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.

source

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

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About ivfmale

Just a guy dealing with infertility.

Posted on September 18, 2012, in Purgatory and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. I want to punch someone in the face every time they say oh dont worry it will happen when it happens…NO IT WONT…well not for us at least!!! All I do is hope for the best…I hope you get your BFP soon!!!

    • Financially we are done. We are considering an offer from family to pay for another attempt, but it’s a hard decision. It’s one thing to gamble with your own money, it’s hard for me to gamble with someone else’s. If the doctors see something they can do better on the next attempt we might go for it. If they say it was just bad luck then probably not.

  2. I agree with Cindy (above) I got the, “don’t try so hard, it will happen naturally” response yesterday. I’ve gotten the “if God wills it” response as well. I’ve argued and reasoned with God days in and out and though it hasn’t happened, I don’t believe my faith (or at times, lack thereof) is why we haven’t gotten pregnant yet. I do believe in God, and I also trust my doctors. But sometimes its OK to say “I don’t know why” and be angry and scream.

  3. From the heart and passionate thank you. Having been on the infertility road for seven years and a male I understand where you’re coming from. I’m here if you need someone to vent to.-Josh

    • The sad thing is we never even get to enjoy our infertility. All that money wasted on birth control just adds insult to injury. Thanks for connecting with me. And I’m here for you as well buddy.

  4. Infertility is just so unfair. As you point out, and as we all have anecdotal stories to retell, people who never wanted kids “get pregnant on the first try”. People who already have several kids, “have a surprised pregnancy at age 42 while using birth control.” People have children while they’re in prison. People have children they then abuse and even kill. And then there are people in loving relationships, who would make wonderful parents, who spend thousands and thousands of dollars on ART, and end up unable to have children. I don’t think God has anything to do with this!

    • Thank you. It’s hard because you know they are saying this in the hopes of helping. and they have no idea how painful those words really are.

  5. Luckily I haven’t gotten that comment yet but I think it’s pretty well known that I’m agnostic. All observable evidence points to physics and chemistry behaving predictably at the macroscopic levels we’re dealing with. (I say macroscopic in the sense that the randomness that occurs at the quantum level isn’t at play.) I 100% believe if we could completely understand the human genome we could predict the outcome of any egg/sperm interaction. Whether you believe these forces of nature were spontaneously created or there was Devine intervention is up to you (and why I’m agnostic.) Sorry this is getting lengthier than I meant it to. My point is, it sucks that we got dealt a shitty hand but I can’t believe it’s because we’re being punished or because we’d be bad parents.

    • I agree completely. I can’t help but laugh when someone argues against evolution, yet believes a DNA result on who the father is. Evolutionary theory is why medical science is advancing leaps and bounds. It doesn’t mean you still can’t love the Lord if that is your belief.

  6. There is not much I can say that you didn’t already say in this post, which is beautiful, by the way and one I wish I could send to all my family, friends, coworkers and acquaintances. I will say that I am heartbroken for your failed cycle.

    My husband’s mother has been drawing money out of a trust to cover our IVF. This money is for their gravy. It is for them to travel, live their retirement to the fullest and just enjoy life. The fact that every few months I am sucking thousands more dollars from their gravy money makes me want to throw up.

    That said, they have made it abundantly clear that this is something they believe in. They tell me over and over that they love, respect and always want me in their family even if this does not work. As much as my little brain has a hard time accepting it, my heart knows this is no-strings-attached money and that they will never hold it over my head if we don’t ultimately succeed. I don’t know if that is any help to you and your future decision. Do know that other people also accept the generosity of family.

    • Thank you so much for saying that.

      I know my family truly wants to help. I just want to see that the Doctors think they’ve learned something they can do better on the next cycle before committing to another attempt. We’ll see what the doctor’s say and then have a long talk with the family so they understand the risks involved.

    • I have a favor to ask of the Professor and I understand if he doesn’t want to. (I know I dread it when people ask me for computer help.) I was wanting to put a hard number to show how low my chances really are. But having not used those higher math skills in the last ten years I have no confidence in any number I come up with. I know he likes to solve problems. Any chance he could help me with this one?

  7. I’ve just come across your blog from Belle’s. I’m so so sorry about the BFN this month, must be hugely devastating for you and for your wife. Fingers and toes and eyes crossed there’s something they can tell you that will make a difference for next time.

    I don’t know if it’s something that you would ever consider and I hate bringing it up at all but just to say that we’re in the process of doing IUI with donor sperm. My husband is open to emailing about it if you ever would want to – it may not be relevant for you and I hope for you that there’s all kinds of options before then… Huge good luck to you guys, hoping you use your great family support and it would never come to it – but just putting it out there.

    • Thank you.

      We are considering using donor sperm from my father as one of our options. I have some personal issues to overcome before considering donor sperm from a stranger. Maybe in the future I can get past them and look at donor sperm as an alternative. I would be interested in what you husband’s thoughts are on the matter.

      ivfmale@gmail.com

      • I’m going to pass on your blog and details to my hubs, we’re just in the TTC stage ourselves so no final answers here but always nice to reach out to others.

    • That would be great. I found reaching out to others dealing with the same struggles to be a big help and I wish I had started reaching out sooner. There are some things we have to get off our chest sometimes that outsiders just don’t understand.

      If you have a place on twitter, facebook or blog you are updating your progress let me know. Wishing you the best on your journey!!!

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