By Mary Bruno
Most men and women a desire to have children at some point in their life, yet 1 in 8 couples are infertile. Fifteen percent of all recognized pregnancies result in miscarriage.
Whether you are Catholic or not, this unexpected life circumstance can truly leave an ache in your heart and a ton of questions on your mind considering how frequently we hear the term “unexplained infertility.”
Infertility is both an emotional and physical condition. It is, actually, not a diagnosis in and of itself, but a symptom of some underlying problem(s) and warrants further investigation because it can, oftentimes, be improved.
We deserve that much.
As a Creighton Practitioner, I get a unique glimpse into the cycles and emotions of many women who are in this position and suffering greatly.
One of my clients has been infertile for about six years. She has had a failed intrauterine insemination procedure (IUI; often attempted prior to IVF) and a miscarriage. After about two cycles charted, I noticed limited mucus and mid-cycle unusual bleeding, which indicates hormonal abnormalities – an obvious cause of infertility and some miscarriages.
The client was stunned. After all of her own personal research and multiple visits with her reproductive endocrinologist, she started paying closer attention to her body. It revealed so many important details that she simply didn’t know how to look for or that it was even possible to gather so much information on her own – and, with the help of a trained instructor, of course.
A visit with her new NaProTechnology medical consultant, who was able to interpret her chart, brought her to the lab for some targeted blood draws (blood drawn at the appropriate time within the cycle) which confirmed low progesterone and estrogen. She recently began HCG injections post-ovulation which trigger the ovaries to produce more of these important hormones. She is also able to see how certain supplements are directly affecting her cervical mucus production, which is so important to human fertility.
She was relieved – and thrilled – to finally have some answers, direction and renewed hope. And, unlike IUI and IVF, these treatments are statistically more effective and fully supported by Church teaching.
This doesn’t mean that pregnancy will be guaranteed. It means a woman, who had no idea why she was infertile (because everything appeared normal on the surface), gained valuable knowledge from her body. It has also provided a clear direction for treatment and improved health.
Regardless of the outcome of her journey, this is what it means to truly be empowered. This is how we remove those first two letters from the term “unexplained infertility” and put a little more hope into the hearts of infertile couples.