Unable to talk about infertility


My wife and I are new to this forum. We have been experiencing unexplained infertility for 2.5 years now. We have exhausted all moral methods. I would like to begin discussing adoption with my wife. I have heard that you have to come to terms with infertility before adopting.

Every time I try to discuss infertility and steps to move on, my wife gets so upset and depressed that we cannot discuss the problem. She says that it is too painful to talk about, and we should therefore not discuss it. We tried talking about this a year ago with the same results. I’m afraid that just waiting, hoping things (emotional, that is) will fix themselves is not a good move.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m impacted by this too, but I am ready to move on and look into adoption.

Has anyone else experienced this? Any tips?


I don’t know where you heard you have to “come to terms with infertility before adopting” but I don’t think that’s true at all. I don’t think you need to have a “discussion” about infertility prior to deciding to adopt. I know a lot of people who had years of infertility, adopted, and got pregnant within a year. So, I wouldn’t treat the two things as mutually exclusive or contingent upon one another.

Does your wife not want to talk about adoption? Or, does she just not want to talk about the infertility?

I’ve read on adoption pages that you must “lament your loss” before adopting. My wife does not want to talk about our infertility. If the topic comes up, tears follow within minutes. When we talk about adoption, infertility inevitably comes up…therefore we cannot talk about either.

Sounds like your wife needs to get used to the idea of adoption before she can look into it. Give her time and space. If her heart is into it, then she’ll come around.

Perhaps you can contact an adoption agency that can provide names of people who can personally attest to their positive adoption experiences. Are there support groups for infertile couples who want to adopt? There’s also a show on the Discovery Channel called “adoption stories.” They follow families that do international and domestic adoptions. It’s a great show, it’s brought tears to my eyes many times.

God Bless you for sticking to your morals. I can’t imagine the weight of this cross you and your wife carry.

I think that’s psycho-babble. But, that’s me.

Then don’t talk about it with her. Let her grieve in her own way. Maybe she can talk to a counselor.

I don’t see why it **has **to come up.

It sounds like your wife is not emotionally ready to adopt. Tell her, when she thinks she is ready to adopt let you know. Then, give her time and space.

You may need some counseling too because she may never be ready to adopt.

Well, I have adopted, and I still deal with my infertility issues. :shrug: I love my adopted daughter with all my heart (and my bio kids too), but I still have that hope every single month that maybe God will give us another miracle. I don’t think infertility is something that ever goes away. You spend so much emotional energy on it, often times for years of your life. You can’t just turn it off.
Of course for me, adoption was always in the plan, and I just wanted a baby so badly that it did not matter in the slightest if she was biologically mine. But I still pursued every Church-sanctioned option to get pregnant too. I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive.
It sounds to me like the core of your problem is the communication issue between the two of you. I think you need to work on that. Why don’t you check out a program to help with that–either Marriage Encounter, or Retrouvaille. I know when we went to Retrouvaille (for other issues), it became a lot easier to talk to my DH about the pain I was having from the infertility too. I’ll pray for you both that you can find a way to work through this and get that family you want.

In our case, I had to grieve our lost child- the one we will most likely not have biologically, before beginning the adoption process. No one told me I “had” to. We are still doing infertility treatments for 3 more months while simultaneously re-starting the adoption process.

Maybe a healthy way to address this with your wife would be to say that you’d like to start talking about a timeframe when you feel that emotionally, YOU, will feel that you’ve given it your all, and that after that time, although you would always be open to life, you would like to stop getting additional help to get pregnant. This will be a conversation that causes emotional reactions. It is bound to be.

At the same time, having suffered with infertility myself, I know that a marriage does not thrive when every instance of intimacy is focused on achieving a pregnancy and when your whole world revolves around the woman’s menstrual cycle. It is important that you share your feelings. Reaffirm that she is your wife and that you love her, but that you are emotionally exhausted from trying to have a baby. If she cries or freaks out, just say that the conversation needs to take place and that she has a right to have these feelings but you have a right to express yourself.

In an entirely separate discussion at a later date if necessary, you could also say that as that time draws near, you’d like to get her thoughts and feelings about adding to your family through adoption. You could also say that although you don’t expect an answer right now, you know what a good mother she would be, and that you’d at least hope that she would give adoption some consideration.

Infertility doesn’t always lead to adoption. Some women and men cannot wrap their minds around the thought of adopting a child. I know of several married couples who were good examples of the marriage vocation but were never blessed with children.

I’m not sure what methods of moral trying you are using, but the Pope Paul VI institute does have a counselor on their staff who works with people who are having troubles with infertility, miscarraige, etc… If you wish to PM me, I can send you their number.

I will keep you and your wife in my prayers.

