Promotes a natural way to postpone or achieve pregnancy with a medically safe and effective method that requires both husband and wife to take equal responsibility for family planning.
Marriage, the Church teaches, is celebrated and lived as a Holy Sacrament. It is the union of one man and one woman, body and soul, for life. It was designed by God to be shared in love and service to one another, and to create a family in love. Natural Family Planning (NFP) is a body of knowledge based on naturally occurring signs and symptoms that identify signs of fertility or infertility. NFP is not contraception, rather a method of fertility awareness and appreciation. It is highly effective when a mutually motivated couple shares in the responsibility of family planning. Many couples say that NFP deepens their spiritual life, strengthens their marriages and enriches respect for one another and the gift of life. A recent study suggests that couples who practice NFP have a divorce rate of only 3%. NFP is taught in the diocese by certified practitioners.
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is a reproductive technology in which a new human being is conceived by joining egg and sperm in a glass dish (In Vitro is Latin for “in glass”). This technology depersonalizes the act of generating a child into a technical process in a laboratory rather than the loving act between spouses designed by God for our cooperation in the formation of a new human being. The technology is also fraught with ethical immoralities. Eggs and sperm can be purchased from donors in search of creating “designer babies” or babies with specific traits and physical characteristics. Embryos – individual, distinct human beings – must be created in order to be implanted in the mother’s womb to try to achieve a successful live birth. Fertility clinics routinely produce many embryos for each mother because the death rate for IVF embryos is high. Clinics will also routinely transplant several embryos at once into the mother’s womb hoping that at least one embryo will survive. If more embryos than are wanted continue to develop in the womb, many clinics will offer “selective reduction” (targeted abortion) to eliminate the unwanted “extra” children. This can take a terrible psychological toll on the couple who so desperately desires children. At present, there are approximately 500,000 embryos in frozen storage today that have been left at fertility clinics. Many of the parents of these embryos leave them in this condition because they cannot knowingly give their children up to be used as research material or allow them to be destroyed or implanted in someone else’s body. These abuses (and other abuses regarding using embryos for scientific research) are a natural outgrowth of the original decision to turn child bearing into a manufacturing process. The new life that is sought may be highly valued - as a means to meet parents’ goals for family size or as a means for scientific knowledge – but this human life is not respected as human beings deserve to be respected.
Mary Kortright, Family/Respect Life Program Coordinator Mkortright@syrdio.org
- What is Natural Family Planning (NFP)?
- NFP FAQ
- Theology of NFP
- NFP Novenas
- Standards for Diocesan NFP Ministry (from the USCCB)
- For Natural Family Planning Help, click here