Friday, December 12, 2008

New Instruction from the Vatican

Just released today! (I have connections, lol!)

Here is a link with video clips from a Bishop in Ireland, and Dr. Phil Boyle, NaPro specialist in Galway, speaking about Dignitas Personae:

Interestingly, Dr. Boyle speaks as if the document takes a clear stand on IUI (in opposition to it). However, from reading the document, specifically the last full paragraph on pg. 7, I do not see a definitive position. I know that NaPro does not and has never used IUI in their treatment, but I was hoping that when this document was released we'd finally have a solid answer one way or another!! I mean, I know how I feel about it, and why I'm opposed to it (on both a moral and a scientific level... especially after reading Dr. Toth's research on infection being spread more rapidly via IUI, as well its bypassing the natural filter for abnormal sperm forms, etc. etc.) But it would be nice to have some concrete answer for couples who may ask me what the Church's position is, at the Support Group meetings.

I'm having my Dr. look over the document, to see if she can make heads or tails of that subject.

As for the rest of it, I'm so happy that these issues were finally addressed by the Church. And I love Dr. Boyle's response to it, especially in regards to how the Church's position on fertility treatments are often viewed as strictly prohibitive. Definately read the document and watch the video clips when you get a chance.


Sew said...

I am your Creighton groupy follower! :)

Karey said...

I didn't see anything about IUI. Is it called another name in the document? Does it fall under the umbrella of homologous artificial fertilization?

Despite how happy I was with their reinforced opposition to IVF, I was very disappointed that IUI was not directly addressed. And I was also hoping for a more definitive decision on embryo adoption.. while their language in one paragraph seems clearly against it, in the next it seems to leave some room for debate. I just really hoped this document would put the debate surrounding these two issues to rest, one way or another. Then again, I could be completely missing something and maybe it did address both. I can't wait to hear expert opinion on this.

And I know what you mean about wanting specific info for the support group. When the Church isn't clear on something, how can we be expected to be?

Amy @ This Cross I Embrace said...

Yes, it's under the homologous artificial insemination. In the first line of that paragraph, it seems to oppose all IUI. Then in the last sentence they quote Donum Vitae and say, "with the exception of cases where the technical means does not substitute for the conjugal act." When does IUI ever NOT substitute the conjugal act? This is what I asked my Dr, and she's getting back to me on it after reviewing.
And I know what you mean about the embryo adoption issue, too. My 1st take was that it was opposed for the same reasons as surrogacy or heterologous AI. But then they do never do make a decisive statement about it.
At LEAST, though, the issues were brought to light. Overall, it seemed clear to me after reading that the primary goal is respect for the act of procreation and all human beings involved... and I do think it tends to LEAN more toward the opposition of IUI and embryo adoption.

Sew said...

I am really interested to know what vitamins help the swimmers!

Also I heard you were on D3 for immune system. There is another pill out there that my girlfriends husband takes for his r/arthritis for his immune system. Just wondering...

tiffany said...

I was talking about that confusing sentence with my husband, and he thought of a possible interpretation that might allow for IUI. I'm not sure, but I think one of your options with IUI is to use a "collection condom". If you did, and then used the collection for IUI, you wouldn't be separating the conjugal act from conception. And you'd be using the IUI "to facilitate and to help so that the act attains its natural purpose”. We might be wrong, but it seems like an example where IUI would not substitute the conjugal act....

Amy @ This Cross I Embrace said...

I think you're right, Tiffany. And I know this is the means by which Catholics have done IUI in the past (when Donum Vitae didn't give a specific answer, either).
But Dr. Boyle's interpretation seems so far from what I read that I'm just totally confused!
Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Karey said...

I've always been confused about that when it comes to IUI. It's one thing to use a collection condom to have tests done on sperm count, etc., but to use it to actually get pregnant is another. It just seems like the doctor is still involved in the actual conception. It's not what he did before-hand that allowed for roadblocks to be removed (like with Clomid or treating endo).. but he/she is actually involved in the process. It's like the actual sex-act is disjointed.. you do the act at one time and then at a completely separate time you conceive. Maybe I don't understand how IUI actually works.. am I making any sense?

