Infertility & Pregnancy Loss

Drawing on my decade-long struggle with infertility treatment and Dr. Cutrer’s more than twenty-five years of medical expertise, our coauthored books about infertility explore this spiritual, marital, emotional, medical, and ethic crisis. We offer a unique male/female, doctor/patient, and clinical/theological combination of perspectives.

A Journey Through Miscarriage
Six hundred thousand U.S. women experience miscarriage each year. One in every 50 couples trying to have children experience multiple miscarriages. As many as 120,000 couples each year suffer at least their third consecutive miscarriage.

A Heart’s Desire
Why Does It Hurt So Much?
A couple sat to eat lunch with me after I had spoken at an infertility symposium. As we began to talk, I asked the wife, “When you grieve over your infertility, what is your greatest loss?” She didn’t have to think about her answer. “It’s the loss of a dream; my heart’s desire is to have my husband’s child and raise it together.” I turned to the husband and addressed him. “And you?”

Dealing with Aunt Bertha and Other Well-Intentioned Dragons
Whenever I sit in a room full of quiet fertility patients, I’ve found a quick way to get the conversation started. I simply ask, “Has anyone ever been insensitive about your infertility?” At first they give me the “duh” look, indicating that the stupidity of my question is on par with, “Has Oprah ever been on a diet?” But after that momentary pause, they stumble over each other with anecdotes.

Secondary Infertility: The Baby Blues
When Charla and Bob Boyl tried to have a second child, they were shocked to discover they had a fertility problem. The Boyls have plenty of company; at least one in twelve couples of childbearing age experience secondary infertility. They have one child, maybe more, then find that after a year or more of trying, they have been unable to conceive or carry another pregnancy to term.

KCBI Interview
Psychologist David Henderson interviewed me about infertility and pregnancy loss and their effect on women, especially as they affect marriage and faith.

Transcript of 2009 Moody Radio Broadcast
For the couple that’s going through infertility, I would say it’s often the very first thing a couple goes through in their young time together, the first major grief they experience together and they’re floored to find out how differently they deal with it. And just to know that this doesn’t mean you have a lousy marriage, it can actually mean you have a strong marriage, you just need to recognize we‟re not the same.

Infertility FAQ
In English & Spanish
Are infertility and sterility the same thing?
Isn’t infertility really a woman’s problem problem?
Is infertility rare?

In Search of the Stork
When Heather Patterson hadn’t conceived after trying 18 months for a second child, she consulted her physician. At 32, she dropped her jaw when he told her she had begun early menopause. “I cry a lot now,” she said. “Especially when I receive baby shower invitations.”

Facing the No-Baby Blues
“I think I just need to relax,” I told my ob/gyn after my annual examination. “We’re putting in long hours with our youth group, I work full-time, and my husband just finished seminary.” I had believed the myth that the cure for infertility is relaxing.

“I’m Pregnant”: How to Tell Infertile Friends
Tears burned in Kathy’s eyes. It was painful enough to cuddle with her nieces and nephews when she and Kevin longed for a baby. Then, as the family circled the holiday dinner table, her sister exclaimed, “Kathy, I haven’t had a chance to tell you—I’m pregnant again!” All of the relatives stared at their plates. Kathy said later, “I was the only one who didn’t know. I’m sure she was excited about her good news, but my sister did an awful job of telling me she was expecting.”

When Mother’s Day Never Comes
Every year on a Sunday in May, pastors ask mothers to stand. In some churches all the mothers will receive a flower. Restaurants will offer bargain meals to families honoring Mom. On Mother’s Day we honor the sacrifices our mothers have made and continue to make—and well we should. But for millions of couples, Mother’s Day is “M-Day,” the most dreaded holiday of the year. For these couples—the ones experiencing fertility problems—this day serves as a reminder of what they long to have but which eludes their grasp. A child.

Ethics & Infertility

The Ethics of Using Leftover Embryos
What can we do about all the frozen embryos slated for destruction? Avoid cryopreservation of embryos. First, we need to avoid the waste of more embryos by counseling couples pursuing assisted reproductive technologies to limit the number of eggs fertilized to the number they’re committed to carry to term. With in vitro fertilization procedures, each mature egg is placed in a separate dish. So in the case of abundant eggs, embryologists can limit the number of eggs exposed to sperm. Generally when couples request this, clinics honor their ethical desires.

