Question 20


 Dear Fr. Mattthew @ the Abbey,

I am 44 years old and came into the Catholic Church last year along with my husband. We have 2 children, aged 12 and 8. We are practicing NFP and have a question regarding "just reasons" for abstaining from intercourse while fertile. Is it a just reason to not conceive simply because of my age and the statistical probabilities associated with late-in-life pregnancies as they relate to birth defects? We have no other compelling reason to not be open to life.
 Thank you, 

Dear Amy, 

Your question was passed along to me by Fr. Dan McCaffrey of NFP Outreach Ministries for comment. God gives us many gifts and blessings, including our fertility. Only you and your husband can prayerfully consider whether stewardship of your resources is sufficient reason to avoid using your fertility. Let me assure you from a medical standpoint that God balances the increased risk of genetic defects and pregnancy loss with reduced fertility. Having said that, I have delivered beautiful perfect children to couples in their 40's and babies who are less than perfect to much younger couples. 

Hope this helps, 

Mary W. Martin, M.D., FACOG