencing infertility, I would challenge you not to pursuit a test of fertility before marriage. Use other tools of discernment to determine if this marriage is God’s call to you. He may be calling you to some kind of growth through the challenge of infertiltity. Like I said, I speak from experience and I will tell you that although this is a tough cross to bear, if you do experience infertility in the marriage it will be a time of challenge and growth. If God is calling you to that, you do not want to miss it.

Feel free to pm me if you have any wish to do so.



Because Dr. Ray has ten kids. They are all his kids; well, his and his wife’s. But they did not get them in the usual manner.

The Garuendis have a known fertility problem, and adopted their 10 kids. He promised her kids, and he promised he wouldn’t let a little thing like infertility stop them.

How is a guy like that going to answer the question, “Is it out of line to ask a prospective spouse for a fertility test”?


I think the more relevant inquiry is for you to look at the vows and see if you can honestly answer “I do” to each question. I suspect that you cannot and thus YOU are not prepared to marry–regardless of your (or your intended’s) fertility status.

You might also want to consider that two perfectly fertile individuals can through their union still be unable to produce children due to an antibody reaction that can either kill the sperm preventing conception or destroy a fertilized embryo.

There are no guarantees in married life. What you give and get is a mutual promise to work through the challenges, joys, failings, shortcomings, triumphs and disappointments that life delivers **together. **There is no perfect, fool-proof warranty or return policy. But it is through those shared experiences–good and bad–that you grow and build a life together.


Menstruation can only happen after ovulation in medical terms, but many women can expereince “anovulatory bleeding” in natural cycles. The body attempt to ovulate but doesn’t and eventually just gives up and shed the lining of the uterus. For example women on the Pill do not menstrate, they just have induced anovulatory bleeding when and if ovulation is suppressed.


Wow, Cathy. I’m so impressed with your spiritual insight. In this light, infertility can actually be a blessing if you grow in holiness. Thank you for sharing.

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