I am not saying I know what is right or wrong.. I just am really confused! It seems more clear-cut to me, yet I know it must not be clear-cut because there are many devout Catholics who debate this very subject. Which is why it'd be nice for the Church to give us more instruction on this!

Sew said...

I wonder how far the conscious gets involved in a situation like this. My conscious can't handle an IUI. It seems so sterile to me, as if the child was demanded by me, and I will do anything to get it. I think it is selfish.

It is a powerless situation and I felt that when we made our appointment at the local fertility clinic, I was taking power over the powerless situation, and I told God I will show you, I am going to get my baby. That is what I felt when I made our appointment, I didn't necessarily say those things, but by my actions that is what I felt. It was an internal battle that haunted me day in and day out. Thankfully my conscious screamed at me enough to cancel our appointment.

But then I think we need to look at the whole situation. If you do not believe in reduction (abortion of live embryo's implanted in the mother's womb) which they do at fertility clinics. Then how can one justify going there to get help. Will they take care of you when they do not even respect the smallest forms of life and that is the embryo. They keep them frozen in freezers. I wonder if that is why there hearts are frozen, and they care not to cure infertility, yet push ART procedures. So if you do not believe in abortions, you should not necessarily go to a place that performs them. Simple as that. Infertility is a disease and it needs to be treated as one.

Do I judge if a Catholic couple has attempted an IUI. I can't go there, not my conscious. I understand the situation, so I can't tell another, but I would remain opionated about the subject. My heart aches for the women that are desperate. There is help out there, there are other options. Our church does not bind our hands and tell us we are not worthy of children. But it tells us to respect all forms of life. And what is taken from us in this life will be rewarded in the next. Infertility is a beautiful cross, not always pretty, but totally worth the struggle. With Creighton, I think your answers for your infertility will be addressed. So you can either act on curing your infertility, or close the chapter and move on.

Just my humble opinion. :) :)

Amy @ This Cross I Embrace said...

I definately agree. In my mind, it seems so obvious that IUI, even if done in a "moral" way, is not how God intended conception to be. And as I mentioned before, taking the ethical question out altogether, we're still left with the question of nature. Is it wise to try to force something in the body if it isn't working for some reason? Why not find the reason why it isn't working? I'm a firm believer that our body sends us messages and signals when something needs fixing... so if conception is not occuring due to hostile cm or whatnot, find and fix what is causing the hostile cm.

But then again, I also know many wonderfully faithful Catholics who feel very strongly that IUI only helps to get the sperm where they are naturally supposed to be headed. I understand their point of view... but just can't get myself to ever agree with that.

Anyway, thank you for all the opinions and thoughts on this subject! I'll post again when I hear back from Dr. Jean.

E said...

I, too, was disappointed that there was not a definitive answer about IUI. Maybe since the Church has said that GIFT is ok since it bypassing blocked tubes, etc then maybe some are looking at IUI as bypassing the cervix. It is quite a debate!

Fight The Good Fight of Faith said...

Thanks for posting the videos. It will be an interesting read. I'm more curious now that i've watched the videos, just hadn't have time to sit and read.

Sew said...

How did you meeting with the women go?

KC said...

I just wanted to put in my 2 cents!

I think the deal with the IUI and the collection condom is that the condom is supposed to be perforated. (This is what my doctor told us.) So that some sperm still get out of the condom during the actual act. Then, like Tiffany stated in her comment, the insemination is just helping the sperm get to the right place.

But I can see why there is such confusion. If the bishops were going to publish such a detailed document, why wouldn't they include a few more details about this one issue? It is disappointing.

My husband and I did an IUI although we wont be doing anymore. I guess I personally don't see any issue with it since when done "properly" (perforated condom), it does not seem to replace (negate the need for) the conjugal act, but I can see why some do.

