The Wisdom of Melissa

P1030754 copyI was such a chicken in the beginning.

really didn’t want to write about IVF.

“I think you have to,” Melissa gently encouraged. “It wouldn’t be responsible to write a book on barrenness and not talk about the medical side of things. It’s a part of the whole issue. Every woman ends up there at some point or other.”

Melissa was right. She usually is. Her wisdom is 3 parts Scripture and 1 part grit, shaken in a tall tumbler made strong as iron from countless barbell cleans, burpees, and a life lived under the cross of Christ.

I ceased splashing my filmy, water-color impressions of infertility medicine on the page and, instead, drew careful, measured lines through the landscape of infertility ethics. It was scary at first – I felt so alone and inadequate as an artist – but Melissa helped me choose which colors to use and tutored me in the art of shading. After all, there were foggy, gray areas in the world’s portrait of infertility which would benefit from less darkness and more of Scripture’s light.

One thing is certain. I couldn’t have written that book without the help of someone as sage, smart, sympathetic, and strong as Melissa.

I’m so glad I didn’t have to.

The Wisdom of Kristi

P1060196More than a few times along this HRTB blogging journey, I have been broken in such a way that required someone else putting me back together. That someone was almost always Kristi.

“I don’t think God’s going to give us any children,” I remember sobbing into the phone to her one afternoon. I felt so worthless to the world as a childless, married woman, and the guilt and shame of barrenness and failed adoptions and empty arms threatened to overwhelm me.

“I love you just the way you are,” Kristi spoke evenly into my ear. “I wouldn’t change one thing about you. God has given you what you have today, and He works all things for your good. You are blessed even without children.”

When scathing correspondence began pouring in from IVF advocates around the world, Kristi kept me on task.

“People need to be educated in a gentle yet honest way,” she cheered, “one that points them back to Christ, Who keeps them.”

There were even times when Kristi seemed almost telepathic, as if she could sense what particular burdens and doubts I was struggling against that day.

“Your marriage has been blessed by God,” she pointed out, “despite not being blessed with children either biologically or adopted. Your marriage is a gift from the Lord, and that is something to be cherished.”

But there is one little bit of correspondence from Kristi that, still to this day, moves me more than anything else. It’s just so selfless and generous. For, from across an ocean and in the middle of a sleepless night just after her adopted baby girl had finally been put into her arms for the first time, Kristi emailed me – insignificant, childless me:

“I know there is joy and pain for you personally on this day. Know this, dear sister, you are loved for who you are TODAY. Your worth is found in the shadow of the One who has borne all of our suffering. His gifts are yours each and every day, despite your earthly pains and sorrows. You. Are. Loved!” 

Even now, the fact that Kristi put her own joy on hold to sit with me in my grief, stings my eyes with liquid salt.

Kristi is that person who tells me the truth – the unpolluted Truth which comforts and restores – when I need to hear it the most, and I am better for it.

That’s why, whenever I sit down to write a post on this website, I try so hard to be like her.

Rejection of Unborn IVF Babies Is for Real

Please, read this article which appeared in yesterday’s Breitbart News.

What is it about?

Well, to pull a quote from the article given by Robert Oscar Lopez, professor of English at California State University at Northridge: “‘Our republic can’t function if human beings are the objects of property rights until they become adults.'”

Surrogacy does this to human beings.

Lord, have mercy on us all.



Infertility Ethics Symposium

Thank you to Andy Bates and KFUO’s His Time show for interviewing Dr. Jeff Gibbs and me this morning on the upcoming Infertility Ethics Symposium at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis.

You can listen to the interview here.

Reporter Online also recently published a helpful article which explains why the LCMS Life Ministry and the Concordia Seminary Life Team are co-sponsoring this important and timely event.

You can read the article here.

Guaranteed or Your Money Back

IMG_3532 copy

According to the wisdom of the ages, the following items guarantee a pregnancy:

1. a vegan diet

2. an organic diet

3. a dairy-free diet

4. an organic, dairy-free, vegan diet

5. cough syrup

6. cod liver oil

7. an adoption

8. yoga and green tea

9. egg washes (don’t ask)

10. relaxing

11. prayer

12. claiming your pregnant destiny

13. the think system

14. exercising

15. not exercising

16. losing weight

17. gaining weight

18. green smoothies

19. acupuncture

20. a reiki

21. Vit A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, and Z

22. progesterone shots

23. pelvic elevation

24. IVF

25. a stork (Well, not really. This one only guarantees a baby.)

But the wisdom of the ages never attaches the “or your money back” to this guarantee. Can you guess why?

