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New diocesan website offers support for couples facing infertility

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Like most young Catholic couples, when Matthew and Elizabeth Marcolini got married, “we thought we were going to have kids,” said Matthew.

But they didn’t. And as time went on, they still didn’t.

About 10 percent of U.S. women between the ages of 15 and 44 have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

After pregnancy tests came up negative month after month, “at some moment it hits you,” said Elizabeth. “And that day is hard.”

The Marcolinis reflect on their journey with infertility in a video that is among offerings and resources on a new diocesan website called “Our Fruitful Love,” launched in August.

“Over the years, we’ve heard from a growing number of couples suffering from infertility,” said Thérèse Bermpohl, executive director of the diocesan Office of Marriage, Family and Respect Life. She said the office developed the site after receiving a generous donation from a priest who has counseled many couples suffering with infertility; he wanted to help the diocese create a website where these couples can find resources, as well as spiritual support.

The site includes articles and links to videos, church teachings, and practical information for those experiencing either primary or secondary infertility (couples who have one child but want to have more), as well as miscarriage, stillbirth and infant loss. The office plans to add more resources in coming months, including links to parish support groups, mentors and other ways to connect with couples experiencing similar trials.

“I want couples to know that the church community is here to accompany them along this difficult journey,” Bermpohl said.

“We chose this title (Our Fruitful Love) because every marriage is fruitful,” she added. “Even if couples are not blessed with children, they can be assured of God’s magnificent plan for their marriage that will bear abundant fruit for them, their families and society. But sometimes that path looks different than what they envisioned on their wedding day."

Infertility is defined as not being able to get pregnant after one year of trying (or six months if a woman is 35 or older). Women who can get pregnant but are unable to stay pregnant may also be infertile. About 10 percent of U.S. women between the ages of 15 and 44 (6.1 million) have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Marcolinis’ infertility journey prompted them to become involved in foster care, and in the video they say they have learned to trust that God has a plan for them, even if it’s not what they expected.

“Don’t let your heart live in a future that you have no idea if that’s what God wants,” Elizabeth said. “Live right now.”

Find out more

Visit the website at ourfruitfullove.com or contact Thérèse Bermpohl at 703/841-2550.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021