Infertile Sister


I have a sister who is 9 years older than me (going on 35 this August) and she and her husband are struggling to get pregnant while my husband and I have been blessed w/ 2 little ‘surprises.’

She fell away from the Church many years ago. I did too for several years, but I was blessed to have some wonderful people in my life to lead me back home to the Church.

She has resorted to IVF which she knows I do not approve of, but I try to put my ‘issues’ aside to be there for her (albeit over the phone half-way across the country). We have usually been able to discuss all sorts of sensitive subjects, but on this point she has been very reserved. After 3 unsuccessfull attempts, they are taking a break and will start trying again w/ the IVF in a few months.

I don’t have much to offer her in the way of advice or consolation, our babies have pretty much fallen into our laps. I want to urge her back into the confessional and back to the sacraments, but all I can do is pray that God will help both my sister and I to accept His will, whether that means conceiving on their own after 5+ years (as I know 2 couples have), adoption, or helping me to accept her pregnancy using IVF.

Any suggestions?

Prayfully Yours,


I was in a very similar situation with my sister. I simply prayed and prayed for God’s will. Soon after I had my son, she adopted 2 girls through an international adoption. That was about 10 years ago. My sister and I are still very close and our children are too. I will pray for a similar outcome for you.


Has your sister heard of this organization?

They actually figure out why people have fertility issues and try to fix them. Many ladies on these forums have had great success in achieving pregnancy when working with these folks.


The US Catholic bishops have added a wonderful new website called

This is the article on infertility which you can share with your sister.


It is really hard for a fertile person to imagine the pain of an infertile person. In addition to praying for God’s will add asking Him to heal your sister’s pain. Ask for the intercession of St. Giana and St. Gerard Magella on your sister’s behalf. Infertility is an incredible cross to bear.


Thank you so much for the links. I am on fire right now after seeing the popepaulvi website w/ Dr.Hilgers. I saw him on EWTN w/ Raymond Arroyo one time discussing fertility issues. I realize that not all IVF clinics are this way, but after listening to him, I am determined that most are not all that interested in actually helping you w/ your fertility issues as they are in taking your money. I wish my sister could get connected w/ one of his clinics. It is far different care for someone to help you maintain your dignity and work w/ the natural gifts of your fertility and in the privacy of your own marriage w/out including 10 or so other people in the act of conceiving your own child (i.e. drs, nurses, receptionists . . .)
I am holding off right now b/c she is at that stage where they are taking a break and I think she feels like she has tried everything and nothing works. But I will keep these in mind.
She wants a baby ASAP and I think if IVF doesn’t work, they will try to adopt. But I have shared 2 couples stories w/ her where it was all about God’s timing, not ours. One couple tried for 9 years and were nearly 40 and ended up having 2 girls just a few years apart. Another couple adopted a little girl, and then a few years later, a little boy, finding out almost simultaneously that they were pregnant when they thought they would never make it on their own. They have since gone on to have another natural child.
Part of me feels like faithfulness is playing a big part in these people’s lives. I feel very strongly about making it to mass on Sunday and tithing. I know that God blesses all shades of people w/ the gift of a child, faithful Christians and hethans alike. But I especially feel like He’s calling my sister home to the Church where she belongs and to rest in Him and He will take care of her, but I think she sees this as very simplistic.
It sounds so simple, and yet when I came home to the Church and my husband and I started using legitimate marital practices, our relationship has done a complete 180. Our participation is so simple, God’s requirements of us are so simple (sometimes), but His gifts and blessings are so far beyond our wildest imaginations and expectations! I just wish she could allow Him to open her eyes and heart they way He has for me.
Thanks so much and God Bless.


It is nice that you want to encourage your sister, but remember most people who adopt never conceive. No one should go into adoption with the hope that this will lead to conception. Conception is a gift, not a guarantee. If most people truly understood what it take to conceive they would be in awe that the human race even exists. A normal woman without fertility issues only has about a 25% chance of conceiving during any cycle. The other thing, which you may already be doing, is to just love your sister where she is. Faith is also a gift, maybe she is on her way, but just hasn’t accepted the gift like you have. Yes I’m sure she would receive many gifts if she came back to her faith, but it might not be the gift of having a child. She has this incredible pain and yearning for a reason. What that reason is will be between her and God. Maybe it is adoption, maybe it is just to lead her to God, maybe it is something completely different.


My own mom couldn’t conceive in the 1950’s. My best friend’s wife couldn’t conceive either in the 1980’s. Neither did IVF, instead they did a novena to the Blessed Mother, but I hear another good intercessor already mentioned is St.Gerard Magella. Well, mom had two of us and miscarried once…her first born she had when she was 34 and her next at 37 in the 1950’s. My best friend was married 8 years without children, but when the novena was finished…they had 5 kids.2 years apart…They asked their mo-in-law who did the novena for them, to say one, to slow down…God answered their prayers. The 7 of them have lived in a 2 bedroom house now for almost 30 years. God is good!


A note to keep my fellow infertile sisters from despairing (after a couple of well-intentioned posts that may be taken in the wrong spirit by someone who is grieving her lost fertility):

If you are never able to conceive and carry a child, God doesn’t love you any less. It does not mean that you do not have enough faith. You are not in any less of a state of grace. You are not less of a woman. If you adopt but never conceive, you are in the vast majority of infertile parents who adopt. God has other plans for you. Sometimes it is even a sign of greater faith if you are able to trust in God’s plan and prayerfully accept it, even if you do not understand it. Consider that God does not give you anything you cannot handle, and He thinks you are strong enough- with His assistance- to carry this cross.

Another note: it is true that naturally fertile women cannot understand how completely gut-wrenching it is to deal with infertility. It is brutal to watch as others blithely abuse their bodies, bear scads of children, then abuse those children as well. It is embarassing to know that by our very existence we are causing scandal, as most assume that we are contracepting yet claiming to be Catholic. It is irritating to have to explain to well-meaning people that “no, we don’t believe in IVF. No, we don’t believe in artificial insemination. Yes, we have figured out how babies are made, please do not condescend to me and try and tell me that my husband and I don’t know how to make love. Yes, I know I’m not getting any younger, thank you again for reminding me.”

To the OP: your sister may need some space. As you are one who has “surprise” pregnancies (what many of us wouldn’t give for one of those!), she may not be able to discuss this with you. Do not take it personally, do not push the issue, leave her alone. I went through a phase where I could not even be around pregnant women or babies without completely losing it. She may be at that point. Let her grieve in peace, do not bring up babies, pregnancy, adoption or anything related until she brings it up first, and always, always pray for her that God’s will be done.


Adoption: “When a child grows in your heart, instead of under it.” :love:

Our biological son and 2 daughters adopted from China

A China Adoption Reunion


Thank you SOOOO much for this post SeekerJen. I am printing this off and hanging it on my fridge. I can’t tell you how much of my negative self-talk you helped with this post. Thanks again!


:clapping: Chovy


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