Infertility and Faith
Let me preface this by saying I am not mocking anyone for having faith in the Lord and that is not the intent of this post. I grew up going to Church every Sunday with my Parents, Grandparents, or Aunt, and sometimes even by myself on the bus from my Church for kids who wanted to go and the parents didn’t for whatever reason. As I grew older I grew distant from the Church. There were even times in my life I’ve flat-out rejected religion. However, I’ve settled on believing a relationship with the Lord is important for many people, but I can’t look at the Bible and not see a book written by men with all the mistakes men make.
I tell you this so you understand the background I’m coming from for what I’m about to write. When people say they are praying for us, my wife and I are truly touched. For someone to take the time in their relationship with the Lord to think about us means a lot. I feel the same for those who simply say they are thinking of us and find comfort in those words. Many thanks to all of you from the bottom of my heart.
But for the ones who’ve said (paraphrasing), “Have faith and the Lord will bless you if he wills it,” those words cut deeper than any blade ever could. To claim that our faith or lack of it is the reason we don’t have kids, while we watch others lie, cheat, and steal for drugs, then get pregnant and end up just aborting it. It’s asinine and downright cruel to say that to an infertile person.
Let’s take a brief look at the Bible regarding the infertility story of Abram and Sarai. (If you want the full story, read the Bible or click the link)
God told Abram (age 75) to take his wife Sarai (age 65) and nephew Lot to Canaan. The group travels to Egypt first where Abram tells Sarai to lie and tell the Pharaoh that Abram is her brother. Once the Pharaoh looked upon his beautiful wife, the Pharaoh would likely kill Abram to take Sarai, so this lie prevented Sarai from watching Abram die. The Pharaoh took Sarai into his service thinking she wasn’t wed. God then afflicted the Pharaoh’s household with great plagues, realizing Sarai and Abram were married and demanded they leave.
After living in Canaan for ten years with no kids, Sarai told Abram to take as a mistress her servant Hagar in the hopes she may give him children. At the age of 86 Abram becomes a father to Ishmael from Hagar. Hagar no longer respects Sarai and Sarai is jealous of Hagar being able to provide Abram with a child.
When Abram is 99, God blessed Abram as “Abraham, a father of many nations” and his wife now called “Sarah.” Sarah overhears a visitor telling Abraham how Sarah will have a child upon his return the next year, to which Sarah laughs at the idea of having a kid at 89. A year later Abraham (age 100) and Sarah (age 90) gives birth to Isaac. Sarah dies at the age of 127. Abraham takes another wife, pumps out a few more kids and dies at the age of 175.
It’s a lovely story, but there is no way a 65-year-old woman is so hot a Pharaoh would kill to have her. They didn’t even have Botox for crying out loud. And don’t give me that stupid explanation that people lived longer in those days. The ages just don’t add up.
- Leave Ur: Abram 75, Sarai 65
- Ishmael birth: Abram 86, Sarai 76
- Isaac birth: Abraham 100, Sarah 90
- Death: Abraham 175, Sarah 127
Maybe they just calculated years differently in those days and no one bothered to adjust the ages in these texts when those measurements were changed. Now I’m just talking out loud and I certainly haven’t done the research to support this claim. But I know the Babylonians were the first ones to start charting the moon. I also know how the ancients civilizations love the number 7. I asked myself, what if they considered a year to be 7 moon cycles in those times. Leaving me with the formula:
Modern age = (Biblical Age * 29 days * 7 cycles) / 365 days per year
Now lets look at those ages using the calculation above.
- Leave Ur: Abram 41, Sarai 36
- Ishmael birth: Abram 47, Sarai 42
- Isaac birth: Abraham 55, Sarah 50
- Death: Abraham 97, Sarah 70
Which makes more sense? A Pharaoh willing to kill over a hot 65-year-old woman or a 36-year-old one? That a woman was surprised to be giving birth at the age of 90, or 50? That Abraham lived to the old age of 175 or the age of 97?
The same is true about Sarah’s infertility. If Sarah was alive today she would go through a number of tests and doctors would know what the problem is. Statistically her chances were lower than normal, but still possible. I just don’t see God saying now you’re good enough to have kids with your wife when Abraham had no problem with other woman. I see a man excited that his wife was finally pregnant and recorded history in the context of his understanding at the time.
Now take a look at this chart.
If I’m lucky, I’m putting out a dozen sperm in each ejaculate. I can’t zoom in close enough to point out how little chance I have to conceive naturally. The next time someone tells me to “Have faith, and the Lord will bless me if he wills it,” don’t be surprised if my response is “Have $15,000 to give me, because that is what it is going to take for God to even have a chance of willing it”
You know what I thank God for? I thank God that he made scientists smart enough to figure out how fertility works. That we no longer live in an age where the woman is always at fault for infertility as was the case for thousands of years. I don’t have to look at my wife wondering why we aren’t having kids, that I know exactly why.
The night before we got the results for our blood test, I prayed. I prayed like I haven’t done since I was a kid. I prayed that God bring comfort to my wife if the IVF didn’t work. I’m not sure why I prayed for that, it just felt like the right thing to pray for.
(Edit: Upon actually doing some research I realized I should be using 29, not 28 in my calculation.)
© copyright 2011-2012