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Family Planning Question for Coptic Orthodox Families
  • Hi

    Can someone tell me what methods of contraception does the Church allow?
    or perhaps a better question is which type are forbidden by the Coptic Church?

    I know the catholic, they forbid ALL types of contraception, but what about us?

    Thanks
  • Hi dthoxsasi,

    Our church does not allow contraceptives that can prevent the blastocyst (the fertilized egg) from implantation in the uterus. This means that contraceptives like 'the pill' and IUDs are not allowed in our church, because they have this property.

    Even though it is true that the above mentioned types of contraceptives also prevent sperm from entering the uterus, there always is a (however small) chance that sperm does enter the uterus and joins with the female egg. If this is the case, you have effectively committed murder, since the egg can't implant itself in the uterus and dies.

    Better alternatives are contraceptives that do not interfere with the possibility of implantation in the uterus, but only stop the sperm from entering the uterus. You can think in this case of (female or male) condoms. Sterilization could also be a possibility if you are sure that you do not want any children.

    I hope this answers your question, if not; please let me know. Please pray for me.

    Michael

    EDIT: this may be a good read, it is more elaborate than my answer: http://stnoufer.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/family-planning-contraception-abortion.pdf
  • quick correction:
    it is the 'mini pill' (progesterone only pill) that prevents implantation of the unborn baby into the uterus and so may act to cause abortion.
    the combined contraceptive pill does not do this as it prevents ovulation.
  • Hardly anyone uses the mini pill as it has (side effects or cancer risk can't remember which). So people get prescribed the combined pill unless they have other issues that interfere with this.

    Progesterone can stop ovulation from happening. (It mostly blocks the way so sperm cannot get through) so I don't see why this is wrong? Sperm can't reach = no fertilisation

    Combined pill is ok
    Condoms are ok
    Female condoms are ok
    Intrauterine implants are ok
    Long term contraceptives like an implant under the skin (usually in the upper arm) subdermal implants are ok
    Also come in patches and vaginal rings.

    Choose based on preferred method of administration so discuss with your doctor what is suitable for you.


    What I know are not ok based on my knowledge:
    Emergency contraception which is given after sexual intercourse as they are more like aborting rather than preventing.

  • So the hormonal IUD that stops ovulation is OK, just not the copper one, right? 
  • It is definitely in the church's view that contraception cannot destroy a fertilized egg. However, most birth control methods, including the "pill", prevent fertilization because there's no egg in the first place.

    So with all due respect, a couple of things: First off, "the pill" changes a woman's cycle, so she doesn't actually ever ovulate while on the pill, therefore no egg is there to be fertilized. Second, the IUDs prevent sperm from reaching the egg (very very simply stated), therefore, no fertilization occurs (but yes, technically there is a slight tiny chance that it can occur, BUT I am not sure if the fertilized egg will be able to implant. If it does, then you're pregnant, if it can't then it's marked for death).

    Third and not least: basically all methods out there of birth control in one way or another inhibit the sperm from meeting the egg, the most common way being inhibiting the egg from being released in the first place. Therefore, none of these act on an egg that's fertilized, by definition. Otherwise, this is termed a "medical abortion". There have even been some studies that state the "morning after" progesterone-only pills work by delaying ovulation (the egg from being released), so this would even be ok. the morning after pill known as "Ella" does however pose that a fertilized egg may be stopped from implantation.

    There's one correction I want to make to that website that was sent (http://stnoufer.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/family-planning-contraception-abortion.pdf)...any form of contraception that has estrogen by definition works to stop ovulation (no egg is released), therefore there's no chance that an egg will be fertilized.

    Hope that helped. If you really want to get a very good understanding of what the church believes:
    http://www.stmosesbookstore.org/index.php/books/english-books/fr-matthew-the-poor/a-viewpoint-on-birth-control-detail

    And as I hate to cite this website, here's all the info you need (at least about "the pill"):
    http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/birth-control/birth-control-pill-4228.htm


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