Thanks for all the comments/suggestions! Just wanted to share quickly our story:
2005- HSG, clomid, etc
2006 - surgery to remove uterine fibroid
2007 - NaPro laproscopy to remove endometriosis
2007 - Napro laparotomy to remove endometrioma and meckle’s diverticulum that had endometriosis
3 weeks later - moved to South America (job)
3 days after arriving in country - emergency surgery due to peritonitis that resulted from small intestine leak (result of previous surgery)

This last operation was very scary and also affected one fallopian tube - it had to be cut open and drained as a result of the infection. We don’t know the status of everything else inside, but one thing is sure–we don’t want another surgery to find out!

Its definitely been a rough journey!


Give her time. I know that is a tired old answer, but it really is the only thing you can actively do right now. I was previously in an invalid “marriage” for 11 years - all of them infertile. I’m now married to my wonderful dear husband for a year and a half - still infertile.

Many years ago I was totally inconsolable. May is the worst month of all as the entire country (hopefully you will be sheltered a bit by this in Brazil) turns to Mother’s Day - I use to call it Praise All Mothers Day, because it just seemed as if I had no place in the world on that day. I would not go to Mass, I would not go to family functions, and I was so grateful that my own mother lived out of state so I didn’t have to deal with the day. It was the most painful and wrenching ordeal - for years. I got so very tired of everyone telling me to relax. I felt totally broken and useless - why else would I have been given these organs, just to cart them around and watch them bleed every month? They certainly aren’t doing what they are supposed to do!! Then it was the sex only for having a baby - my entire sex life became a chart and a purpose.

Then - one day, and I can’t even put on a finger on when, I just decided that it was enough. I couldn’t do it anymore, and so I wouldn’t. I gave up on the possibility of ever having children. I had grieved the child that never was every single month for years and years, and finally I was done. But it took me a very very long time to get there.

Now I’m married again, to a man who is 13 years younger than I, and some of that sadness and regret is starting to creep back, but I think that too much time has gone under the bridge for me, and I’m not prepared to look back. And he’s ok with that. At 43 I’ll just leave it in God’s hands (as if it was anywhere else to begin with :rolleyes: ).

Anyway - all this long drawn out saga is just to say - give her time. She may never get over her loss. But at some point she may be ready to start again.

Remember - adoption can have the very same losses as infertility at times. Be prepared to start and stop the process, get close to finding a child, then only to loose them for whatever reason. She needs to be very ready for that. And I don’t know that anyone who has been through prolonged and painful infertility really can be.


It looks like it’s been a while since you tried Chlomid, have you thought about doing it again? It was the second or third time my wife was on it that we finally got pregnant (after 3 to 4 years of infertility). Just a suggestion, you are in my prayers though!


My prayers are with you and your dear wife. I am not sure how infertility will ever be something that is going to be put away. Here is a site which may give you some tools to work with.

By Jeannie Hannemann, M.A., Director, Elizabeth Ministry International

Peace be with you and may His will be done.


I’m a husband and now father of 3 adopted children who knows your pain. I think the hardest part of the infertility for me wasn’t the actual infertility, but figuring out how to help my wife. Unfortunately, I don’t think I ever figured it out, but once we were finally able to adopt everything was better.

It’s very hard being in different places than your spouse on such a life changing issue, but with patience and tenderness you will get through it.

If you haven’t checked out any adoption agencies, you might just ask her if it would be alright for you to gather some information on adoption and different agencies so that if in the future you decide to adopt you’re ready. That way you don’t have to have a conversation about it, but she’ll understand where you are and hopefully will eventually become curious to what you find out.

If she balks at this idea you might remind her that adopting doesn’t mean you have to stop trying to get pregnant, and that this isn’t a commitment but just an option.

Good luck and God bless. I’ve had many struggles in my life, but this issue was without a doubt the most difficult.




Prayers for you & your wife. Infertility is a very painful journey. I have been dealing with infertility issues for 8+ years now. In that time my husband and I have been fortunate to have two children, but now we have been waiting & praying for #3 for over 2 years. It never gets easier.

I know how your wife feels. I find it very difficult to discuss infertility and the pain I go through directly with others. Luckily, I found an online group many years ago that is for Catholic women going through infertility. It is found through yahoo and the group address health.groups.yahoo.com/group/catholic-fertility/

A few years ago, the group moderators asked me to help moderate the group and it has been a real blessing in my infertility journey to pray with and get the support and knowledge of other women going through infertility. Would your wife be interested in joining our group? Sometimes the anonymity of the internet helps deal with the infertility journey where talking about it in “real life” is too painful.

We also now have a spin-off group specifically for those who feel called to adoption. When/if your wife feels comfortable discussing the process of adoption, she would be welcome to join that group as well!

