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Marie wrote:

Hi, guys —

We have four children and have required fertility assistance for many years to conceive. I've also had many surgeries to correct uterine problems. Part of my fertility problem stems from having (PCOS) Polycystic Ovary Syndrome which is an hormonal imbalance. I have irregular menses.

We have tried (NFP) Natural Family Planning to conceive but due to my irregularities and hormonal imbalance, there were no patterns and it doesn't work well with me. I've had two miscarriages.
My pregnancies are very high risk. When pregnant I have to abstain from relations for the entire pregnancy. I have used hormonal suppositories and take baby aspirin for the first three months to help keep from miscarrying. At 12 weeks, I had surgery done: a cerclage (closure) placed to try to keep me from dilating, then it's bed rest, then I usually go into labor: the first time 18 weeks,
this last time 22 weeks. I have to get steroids for the babies lungs to advance them. I've delivered pre term babies at 32 weeks and 35 weeks after being hospitalized on and off through pregnancy. I have had pre-eclampsia, high blood pressure, diabetes, bleeding and placenta problems with my pregnancies. Not to mention while on bed rest, it effects my whole family because they have to care for my children; I can't. I've had a C-section and (VBAC's) vaginal births after C-section.

My last two pregnancies I've conceived without fertility assistance. Now that I'm somewhat fertile, I'm really scared. My doctor suggests no more pregnancies due to major complications to
life-threatening issues for myself and babies. Fertility monitors don't work due to my hormonal problems.

  • In our situation can I or my husband get a tubal ligation or vasectomy?

We've always been open to life and would love to have had more children, but for us there are too many risks. I cannot take any chances on conceiving.

  • Will our Church understand in these rare circumstances and allow us to do this?


  { Under these rare circumstances will our Church allow a tubal ligation or vasectomy? }

Eric replied:

Hi, Marie —

We appreciating your writing. I suggest you contact the National Catholic Bioethics Center ( You need a good Catholic doctor dedicated to working within the parameters of Catholic bioethics.


Mary Ann replied:


There are three legitimate paths:

  • continue risking pregnancy
  • total abstinence or
  • the use of a very accurate form of natural family planning, in conjunction with hormonal treatment, which can be done by a Creighton Model Fertility care practitioner and a doctor who has studied "Naprotechnology".

Dr. Hilgers at Creighton University has trained many, and the information to contact him is at the web site.

God bless you.

Mary Ann

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