Assisted Fertility Resources for Pastoral Caregivers
Providing effective pastoral care starts by recognizing and affirming that the assisted fertility process can be incredibly disruptive in many ways.
Helpful Resources & Advice:
About the Family Building Journey
Even under the best conditions, trying to get pregnant using assisted fertility can be incredibly challenging. It is an intense process with an uncertain outcome. The nature and degree(s) of the intensity can vary widely according to the expectations, identities, and circumstances of those involved. Person(s) without significant economic resources or health insurance that covers these treatments will face considerable added stress. Additionally, people with non-dominant identities or family structures (including single individuals, people in same-sex or queer relationships, and people who identify as transgender or non-binary1) will likely have an even more difficult experience due to ignorance and bias in the medical system.
A note on language: this resource uses gender-neutral and family-neutral language in recognition that there are multiple paths under which an individual, couple, or group of people might be involved in assisted fertility treatment. In some cases, for example, donors of eggs and/or sperm play an ongoing role beyond their donation of genetic material. Also, a same-sex couple or an individual trying to get pregnant on their own is not struggling with “infertility” per se. The phrase “assisted fertility” is intended to include both these situations where additional genetic material must come from elsewhere, as well as situations where a male-female couple is unable to conceive on their own.
1 For more information on what it means to be transgender or non-binary, visit the National Center for Transgender Equality.
2 This essay on What Parents Need Most from Their Pastors After a Miscarriage is written for counseling cisgender male-female Christian couples, but many of the recommendations can be adapted for other person(s).
Article contribution by Rev. Rob Keithan
As the Minister of Social Justice, Rev. Rob Keithan supports the church’s many issue groups, works to bring effectiveness and spiritual depth to the social justice ministry overall, and helps to lead the church’s efforts to challenge racism and white supremacy. He also support the church’s small group ministry. Beyond All Souls Church Unitarian, Rev. Keithan serves as a consultant specializing in counter-oppressive transformation, congregational social justice programs, and long-term culture change related to reproductive health, rights and justice.