How an LDS Woman with Cystic Fibrosis Is Sacrificing Everything to Start a Family

by | May 10, 2016

Mormon Life

Adoption as an Option

Last summer Mindy and Luke decided to participate in a 24-hour fast.

"Mindy and I just felt the timing was right to start a family,” Luke said. But the couple wasn't sure how that was going to work out. 

They had been trying for several months to have a baby and praying that they could start their own family someday.

After the fast Luke asked Mindy if they should look into adoption. From there, Mindy and Luke moved quickly through the process, even starting a GoFundMe page to raise the $20,000-$50,000 it would cost to adopt a child.

They passed home studies, including intense interviews and home inspections. They handed in piles of paperwork. They came close. They even met a baby girl up for adoption, but it wasn’t meant to be.

“We were really pumped,” Luke said. "But it didn't work out. We weren't too devasted, but we were affected by it."

But there was something in the works for Luke and Mindy—a miracle they weren't expecting. 

“The Test Must be Wrong”

Last October, Orkambi, a drug to help treat cystic fibrosis, was released on the market. The drug was designed for only those of certain genotypes, the particular set of genes an individual has. Mindy’s genotype was a match for the treatment.

During this time, Mindy's father switched health insurances. While it seemed at first that the new health insurance company would not cover Orkambi, it turned out the switch was just what Mindy needed in order to receive this revolutionary medicine. 

Not long after Mindy began taking the medication, her lung function significantly improved. She was healthier than she had ever been before.

Then, in January, Mindy found out she was pregnant.

“It didn't feel like it was real,” Luke said. "It felt like, 'The test must be wrong, but I'm excited at the same time, but the test must be wrong, but I'm excited.'"

But amidst the excitement there was still the question: could the baby have CF?

While Mindy had the gene for CF, it was unclear whether or not Luke was a carrier. Due to the nature of CF, both parents must be carriers or have CF in order for the baby to be born with the disease. 

“I’ve heard of people who abort their kids as soon as they find out they have cystic fibrosis," Mindy said. "Or I’ve heard when they find out they are a carrier for CF, they stop having kids. I think that the Church plays a huge role in us knowing that God has a plan for everyone that He sends down here, so if they have cystic fibrosis, then that’s kind of God’s plan for them and that’s something that they need to go through in this life to make them who they are. It’s certainly made me who I am, all the trials and tribulations.”

Thankfully, after testing, it was found Luke was not a carrier, making it impossible for the Catmull’s baby to be born with CF.

However, now there were other things to worry about.

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