Walking through Infertility

I received a copy of this book from Crossway to review. All opinions are my own. 

Source: Crossway

I recently came across Proverbs 30:16 which speaks of four things in life that never say ‘Enough!’: the grave, the barren womb, land which is never satisfied with water, and fire. This verse jumped out of the text during my bible reading because it made me stop and contemplate the agony for those who have dealt and are dealing with infertility. I have friends who have miscarried and also friends who have experienced the monthly frustration of not being able to conceive a child. And it is heartbreaking.

When I came across Walking Though Infertility by Matthew Arbo I was very intrigued to read about infertility from a biblical perspective and to hopefully gain more insight on how to support those I know who are walking this journey. While this book was written for those who are struggling with infertility any Chrisitan who wants to better understand this subject in light of who God is and what he has done should read this book.

God is the giver of life and God’s word is life giving. The book begins by exploring the stories of more prominent infertility narratives in scripture. Details from the stories of Abram and Sarai (Gen. 15-21), Jacob, Leah, and Rachel (Gen. 28-30), Elkanah and Hannah (1 Samuel 1), and Zechariah and Elizabeth (Luke 1:5-25) are shared not to show how all these narratives have a “happy ending” resulting in a successful pregnancy. Instead the author is quick to point out that these stories highlight God’s covenant faithfulness. Old covenant inclusion depended on being born into a house of Israel while new covenant inclusion depends on the redemptive grace of Christ that saves sinners.

I seriously love God’s word! If you aren’t reading the Old Testament you need to do it! It will make the New Testament even more amazing.

The book goes on to speak about Christian Discipleship, which I was not expecting in a book on infertility. In light of the good news of the gospel though this makes perfect sense to be a topic that is covered and addressed. The author states that the ecclesial purpose for all believing couples, those with and those without children, is the same:

LOVE GOD

LOVE ONE ANOTHER

MAKE KNOWN THE GOSPEL

The gospel truths in this book were eyeopening. If you have children of your own or it is just you and your spouse, discipleship enables us to find our place in the world. Jesus wants us to do life with him but we must accept the terms of our existence that he sets. Our identity needs to be found in God, even parenthood with all the best of intentions can be made into an idol. We must be content in Christ’s authority and be ready to be used at his disposal for the good of his kingdom. Membership with Christ implies mission with Christ.

Interwoven throughout the book is a hypothetical couple who you follow along with on their infertility journey. This was helpful to see how a couple could apply the information from the book into their own life while making decisions in light of God’s word.

The final chapter of this book on the moral appraisal of fertility treatment was so informative and well written, it also discusses miscarriage and surrogacy. I never had given any thought to the moral ethics of fertility treatments like IUI and IVF. IUI is the least involved and carries few moral implications. On the other hand IVF carries several significant moral implications included the creation of excess embryos, assumed risks to the child, and the expense of treatment. There is an estimated 500,000 to 800,000 embryos frozen in storage across the United States waiting to be implanted and the likelihood of these embryos being destroyed is so high. Even with these risks IVF may be morally permissible if the couple is able to accept several outcomes as described in detail in the book.

I wish I could go into all the details in this final chapter and for this information alone I would recommend purchasing a copy of Walking Through Infertility.

Walking Through Infertility is available on Amazon.

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