Español Français
Biblical Reference
> Biblical Reference > Historical Precedents > Quotations & Writings > Commentary
> Home > Biblical Reference > Sanctity of Life > Contraception & Fertility > TOPIC OVERVIEW: "Mapping the Terrain—Contraception & Fertility"
> Category

Mapping the Terrain—Contraception & Fertility

Procreation is a normative, biblical mandate. Children are a gift from God to be welcomed and nurtured.1 Sadly, however, increasing numbers of couples either choose not to have children for the sake of convenience or are unable to have children due to infertility.

Western culture—especially American culture—has become decidedly anti-natal. Children are often seen as an unnecessary obstacle to achieving one’s economic, social, or career goals.2 Children are viewed as inconvenient. This attitude, along with the development of “the pill,” has contributed to the culture’s contraceptive mentality3—where one assumes that couples will delay childbirth either until it is more convenient or even indefinitely; and where sterilization in order to limit the number of children has become the norm.

Some forms of contraception may allow conception but prevent implantation of the unborn child (e.g., IUDs,4 morning-after pills, and in some cases, the contraceptive pill), making them the moral equivalent of abortion. While some forms of contraception may be morally permissible, Kairos Journal finds abortifacients morally indefensible.

In addition to voluntary childlessness, infertility impacts as many as 2.5 million Americans alone. “Infertility” is the diagnosis given to a couple who are unable to conceive after one year of unprotected sexual intercourse. An astounding variety of drugs, techniques, and technologies are available to couples experiencing infertility. Artificial reproductive technologies offer an alphabet soup of options:5 IVF, AIH, AID, GIFT, ZIFT, ICSI,6 surrogacy, and more. Sorting out the ethical implications of these options becomes a daunting task for some couples.

Simultaneous with these trends, many Catholics and growing numbers of evangelicals are becoming ardent proponents of natural family planning. While Kairos Journal holds that some forms of contraception are morally permissible, the contraceptive culture must be resisted, and children must be received with gratitude toward God our Father.

Increasingly, pastors are being asked to counsel couples about infertility, yet often with little knowledge of the options or the ethics themselves. Kairos Journal aims to help pastors navigate this moral maze.


See Kairos Journal article, "Delighting in a Quiverful."


See Kairos Journal articles, "God's Purpose for the Family Transcends Economics" & "The Single Child Family."


See Kairos Journal articles, "Contraceptive Culture" & "Why Did They Fight the Contraceptive Mentality?"


Intra-uterine devices.


See Kairos Journal article, "Thirty-eight Ways to Make a Baby."


In-vitro fertilization (IVF), artificial insemination by husband (AIH), artificial insemination by donor (AID), gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT), zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT), intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).