Infertility Fact: A man and a woman become a family on the day they are united in marriage. “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body” (Genesis 2:24). Moreover, the Catholic Church recognizes a family, with or without children, as the domestic church.

Infertility Awareness: Some people in society act and speak as if having children is a prerequisite to forming a family. This adds to the social isolation of many families without children. For example, a question such as, “When are you going to start a family?” is hurtful because it implies that the family is not a “family” without children.

Action: Show by your words that you recognize your married friends without children as a family: listen to them but do not ask them about children unless they raise the topic, and when describing your own family, avoid suggesting that you and your spouse “started a family” when you had children. Instead, consider referring to children as an addition to your family. God expects and provides opportunities for all families to “be fruitful and multiply”. Acknowledge how your married friends without children display their fruitfulness and give life to others and encourage them, just as they encourage you. For families struggling with infertility, identify how you are fruitful and look for ways to grow in this area. It is likely that your fruitfulness will differ from a family with children, but God will honor it equally and it is no less beautiful.