And Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren. And the Lord granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived. .
— Genesis 25:21
And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.
— Luke 1:6-7
“Claire, you and Ted are never going to be able to have a baby of your own. Consider adopting a war orphan while you are overseas in Italy.”
— Dr. Isidor Rubin to my mother in 1948
I believe that I am warranted in writing this blog because that famous Ob/Gyn (Rubin was a pioneer in evaluating tubal disease) was incorrect when he diagnosed my mother as being beyond hope back in 1948. After five years of being “barren” to use the biblical term, my mother gave birth to my oldest brother in 1950 and my middle brother in 1955. In 1963, my mother was 40 years old when I arrived on the scene in spite of the fact that another fallible physician (my Dad no less) initially diagnosed my mother as being menopausal when she was actually in the early stages of her pregnancy with me. All in all, my parents endured the challenges and uncertainty of infertility along with eight (8!) traumatic miscarriages over the course of nearly twenty years.
Times have changed; technology has changed; we physicians do our best but, alas, we are not privy to God’s plans for any family.
“Calling” is another biblical term, and I have always felt called to help couples overcome infertility because of the suffering that my own parents endured with this affliction.
Infertility is one of the most common afflictions in the Bible. No less than seven notable couples suffered emotionally and physically with an inability to conceive. What these couples also had in common was that God had a plan for each of them. As a converted Christian and as a physician who believes that I am serving God by helping my patients, my faith in God’s plans impacts how I practice and how I advise patients. No couple is ever beyond hope because all things are possible with God.
Infertility is one of those “long-suffering” (my third and final biblical term) challenges in life, and despite all the technologies offered by modern medicine, the outcome of treatment is still in the hands of our Creator, the true Giver of Life. For those fertility patients who are fellow believers, please know that you are not alone in your struggles. My family has known your suffering, and I am always willing to share some words of encouragement or a prayer for peace for our journey.