There are two things that our group has really discerned over the years regarding infertility and adoption. The first is that adoption does not cure infertility. There is no cure for infertility, even for those who eventually go on to have children. The lingering stress and pain from the years of infertility do not go away. This is true for adoption as well, which is what you were saying in your first post. There is, maybe not for everyone a grieving process, but a mindset transformation. It’s not something that you can push or coerce, it has to come in its own time.

The second thing we have discerned is that adoption is a calling, a vocation. It can be so hurtful for infertile couples to hear, “Oh, you can always just adopt”, as if children are just interchangable. Adoption is a special calling from God, not just a next step in the infertility journey. I really think that you have to discern if adoption is right for you and if it is what God is asking of you.

It sounds like your wife is not yet ready to discern that call from God. I know that is frustrating for you. What you need to do is to pray for her and for both of you, ask God to send you His wisdom so you can discern what is the next right step for you.

If it is so painful for your wife to discuss the subject, could you try an email conversation? It may sound silly, but it might be easier for her to type her feelings than discuss them face to face. You might also give her some advanced warning, like: “Honey, I would really like to discuss the subject of adoption with you. This is very important to me. I know it’s hard for you to talk about, so I want you to think about it and I would like to set up a time to talk about it on (this date). We will only talk for about 10 minutes and if it gets too difficult then we can stop and try again the next day.” That way hopefully it won’t be too overwhelming for her.

If she is simply not in the same place that you are regarding adoption, but you are really feeling God’s call, then I would pray for your wife to open her heart to adoption. Invoke St. Joseph and ask for him to pray for your wife. And then have patience. Some of the women on our email list have prayed for years for their husbands to become open to adoption and many hearts have turned thanks to those prayers.

God bless you both. I hope God will help guide you and give you comfort on this journey!

Your wife is experiencing a loss. Give her some more time. Adoption is not just the next step, as one poster stated. Infertility can be so painful it can be hard to move on.
But as for you, you can start doing research on adoption on your own as you wait for your wife to come to terms with your situation. Then maybe you can broach the subject.

Dear J and P

My advise is probably not what you expect. I am personally affected by the same problem as you and your wife. So I feel such an ace in my heart for the pain infertility causes.
I am from Denmark. And I know that there are several couples in Denmark who experienced infertility and had no hope of having kids, who are today parents because they went to a meeting in a church where some people came who have the gift of healing. It is a danish couple. Both the husband and the wife has the gift. They do not belong to any traditional Church but they praise God and He receives all the honour. They pray in His name and many people are healed for various diseases.
When Jesus walked the earth He did excatly that. I think you and your wife could try this approach too as I am sure the US also has people with the gift of healing. I wish you all the best

I agree. As a woman dealing with nearly 4 years of unexplained infertility, I know that your wife must accept her loss, grieve it, and move on. It doesn’t sound like she is ready to do this.

I may be flamed for this, but I will say that I don’t think that men can quite understand how painful infertility is for a woman. Yes, the men involved lose their chance to be biological fathers and I know from living with my husband that this is painful, but we women have been told nearly from birth that we are to grow up, marry, and have babies that we will carry in our bodies and feed from our bodies after they’re born. The expectation to bear and nurse children is so ingrained in our minds and hearts that when we find out we cannot do this, we think that it’s a failing on our part and that we’re not real women. It doesn’t help that there are people out there who claim that a woman isn’t really a woman until she bears children (yes, I’ve encountered this attitude personally), or that there are people who insist that if a woman isn’t bearing children, it’s through some fault of hers (again, I’ve encountered this).

One thing that helped me deal with the infertility and the early loss of our only known pregnancy was confession. I don’t think that God would have necessarily held my anger and despair against me, but I found it immensely healing to take those things into the confessional, lay them out to our priest, and have him give me counsel and absolution. Perhaps your wife would find this to be healing as well.

Finally, I would drop the talk of adoption for the time being. She’s not ready to deal with it, and right now she may be thinking of it in terms of her failing as a mother. Give her time and let her bring it up when she’s ready.

I must agree with Anni.
Jesus still heals people and I too have heard of quite a lot of people who tried for a long time to get pregnant but who couldnt and they were given a miracle child after having received prayer with the laying on of hands in Jesus’ Name.
There are many ministries where Christians experience healings also in this area and I hope you will consider going to such meetings where people with the gift of healing are present. I am not saying you should put your utmost faith in it (and I am not saying you should not) but you have everything to gain and nothing to loose. Maybe Jesus wants to give you a miracle, even if it is inner healing that will enable your wife to go on with peace.

:slight_smile: Shalom to you all <><

Again, thanks everyone for all of the great information. We have decided to set a date and only talk about this subject once a month. She had one of her longest periods she can remember this month (33 days), so we became very hopeful. However we got the big let down this morning. Thanks for all your prayers!

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