Jennifer Corado said...
How is infertility viewed in the ATI community? Do couples undergo testing or treatment, or is it viewed as maybe a punishment from God? Does there appear to be more blame (as subtle as it might me) toward the woman? Has it ever caused divorce?
It depends on the couple. We're just now starting to see the second generation of ATI take off. Before this generation, most people who went into ATI had children when they started (it's, after all, a homeschooling curriculum). Now you have those children having children and I think there are some things to consider. Most ATI families marry their girls young. The younger you are, the greater your fertility. This eliminates some of the "worldly" age-based, infertility problems. I've also heard, and I could be ignorant or badly informed, that the more sexual partners you have, the greater your chance of STDS and the greater your risk of infertility as a result. Since ATI kids don't have pre-marital sex or multiple partners, there's less risk of infertility. I'm sure it's happened (an infertile second-generation ATI couple) but they really don't talk about it if it does happen and they can't become ATI or QF unless they have children so that would sway the results. Until a couple has children of their own, they won't be ATI so the question is moot really. If a couple were planning to be ATI and ran into infertility, then they'd likely keep it very private. There's nothing outwardly preventing them from seeking treatment. Adoption won't prevent them from joining ATI after the fact but it might make the application process more difficult. God's plan, in ATI's eyes, is for couples to be fruitful and multiply and accept children as a blessing from the Lord in His perfect timing. A couple might interpret that a number of ways, maybe including that God's timing includes infertility treatments. I think you'd be hardpressed to find an ATI/QF goal oriented couple who would interpret God's will or plan to mean they should stay infertile. It's a contradiction of sorts.
About the blame, that's also something that would depend on the couple or their family. There are certain "sins" to which the infertility would be assuredly blamed on the couple. One would be if they EVER used birth control methods. God would be punishing/testing their will for not trusting Him. It's really hard to answer this question because this stuff is kept so hush-hush when it does happen. We knew people who had secondary infertility, after several children, and the mom blamed herself for breaking the modesty commandments of the Bible. That doesn't mean God was punishing her but it's how she interpreted it.
Vyckie Garrison from NLQ would be a better person to ask about QF/ATI/VF divorce rates. I don't know enough about that.