Infertility affects about 6.7 million people each year. That’s one out of every eight couples. The crushing effects of being unable to conceive a baby can lead to loneliness, depression, anger, and heartache.
If you’re carrying the cross of infertility, know that you do not carry it alone. God is always with you. And He will never abandon you.
But more tangibly, there are faith-filled people in your community, in your state, and throughout the country who carry the same cross. They, too, know the pain of wanting a child. Connecting with them, befriending them, and sharing your thoughts and feelings help the healing process. There are thousands of people who have come together to form Catholic communities to help one another. You can find them virtually anywhere—and virtually!
If you have been unable to conceive a baby or carry a baby to term, reach out to others for support. The benefits are many! By joining a group of people who share the same experiences, you gain strength, increase your faith, and create friendships. Knowing that you’re not alone also helps you psychologically. You learn ways to cope with this cross. And you learn ways to heal. Further, in talking with others, you can educate yourself about ethical fertility treatments, like NaProTechnology. And you can learn about adoption options.
Below are some awesome infertility support groups—both online and in person—that we found that can help you during this difficult time. Read through the information to find the one that’s right for you. All are full of wonderfully caring people who want you to know that you aren’t alone and who are willing to walk this path with you.
Infertility Support Groups
This group’s ministry is to create awareness about infertility problems. It helps promote understanding of the Church’s teachings on infertility. It helps you find moral treatment options. It even helps you learn about adoption or foster care options. In addition, it offers comfort to those grieving after a stillbirth or miscarriage. Though the ministry is based out of Orange County, California, it has a Facebook group that anyone can belong to. So if you don’t live in the area, you can still belong to the group and benefit from the support of its members. The website provides links to blogs where you can read the stories of people in similar situations. It also offers both Catholic resources and medical resources.
This is a private Facebook group for Catholic women who are seeking support as they deal with infertility. According to the page, “This board should be a ‘safe haven’ for those dealing with infertility that don’t want to be bombarded with the typical suggestions of the outside world [i.e., IVF].” So you can be assured that friends you meet here share your beliefs and will not pressure you to use unethical means to conceive a child. With almost 800 members, this group is sure to offer encouragement and support and maybe even help brighten your days.
This was created as part of the Rabboni (meaning teacher) Institute to offer healing and support services for women struggling with infertility and pregnancy loss. The Rabboni Institute bases its teachings and work on St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. Its aim is the “restoration of God’s original plan for Man and his intimate relationship with his Creator, fellow man and the environment.” Though it’s based out of Austin, Texas, those seeking community outside this area can also find it online. Its website says the group offers retreats, support groups, prayer services, and even Bible study curricula. In addition, anyone can read its blog for comfort and support. And its Facebook page offers an online community of friends, group Rosaries, prayers, education about moral fertility treatments, and more!
This Catholic ministry was started by two women who met while attending the John Paul II Institute for Studies in Marriage and Family at the Catholic University of America. After sharing their stories of infertility, they decided to begin a ministry to help others going through the same struggles. They lead retreats throughout the country and even encourage members to begin a ministry in their own parish, if there isn’t already one. During Lent, Springs in the Desert offers online prayer meetings where members can share with others. Among the many ways that the group offers support is a virtual chapel where you can share your prayer requests and respond to those of other people.
You can find chapters of Elizabeth Ministry throughout the country. In part, its mission is to serve as a resource for anyone mourning infertility, the loss of a child, miscarriage, or stillbirth. The organization helps couples learn about the adoption process and supports those with infertility problems. Its online support also helps you find resources in your area.
In addition, many parishes offer support groups. Check with yours or any parishes near you to find if any exist. If not, start one yourself. Many of the resources above will also teach you how to start a group. All you need is permission from the parish, a room, and the strength to put yourself out there.
Infertility is a painful cross to bear, but you do not have to bear it alone. There are people who want to help. There are people who want to support you. With God’s mercy and strength, and with faith-filled friends, you will find your hope increased, your joy in life invigorated, and your cross a little bit lighter.