"You can always adopt." "Are you sure you want kids? You can borrow mine this weekend." "I know you're going to have a child. I can just sense it from the Lord."
These are just a few of the comments that many infertile couples hear when they share their pain with others. Authors Sandra Glahn and William Cutrer, M.D., include a list of such remarks in their revised edition of When Empty Arms Become a Heavy Burden: Encouragement for Couples Facing Infertility (Kregel Publications 2010).
Couples dealing with infertility often face inadequate responses to their pain. Scholarly arguments about the moral dimensions of reproductive technology are often dry, and the complex, emotional stories of actual people often absent. Fertility clinicians focus on how their services will end patients' pain by helping them conceive healthy babies. Perhaps offering resources for emotional healing and reflection is not the clinician's job, but it ought to be somebody's. Glahn and Cutrer attempt to fill the gap by covering the marital, emotional, theological, and moral questions surrounding infertility.
Cutrer teaches at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and was for many years an ob-gyn practicing fertility medicine, and Glahn, a professor of Christian education at Dallas Theological Seminary, was one of his patients. Their straightforward language and reliance on personal experience, along with questions for readers at the end of each chapter, make this book an accessible read.
The book opens with its strongest material: several chapters on emotional and marital health in the midst of infertility and treatment. One chapter, for example, discusses the different ways that men and women express their emotions (in short, women like to talk it out ...1
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