Hannah's Heart
Catholic Infertility
Support Group
Jacksonville, FL

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Guidelines for Evaluation & Treatment of Infertility
for Catholic Couples (1)


Technologies Compatible with Catholic Teachings:

1.  Observation of the naturally occurring signs of fertility (Natural Family
     Planning) and timed intercourse on the days of presumed fertility.

2.  General medical evaluation of both spouses for infertility.

3.  Post-coital test to assess sperm number and viability in "fertile type"
     mucus.  These tests are undertaken after normal intercourse.

4.  Appropriate evaluation and treatment of male factor deficiency.
     Seminal fluid samples can be obtained from a non-
     perforated condom after normal intercourse.

5.  Assessment of uterine and tubal structural competence by imaging
     techniques (e.g.
ultrasound, hysterosalpingogram, etc.).

6.  Appropriate medical treatment of ovulatory dysfunction. 7.  Appropriate (usually surgical) correction of mechanical blocks to tubal
     patency (the state of being open).


Reproductive Technologies under Discussion (neither "approved" nor "disapproved"):

1.  Gamete intra-fallopian transfer (GIFT).

2.  Intrauterine insemination (IUI) of "licitly obtained" (normal intercourse)
technologically prepared semen sample (washed, etc.).


Reproductive Technologies in Disagreement with Catholic Teachings:

1.  Obtaining a sample of seminal fluid by masturbation.

2.  Artificial insemination by a non-spouse, or even by the husband if the
     sample is obtained and handled by non-
licit means (masturbated

3.  In vitro fertilization (IVF), zygote intra-fallopian transfer (ZIFT),
     intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), ovum donation
     and "surrogate" uterus.


"How do I know when a reproductive technology is morally right?"

The rule of thumb is:

Any procedure which assists marital intercourse in reaching its procreative potential is moral.  Procedures which add a "third party" into the act of conception, or which substitute a laboratory procedure for intercourse, are not acceptable.


1. The guidelines were taken from the Reproductive Technology Guidelines document published by the the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2009 (http://www.usccb.org/LifeGivingLove/).  Guidelines drawn from the document Donum vitae (1987). See also Dignitas personae (2008).