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America's Culture War: Marriage and Family

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Questions & Answers: Infertility Drugs and the Christian

by  Brad Harrub, Ph.D.

Q.

Is it wrong for Christians to use infertility drugs such as Clomid and Femara?

 

A.

Clomiphene citrate (commonly sold as Serophene and Clomid) and letrozole (sold as Femara) are medications used to stimulate ovulation. These drugs “trick” the brain into thinking the ovary is not producing an egg. The brain responds by increasing the production of the hormones that are responsible for stimulating egg development. Both drugs work in a similar fashion, but letrozole is cleared quickly from body, and is believed to be less likely to affect the uterine lining.

The side effects associated with these medications are normally minor, and may include hot flashes, mood disturbances, nausea, headaches, hostile cervical mucous, visual disturbances, ovarian enlargement and occasionally multiple pregnancies. Often, many of these side effects disappear with the onset of ovulation. However, bear in mind that women’s bodies are different from one another, and as such, their reactions to these infertility drugs vary tremendously.

The pills are normally taken on days 5-9 of a woman’s cycle. Patients are routinely started on a lower dosage, which is increased in the succeeding cycles. (A lower dosage also helps minimize hormonal imbalances that sometimes plague women during treatment.)

Clomid, Serophene, and Femara do not require injections, and do not involve any manipulation of the egg or sperm. They are simply medications used to “spur on” the brain to produce eggs and proceed through ovulation. There are no increased risks of miscarriage or congenital birth defects when compared to couples who conceived without fertility treatment.

These medications do not produce multiple embryos that will wind up discarded or frozen. Their use also does not introduce a third party into a married couple’s life, as is the case with donor sperm. This fertility treatment appears to be safe for both the user and potential offspring, and it upholds the sanctity of life. Thus, Christian women who have been medically evaluated and are having trouble with egg production and ovulation can rest assured that these medications do not violate biblical principles. While these medications have proven effective for many couples, potential patients should bear in mind that these drugs are incapable of resolving all fertility problems.




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