When the Cradle is Empty: Ethical Solutions
Ten years ago, the news reported that a California couple had become part of the world’s first five-parent arrangement. Having contacted the unmarried birthparents of their adopted child, they asked for a biological sibling. By that time, the birth parents had split up and lived in different states, but they offered to donate eggs and sperm. Because the adoptive mother was unable to carry a pregnancy, the adoptive father’s adult daughter (from another marriage) served as a surrogate.

Read the headlines or browse news stories these days and you’ll find all sorts of medically related topics. Cloning. Infertility. Test tube babies. Euthanasia. Stem cell research. Embryo adoption. Surrogacy. These are just a sampling, right? My journey through infertility and pregnancy loss has given me a front-row seat in some of the bioethics conversations—a seat I never would have pursued had my situation not demanded answers.

Multiple Choices: Navigating the Moral Mine Field of Fertility Treatment
We didn’t put much thought into the “right and wrong” of what we were doing. We wanted a baby and either of us probably would have sacrificed anything for success. How many to fertilize, what to do with “leftover embryos,” whether we’d consider using a donor, destroying embryos without thinking—answering those questions beforehand saved us lots of stress in the midst of IVF.

On August 24, I wrote a piece about Plan B, which the FDA had just approved. Afterward, someone left this comment: How do they (scientists) not know whether or not Plan B sheds or doesn’t shed the uterine wall? That seems like it would be simple to find out. If Plan B did in fact do this…would this change some of your opinions?


Un Anhelo Del Corazón
¿Por qué es tan doloroso?
Después de haber dictado una conferencia sobre infertilidad tuve la oportunidad de almorzar con una pareja. Mientras charlábamos le pregunté a la esposa: “¿Qué es lo que te causa más dolor cuando lamentas ser infértil?”

Further Resources

Posts on Infertility & Pregnancy Loss

An interview with a birth-mom who made an adoption plan: Christine Lindsay

By Blog Interviews With Writers, Infertility, JusticeNo Comments

November is Adoption Awareness Month. So I’m featuring here an author who has a book that considers all sides of the adoption triad.  SG: You are a reunited birth-mom—a woman who made an adoption plan for her baby who has met her biological child as an adult. Was the the day you met your birth-daughter a happy one? Christine: Sadly, no. It was as painful as the day I said goodbye to Sarah as a three-day-old baby in 1979. In fact, more painful. At least on the former day, I was filled with faith that she and I would be reunited one day when she became an adult. For the next twenty years as she grew up as another couple’s child, I prayed for the time when I would see her again. But on that day, Sarah’s mom and dad were extremely upset by my desire to meet the now-adult Sarah….

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Life Is Hard, but God Is Good

By Arts, Books, Infertility, Life In The Body4 Comments

In the past two months, I have buried my father and walked my daughter through open-heart surgery. The “windsock in her heart,” as her surgeon described it, that had blood flowing the wrong way, was apparently congenital, but we didn’t discover it till this past July. She is still in the hospital, but she made it great through surgery on Tuesday. So now, in my great relief, I have some time to reflect on the whirlwind that has been my life for the past two months. My overwhelming sense is that I’ve been covered in the love of God. The Almighty works with precise timing that may not always thrill us in the moment (surgery the day before my first day of classes!?), but in retrospect is always perfect, and designed for our greatest good. That my father died during the summer meant Oregon was beautiful (such beauty heals me),…

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The Only Child: #Doesn’tPlayWellWithOthers & Other Myths

By Infertility, Life In The BodyNo Comments

My post yesterday at  Jairus’s daughter. John Updike. Condoleezza Rice. Cary Grant. Chelsea Clinton. My grandmother. And my mother. Do you think “most selfish people in the world” when you hear these names and labels? Neither do I. But they were or are all only children. And the stereotype of only children is that they refuse to share, act spoiled, and hog the biggest bowl of ice cream. Fortunately, this caricature of only kids as brats with tiaras or ponies on the back forty has changed somewhat in the past four decades, in part because more people have “onlies.” Whereas 10 percent of American families had an only child in 1976, by 2014 that number had doubled. Some place the percentage as high as twenty-three. And in New York City, like other urban centers, the number is closer to 30 percent. Mothers with master’s degrees have more only children than…

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