Editor's note: LDS Living recognizes the sensitivities and triggering emotions that can often accompany infertility. We also recognize that every person’s individual experience with infertility is different and that there is no one-size-fits-all solution or statement that will provide peace, comfort, or direction. Reader discretion is advised.
You can find more resources for or personal stories of faithful families battling infertility here.
Did you know that according to the World Health Organization, one in six couples deal with infertility? It’s probably more common in your ward family than you think, but because of the emotional nature of the diagnosis, many couples choose to fight their infertility battles privately.
But is the topic of infertility or infertility treatments addressed in the General Handbook? Or have any Church publications or leaders shared experiences with infertility? Here’s what we found.
What the Church Handbook says
The pattern of a husband and wife providing bodies for God’s spirit children is divinely appointed (see 2.1.3). When needed, reproductive technology can assist a married woman and man in their righteous desire to have children. This technology includes artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization.
The Church discourages artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization using sperm from anyone but the husband or an egg from anyone but the wife. However, this is a personal matter that is ultimately left to the judgment and prayerful consideration of a lawfully married man and woman.
Handbook sections on artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization—two treatments commonly used among couples diagnosed with infertility—also refer back to these paragraphs.
Infertility addressed in Church magazines and other settings
The General Handbook exists to provide direction on specific, official policies, but its purpose does not include mentioning or providing comfort for the feelings of heartbreak, personal loss, and grief that can accompany an infertility diagnosis. And while few specific examples have been directly shared over the pulpit, but the topic and reality of infertility among families worldwide is not lost on Church leaders. There are many first-person stories shared in official Church publications about families encountering peace, finding belonging, and learning to cope with the diagnosis of infertility. As part of the “His Grace” video series, the Church has also created a video entitled “Coping with Infertility and Loss.”
And in unofficial settings, Church leaders have reminded us of eternal truths surrounding infertility’s unfairness and the longing desires of parenthood that can accompany infertility.
In December 2020, Jean B. Bingham, who was serving as the Relief Society General President at the time, shared her experience with infertility and years of frustration on the Latter-day Saint Women Podcast (listen below).
On the podcast, Sister Bingham shared, “All those decades of longing and trying—you know, every month is a disappointment, every pregnancy test is a downer—I’ve become very sensitive to fertility issues, as you can imagine. … [But] through these experiences I learned that there is a divine plan, that the Lord is in charge, and that trusting His timing can bring us peace even though it doesn’t remove the trial that we’re experiencing.”
And in a February 2020 interview with LDS Living, former Young Women General President Ardeth Kapp spoke of the heartache she experienced as she and her husband were unable to have children (listen below).
Sister Kapp shared: “I look back on it and realize that the some of the things that were the hardest for us were the things that brought us together. And so in that sense, let me just say that it was a hard time. My younger sister, who during an extended period of time, had 11 children, would always call with excitement. And I would think, ‘Why can’t we have the answer to our earnest prayers? What are we not doing?’ … We both went into education so we could be with children. … I mean, we love children. So what do you do? How do you decide what to do and what not to do?”
For more hopeful information and stories about infertility, check out some of these LDS Living articles: