fertility tests


Some friends and I were discussing this, and none os us had a good answer. Is it morally acceptable (not sinful) for a man to provide a sperm sample for a fertility test to determine the best treatment (obviously, MORAL treatments) for the wanting couple?

How on earth could this be execusted in a sinless, wholesome, and pleasing to God way?


There is a method that I know of, proposed by the Couple to Couple League, which enables “harvesting” of a man’s sperm for testing. This entails using a perforated condom to conserve a measure of sperm during a natural act of married intercourse. This method, as it is described, does not disorder the unitive and procreative aspects of the sexual act, but simply allows for a sample of sperm to be tested for potency and fertility, while still allowing a measure of sperm to pass through enabling conception, if it is God’s will.

I’m sure I haven’t all the details, but I think I remember learning this in our NFP course–YEARS ago! They may have a better, moral solution now. I’d check with the Couple to Couple League or the Pope Paul VI Institute for more information.


nods but what about if they need to do a sperm count? Like, if I guy just wasn’t “making enough” to be effective?


Good questions. . .I don’t know. But, I bet the two entities I mentioned would be well equipped to answer those questions! You just gotta know where to look for the answers! Happy hunting!


IMHO, obtaining the specimen for this purpose is not a sin; however it could be an occasion for sin. For example, some offices where this kind of thing is done provide pornography to help the subject along. Looking at that would certainly be sinful. It is possible to stimulate oneself to evoke the biological response needed to get the sample. The trick would be not to invoke impure, sinful thoughts while doing it.


A morally acceptable way is through the use of a perforated condom and the couple having normal intercourse otherwise. The perforation ensures the act is not purposefully closed to life and still can get a sample to measure fertility. It has been shown to be better at determining fertility than typical non moral ways through masturbation.


That is what I would have thought, since undergoing the process (maybe have wife help? :S) helps the couple bring life into the world easier, even though this ONE time it is to help make more life, rather than the couple wanting to purposely stay closed to life. For example, they, if they knew having intercourse right then and there would cause life, they wouldn’t have to bother with the test.


There are two accepted method’s of sperm collection .

*]Post-coital test to assess sperm number and viability in “fertile type” mucus. These tests are undertaken after normal intercourse.
*]Appropriate evaluation and treatment of male factor deficiency. Seminal fluid samples can be obtained from a non-lubricated, perforated condom after normal intercourse.[/LIST]



I wonder why they specify non-lubricated?


The lubricants can be toxic to sperm so that is why they are avoided. For couples who need a fertility test and find that procedure uncomfortable, I think there are places that may design some lubricant that will not harm sperm and avoid altering the actual results of the test.


Ah. I would have expected a criteria of non-spermicidal lubricant. I wasn’t aware that a simple lubricant would be considered harmful to the sperm, but I can see that it might be sensitive enough to it to alter a test.


This is one of the main reasons I just this week turned down fertility treatment. The doc wanted a sperm sample from ny husband and said ‘we have a special facility here, a private room with magazines.’ Special facility? Yuck.

Anyway, I have just found a Catholic fertility clinic near us! I am so excited and am waiting to hear back from them.


When going through fertility tests, we did the perforated condom (non lubricated, because it’s spermicidal) thing. Not fun. My first comment on the situation wasn’t very polite. My second comment was something along the lines of, “People do this regularly? Why even bother with sex at that point?!”

Thank God for NFP!

It seems that the fertility clinics that are going to work with your morals on the treatments will usually also find better ways to do the testing morally. Have you looked into the Paul VI Institute? They’re online, and may be able to recommend local doctors.


With all due respect, this is totally contrary to Church teaching. Masturbation is an INTRINSICALLY disordered practice, meaning it is NEVER acceptable. This is true whether one looks at tainted material or if one were to be praying a rosary. Intrinsic evil is never justified, no matter how good the intention. There are no tricks involved.


Thanks for correcting my error. Candidly I never had heard of the perforated condom option. Seems like a reasonable, more dignified, and certainly open-to-life alternative to producing said specimen in the doctor’s office.


Generally they only check the density of sperm within a small sample amount. It’s not so much a matter of the quantity of fluid, but rather the density of sperm. Therefore, they don’t need a large sample to test fertility.



You are most welcome. I too have only recently heard of the perforated condom and would like to research Church’s teaching on the morality of their use.


At the risk of sounding rude, I’d like to give you my thoughts…

The perforated condom option sounds fanatical and disgusting. (Sorry if that’s a harsh word.) A specimen jar, I guess, would be more appropriate, especially if you could give it in the privacy of your own home. :twocents:

Supposing a couple, who are suspecting infertility, having intercourse during a non-fertile time with a perforated confom. Is that really open-to-life? We’re kidding ourselves… aren’t we? :shrug:

If the Church allows us to give a semen sample for research, then I would hope they would allow us to masterbate to obtain the sample. (Even the Church has a Just War doctrine, even though it holds dearly the commandment “thou shalt not kill”. But don’t allow me to take this thread off track…)

P.S. Don’t get me wrong, I have no idea what the Church stance is on fertility tests. These are just my thoughts. :twocents:


No offense taken on my part. Apparently the Church has issued guidelines on the matter and making a deposit in a jar doesn’t work as an acceptable means.

There was some good discussion at this thread


It is not wrong merely because the Church says it is wrong. This would make it the same as missing Mass on a holy day of obligation. Yes, to miss Mass would violate a law of the Church and therefore be grave matter, however the Church has the discretion of whether to bind the faithful with such laws. The Church, however, does not have the authority to allow nor will it ever allow masturbation as it is not merely a law of the Church, but a law of God, tied intrinsically to the natural order of life and procreation.

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