The only Scripture-proven, 100%-guarantee any of us has when it comes to pregnancy (or adoption, for that matter) is that the LORD does and doesn’t give the gift of children according to His good and perfect will – a will which is promised to work for our eternal good – with or without all of the stuff listed above.

And you can bank on that.









Physician’s Assistant: Now, why won’t you consider IVF?

Me: My husband and I have some ethical concerns about the procedure. Our consciences are burdened by the meager 29.4% success rate of implantation–

Physician’s Assistant: Oh, that’s not right. That’s too low, I think.

Me: No, that’s right. I just looked it up last week. The success rate can be higher or lower depending on the age and health of the mother, but – let’s be honest – I’m going on thirty-six. That rate is just about as optimistic as the scientists advise me to be.

Physician’s Assistant: True, you are of advanced maternal age.

Me: Well, creating babies and then attempting to implant them into my advanced maternal womb with a whopping 70.6% chance of dying doesn’t seem loving to the babies, does it?

(That question went unanswered.)


Infertility Ethics Symposium – Saturday, November 8th


Calling all LCMS pastors, seminarians, commissioned ministers, deaconesses, and parish nurses!

We certainly live in a “brave new world,” especially when it comes to infertility medicine.

In vitro fertilization, embryo adoption and assisted reproductive technologies…What is the Church to do? How can the Church steer congregations through the ethically murky waters of infertility medicine? What comfort can we as the Church offer to those who suffer from infertility and miscarriages?

LCMS Life Ministry and the Concordia Seminary Life Team are helping start the conversation by sponsoring an Infertility Ethics Symposium for pastors, seminarians, commissioned ministers, deaconesses, and parish nurses on Saturday, November 8, at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. Won’t you please join us?

Admittance is free.

Contact LCMS Life Ministry at 314-996-1711 or tracy.quaethem@lcms.org for more info as it becomes available.

Symposium Schedule:

8:30 a.m. – Opening Worship – Rev. William Weedon (Homily: Prof. John Pless)
9:00 a.m. – “Be Fruitful and Multiply: When It Doesn’t Work” – Rev. William Cwirla
10:00 a.m. – coffee break
10:30 a.m. – “Survey of Reproductive Counseling Practices in the Lutheran Church” – Rev. Dr. Kevin E. Voss
11:30 a.m. – “IVF: from Created to Creator” – Rev. Dr. James Lamb
12:30 p.m. – lunch
1:45 p.m. – “Embryo Adoption: Helping or Hurting My Neighbor?” – Rev. Dr. Robert W. Weise
2:45 p.m. – “Pastoral Care for Those Experiencing Infertility” – Rev. Christopher Esget
3:45 p.m. – break
4:00 p.m. – “The LCMS and Infertility Ethics” – Rev. Peter Brock
5:00 p.m. – Closing Worship – Rev. William Weedon (Homily: Dr. Jeff Gibbs)
5:30 p.m. – Gemütlichkeit

True Love

heartWe’re confused about something in this generation. There’s the mistaken belief that loving someone means permitting them to do whatever they want, that love equals acceptance and tolerance.

Case in point, religion according to Lady Gaga instructs us to embrace and celebrate people as they are today – to tolerate and accept their feelings and actions – because they’re simply born that way. “I’m beautiful in my own way,” she sings. “I’m on the right track, baby, I was born this way. Don’t hide yourself in regret. Just love yourself, and you’re set.” She expounds, “Oh, there ain’t no other way.”

If this were true, then a government which loves its citizens would provide a hotel room rather than a jail cell for the man in his forties who desires to bed preteen girls. After all, he was simply born that way.

If everyone is “on the right track, baby,” then we would not limit abortion to just babies in the womb. We would cease such unloving discrimination by age and, instead, allow adults to abort other adults who don’t fit into their own life plan.

If “loving yourself” is all that’s required to be set in life, then paying taxes to support the livelihood of policemen and firemen and soldiers and other civil servants would be bogus.

If we are to avoid hiding ourselves “in regret” for our in-born passions, then racists and terrorists and sociopaths should be hired to run our daycare facilities, schools, and businesses.

If “there ain’t no other way” than loving yourself, then parents should not be bothered with loving and protecting their children. They should create as many embryos through IVF as they want and do with them whatever they want. The important thing is to see their own desires answered and their own dreams fulfilled, not those of their kids.

Lady Gaga, in her effort to trumpet and memorialize and idolize the very passions with which we are all born, endorses the very opposite of love, for true love doesn’t tolerate and accept and serve the self. True love denies the self and its passions and dies for the good of their children.

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13 [ESV]).”

Sometimes, the greatest act of love we barren mothers can perform for our children is to suffer the absence of them rather than create them to die.