Obviously with very educated people arguing on both is not unexpected that we would have several different opinions about it. But I do hope that through NaPro, I will be able to find an answer to our problems that does not require me to delve into a "gray area" anymore!

Kristin said...

Although this is a bit late in the conversation, I just wanted to add my perspective. My husband and I are a Catholic couple dealing with MFI and we have never done an IUI. Although I completely agree with the comments that an IUI isn't how conception was intended, I read the document to say that IUI's with perforated condoms were ok...."A medical intervention respects the dignity of persons when it seeks to assist the conjugal act either in order to facilitate its performance or in order to enable it to achieve its objective once it has been normally performed”. I also wanted to comment on the discussion about using the Creighton method to find out what is wrong and correcting the problem instead of turning to ART. I completely agree with that when it is the woman who has been found to have IF issues. But what happens when the man is found to have the IF issues? I'm not familiar enough with Creighton or NaPro...does this offer help for men out there as well? It seems like there is little research of possible causes and solutions to MFI. The only solutions I've read are vitamins, less stress, and avoiding hot tubs. What is there to "fix"? What can I do? All the things so many of you women have done, low GI diets, hormone supplements, losing weight, surgery, won't do anything to help our situation. I guess I just wanted to share a perspective of a Catholic woman who is dealing with MFI...there's another side to the Catholic infertility story. It is easy to say Catholics should not do an IUI because they should be working to "fix" the problem. But when no one knows what the problem is or even what possible solutions are, and the Church comes out with a statement that talks about medical interventions that seek to assist the act I think Catholic women should not be so quick to pass judgment on other Catholics who do chose to do an IUI. Some of us don't have the opportunity to find out what is wrong and then try to fix it.

Amy @ This Cross I Embrace said...

I'm sorry if it seemed like I was passing judgement... that certainly wasn't my intent. I PERSONALLY don't agree with IUI, but the Church has (in the moral collection sense) seemed to have condoned it in Dignitas Personae.

As for MFI, I can absolutely sympathize with your situation. There are, actually, many different routes one can go in for MFI to try to improve those #s in all areas. 1 would be to rule out (or in) a varicocele, and possibly have surgery to correct it. I know many women whose DHs have done this surgery and they conceived afterwards.
2 would be to take Proxeed Plus. This is a supplement specifically recommended by NaPro Drs for MFI. It can help drastically, if no varicocele is present.
3 would be to rule out infection. Oftentimes (as I've recently discovered), the sperm are reacting to infection in the semen, the same way that the cervix does (and becomes hostile). Dr. Toth, a specialist in NYC, has a WONDERFUL treatment plan which has already helped thousands of couples with MFI.

Interestingly, Dr Toth himself is not a NaPro Dr, and has performed IVF in the past. But in his 2 books, he openly speaks out AGAINST IUI, from the point of view of a pathologist and ob/gyn. He feels very strongly that if IF exists, it is most often caused by some underlying infection, and the cervix is fighting that infection from passing to the upper reproductive tract. In an IUI, though, you surpass the cervix and, if infection WAS the cause of IF, you have now infected the uterus, tubes, and ovaries. In his opinion, everyone should go his route first, before resorting to any ARTs.

So, again returning to my stance on IUI, I feel pretty strongly that when there is something standing in our way for our fertility, it is a sign that something needs to be fixed, not surpassed. HOWEVER, as my DH had 3 horrible SAs himself, I can certainly understand the desire to do IUI... and would never pass judgement on anyone who did use it. I'm sorry if it came across that way.

Oh... and once the sperm are improved the best they can be, Creighton can still be used to achieve pg by pinpointing the best days for intercourse. There are cases of men with ONLY 10,000 sperm still able to conceive by using the most fertile day.

I hope this helps you! Keep me posted on your progress from here... I'll keep you and DH in my prayers.