Is abstinance our only option?


I’ll try to make it short. My wife of 13 years has had numerous health issues over that time (chemo, radiation, several surgeries, etc). She is diagnosed with a muscle related disease that is in remission through the use of a drug regime. We do have 2 children, 1 through adoption.

My question relates to our marital relations. The drugs my wife is on can cause birth defects and we have been told that a pregnancy could endanger my wife.

Is abstinence our only option? I think we are both too afraid of using NFP.


If you and your wife elect not to use NFP, then yes, abstinence (marital continence) is your only other moral option.


I really feel for you, best of luck in whatever choice you and your wife make. :thumbsup:



Yes-if you choose not to use NFP abstinence is your only option. I owuld suggest you do some research on NFP. it is as effective as any ABC .


I had friends who abstained for nine months because their anxiety was so great about a pregnancy. Then, they went one time a month in phase three. Then, they went to phase three only as the situation improved.

I don’t think you will have to abstain completely, but if your anxiety is so great, then it is doable.


BE NOT AFRAID!!! My husband and I have been using NFP for nearly a year now. We were both a little hesitant at first, but I knew that it was the best and only way to reconcile our beliefs with our intention to continue marital relations. Not only is it moral, but it is also an excellent way for a woman to track her gynecological health. My prayers are with you.


I second this excellent advice!



Thank you for your prayers. I have only broached the NFP subject briefly with my wife. I plan on bringing it up again with more seriousness, but I can anticipate what the response will be … and they are all based in fear, especially the fear of two young children growing up without a mom.

I have read that not having a willing partner is grounds for using ABC. What if we use NFP methods to determine infertile periods and use ABC during those times?


ABC is not the answer. If you restrict your lovemaking to the post-ovulatory phase, and even shorten what you consider to be the safe period by a day or two at the beginning, you will not (without a miracle) get pregnant. So this boils down to being able to use a few days before your wife’s menstrual period. Way better than either total abstinence or sinning with ABC.



You have either read something from a heterodox source, or misunderstood what you read. There are no “grounds” for using contraception. Contraception is intrinsically evil-- it is never moral to use it.

That is not morally licit, nor is it necessary. The infertile peroids are, by definition, infertile.


Perhaps I misunderstood. I read it in the apologetics answers:

I am anticipating what my wife’s answer will be, but I guess I should just cross that bridge only if it comes. In the meantime I should pray and begin with bringing up the NFP subject.

Thank you


This reply answers a different question than the one you asked.

You wrote, “I have read that not having a willing partner is grounds for using ABC.” The answer to that is NO.

What the link you posted above asks is if your spouse contracepts and you do not can you still have relations with her. You would be a passive, uncooperating spouse in that case. For example, if you wife decided to get a diaphram or have her tubes tied and you tried stop her, but couldn’t, then you are not sinning if you have relations with her.

OTOH, if you say to her “ok, you don’t wnat to use NFP then let’s contracept” then you are equally culpable and are committing an objectively sinful act.

I’d suggest you get some sound documentation on NFP from first. Present her with fact that will answer any of her “fears”. Fear is often out of ignorance. If she has factual data and information on how NFP works she can see that it is effective.

Also, ask her to just take a class with you before deciding. Look up classes in your local area through your parish or go to: or


But what if your spouse is not Catholic and wants to use ABC? Such is my dilemna, my husband wants to use ABC himself , is not Catholic and NFP would not even work for me because I’m perimenopausal but still have occassional fertile months even at 55! I’m sure God would not want me to get pregnant with all the health issues I have…please don’t bring Sarah into the picture having a child at 90…she wasn’t on 10 medications!! What do I do?? :confused:


Thank you for your prayers. I have only broached the NFP subject briefly with my wife. I plan on bringing it up again with more seriousness, but I can anticipate what the response will be … and they are all based in fear, especially the fear of two young children growing up without a mom.

First of all, my prayers are with you and your wife. I can only imagine her fear of leaving her children behind. This too was the greatest trial for Saint Gianna Molla. Her torture was knowing that she was leaving behind her four young children but she faced her death with such grace and love for God. I think your wife should read about her and ask Saint Gianna (who was also a doctor) to intercede for her.


If your husband contracepts and you in no way encourage or approve of it-- and if you try to dissuade him in this action-- it is not sinful for you to engage in sexual intercourse… but again, that’s if you are not in any way encouraging or capitulating and are trying to get him to stop… and you should discuss this with your priest.

This is not a true statement

In that case, NFP is available and if you do not feel that you can do NFP then marital continence is your other option.


Please do learn charting for perimenopause! It can be very helpful in understanding what natural remedies would best help your hormonal changes. Entering menopause is a good time to chart from a strictly health perspective. Knowing your fertility positively will help you to show your husband it is good to trust in God. God is allowing your natural fertility to end. Natural infertility (through pregnancy, breast-feeding, and menopause) is a good thing that God built into His design.

Have you read, Fertility, Cycles, and Nutrition, by Marilyn Shannon? Great book!


Please do the research on NFP. Your wife’s health problems might be further harmed from contraceptives. The pill and other hormonal contraception are obvious in their harmful ways. But even condoms and spermicides can be harmful to the post chemo patient. Many people are allergic to both. The lowered immune system brought on by chemo and radiation, makes the body more likely to be allergic. Sorry, no source on that. Very few scientists seem inclined to take on the contraception industry.

Please also research NFP charting for her muscle related disease. It would be helpful for you to know if her disease gets better or worse during her estrogen phase, or better or worse during her progesterone phase. I was brought home to the Truth of Church teaching through my health problems. My marginal fertility is caused by an autoimmune disease which lowers my thyroid function. All the “tests” showed normal thyroid, but my sympto-thermal chart showed low basal body temperatures that clearly indicated low thyroid function. Please feel free to PM me for resources or support.

I am praying for you and your family. :gopray: You obviously love them very much.


I sympathize with your situation. You and your wife are in my prayers.

I think that you are correct in not using NFP. It’s very foundation is that you are still not closing yourselves off from the possibility that God will provide you with children. You are just playing odds in the best way possible.

It is also true that if you discern that God is calling you to temporary celibacy, he will give you special graces that he does not give married couples who are able to have sex. In your self sacrifice for your wife you will be able to become closer to your wife, and closer to our Lord. Read Ephesians 5.


I am in heart failure and another pregnancy would be fatal for me. The medications I take especially two in particular would be very damaging to a developing child. If I became pregnant I would have to stop them immediately which would pretty much seal my fate. My husband and I have sucessfully used NFP for 10 years. My first advice is absolutely take a class on NFP. Because of the seriousness of the reason to avoid pregnancy do not try to teach yourself from a book if at all possible. They will teach you the most conservative guidelines for couples presented with such grave reasons to avoid pregnancy and you must stick within those guidelines.

There are misguided priests who will tell you that bc is ok in your situation but they are wrong - the church teaches that artificial contraception can not be used to avoid pregnancy for any reason. Using birthcontrol during infertile times is not allowed. I have a daughter so trust me I do understand you’re wifes fears of leaving her children without a mother.

With NFP the signs of my ovulation are quite clear and beyond that I place my trust in God. If you do not use NFP abstinance is your only other option. I will pray for you both, I know this is a big cross to carry.



What you said is true of couples who do not have a health problem like this poster’s wife. NFP can be licitly used to avoid pregnancy when a woman’s life would be in danger if she became pregnant.

God bless.

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