Infertility Options and Ethics

Careful and Prayerful


If you have personally experienced the pain of infertility or walked with someone who has, you know it is not an easy road. Month after month, year after year, the heartbreaking reality drives many desperate couples do almost anything to produce a child. But how far is too far? What are the ethical implications of fertility treatments? How should we counsel those suffering with the pain and confusion of infertility? 

In this 14 minute video from The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference, Lauren Hansen sits down with Dr. Megan Best to answer those questions and more. Megan Best is a palliative care doctor, bioethicist, and university lecturer in Sydney, Australia. She is also the author of two books: Fearfully and Wonderfully Made and A Life Already Started. 


What has been your experience with infertility—either personally or through a friend, family member, or church member? What was the most painful part of that experience for you? How did it test your faith?
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Megan mentioned a number of options for Christians suffering with infertility:

  • Accept it without pursuing a wide range of treatments.
  • Wait, because sometimes it is a matter of impatience.
  • Inquire into the cause of it.
  • Pursue adoption.
  • Carefully seek therapies and treatments.

In light of these options, what path would you recommend to someone who came to you for infertility guidance or advice? Why?
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Megan said, “There will be some practices [like in vitro fertilization] that are not ethically acceptable to a Christian who wants to protect human life from fertilization. Christian couples should be particularly careful as they go through the process.” 

Have you ever thought about the ethical implications of fertility treatments? Do you think options like IVF or surrogacy are ethical? Why or why not?
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Megan said, “It is okay to use medical technology to correct physical problems that stop us from becoming pregnant, but we do not want to be okay with having children at any cost. It is in God’s hands, not something we deserve…God really does want what is best for us, and sometimes it is hard to cope with that fact…We need to support our friends, but help them keep the perspective that it is possible to have a rich and fulfilling life without children.” 

Describe a time when you were suffering and someone counseled you with sensitivity and truth. How did that impact you? When you counsel infertile couples or others suffering, how do you balance compassion and sensitivity with encouragement to trust God? How could you grow in this?
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What is one thing in your life that you feel like you deserve (baby, spouse, health, dreams, retirement) and why? If God never gives you that, or takes it away, how could you grow to more deeply trust in His best for you?
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For those of us who haven't personally experienced infertility, we may never understand the pain. But that does not mean God will not use us to love, encourage, and listen to our friends who are going through it now. May we offer compassionate counsel rooted in the hope and good news of the gospel. 


For more information about The Gospel Coalition, click here.