National Infertility Awareness Week aims to empower couples and families to change the conversation around infertility.  USCCB photo
National Infertility Awareness Week aims to empower couples and families to change the conversation around infertility. USCCB photo

This week, April 18-24, is National Infertility Awareness Week, a movement founded in 1979 by the National Infertility Awareness Association “that raises awareness about the disease of infertility and encourages the public to take charge of their reproductive health.”

As with other national observances that impact families, such as National Marriage Week (Feb.7-14), the goal of the Catholic faith community is to provide a Christ-centered perspective while guiding our families to embrace God’s beautiful plan for marriage and family.

As Catholics, we understand that the desire for children is placed in our hearts by God and is rooted in God’s boundless love for us. Because the yearning for children is so profound, the pain of infertility can be unbearable.

Working in marriage ministry for so many years has given me the opportunity to hear the stories of countless married couples who have been willing to share their struggles at the deepest level. In some cases, couples experiencing the private pain of infertility expressed how hard it was for them to be among loving family, friends or even their faith community when the expectation of children was always there. Others shared how often they felt judged as being either selfish for not having a family, or a failure for not being able to conceive.

Amid their struggles, many Catholic couples have turned to the medical community for solutions, lacking guidance for some of the most private and difficult decisions in their marriage.

National Infertility Awareness Week is an opportunity for the Catholic Church to bring the great news of Restorative Reproductive medicine and the 30-year-old science of NaProTECHNOLOGY (Natural Procreative Technology) to the forefront of the infertility conversation. There is real hope for infertile couples from the Catholic medical community who have been the driving force behind technologies that seek to restore the healthy functioning of the human reproductive system while respecting the dignity of marriage.

NaProTECHNOLOGY has helped countless Catholic couples identify the root cause of their infertility and undergo corrective measures that enable them to conceive naturally, carry their child to term and start the family they so truly desire. Couples can access the full range of NaProTECHNOLOGY services at one of several Gianna Center locations in New Jersey, Philadelphia and New York (list available at

Despite ongoing advances in Restorative Reproductive Medicine, there are still many Catholic couples who are unable to conceive. While some of these couples may be called to active parenthood through adoption or foster parenting, others will find the fruitfulness of their marriage in the many ways they serve their parish and town communities.

Couples can also find comfort and strength from such Catholic organizations as Springs in the Desert and its upcoming free virtual “Springs of Hope – Belonging” Mother’s Day retreat, May 7-9, 2021. To register or for more information, visit

For a complete list of Catholic infertility resources, go to

For more diocesan resources, visit

Peg Hensler is the diocesan associate director for marriage ministries and Natural Family Planning.