Dr. Chris Stroud Lives out His Faith, Finds Success
As a practicing OB-GYN and a recent convert to the faith, Dr. Christopher Stroud of Fort Wayne, Indiana knew the Catholic Church’s teaching that contraception was morally wrong, but he did not fully understand why. This all began to change one day after attending confession.
“As I was confessing my sins, I sort of mentioned in passing that I was an OB-GYN and prescribed contraceptives,” Stroud says. “But I suddenly understood the seriousness of this when the priest placed his hand on my leg, gave me a concerned look and said I had to stop.”
At the priest’s referral, Dr. Stroud met with a fellow local physician, Dr. Patrick Holly, who suggested that the two of them read Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae together.
Stroud recounts reading Humanae Vitae as a turning point for him as an OB-GYN. “Pope Paul VI expressed so clearly and beautifully the Church’s position on reproduction and other matters. Like a lot of Catholics, I knew the Church teaches that contraception was objectively always seriously wrong, but did not know why. He did such an amazing job of presenting the union between a man and woman as holy. Humanae Vitae is so clear on these matters and it suddenly made so much sense.”
At the urging of Dr. Holly, Stroud looked into the Pope Paul VI Institute and its medical consultant education program, to which Stroud applied and began attending in the fall of 2012.
It did not take long for the Medical Consultant program to make a profound impact on Stroud.
“I had made the decision to follow Church teaching. I was going to contact my patients and let them know that as of the new year, I would no longer prescribe contraceptives nor make referrals for sterilization,” he said. “But after the first day at Education Phase I (EPI), I called my wife and said, ‘I am not going to wait until January; we need to do this immediately.’”
He said that his wife, as she did throughout the entire transition, was completely supportive.
With months of mortgage payments in savings, the Strouds made the shift.
“We thought we were done,” recalls Stroud. “But we also felt as if we had no choice.”
Instead, Stroud discovered that for every patient he lost, he gained three in return. His practice grew so dramatically that in September 2014, he and his wife, a certified nurse-midwife, opened their own medical practice providing NaProTechnology services. The new practice is growing fast with many patients driving long distances to receive what Stroud calls “faithful, authentic, effective fertility care.”
“It seems that every turn, God seems to say ‘do more,’ and as I do, He rewards me,” Stroud says. “I have patients who come to us because they want a Catholic approach to their reproductive health, who want a disease-based approach to address their fertility challenges.”
Today, Stroud could not be happier with his decision.
“This feels more like a vocation than a job,” he says. “We pray with our patients before surgery. I’m frequently asked to give presentations and when I do, I tell the audience that they don’t have to choose between their faith and their fertility. I love to tell them there’s a better way.
“The research and programs of the Pope Paul VI Institute are so important. I will be indebted for all of eternity to Dr. Hilgers and the staff who are building a culture of life in the field of reproductive health care. They gave me a new career, a new vocation.”