By Colleen Rowan WEIRTON—Couples suffering the pain of infertility are not alone—that is the message of the new support group Beacon of Hope in Weirton. Sponsored by the FertilityCare Center of the Upper Ohio Valley, Inc., the group is described by the organization as “God-centered” conversation and support, a place to gain comfort by surrounding oneself with those who understand their feelings of grief and loneliness. The group is open to men and women. The first gathering will be Dec. 11 from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Hospitality Room at St. Joseph the Worker Church in Weirton. Kathy Hirkala, director of the FertilityCare Center, said that infertility support groups that promote the artificial reproductive technologies like IVF or IUI (which are opposed to the teachings of the Catholic Church) are easy to find, but it is rare to find a support group that is “God-centered” and supports the teachings of the Catholic Church. She wanted to address that need. “When they’re walking down the aisle at their wedding, no couple expects to walk the path of infertility in the future,” Hirkala said. “Couples who are walking that path of infertility often feel very alone in their suffering. It often seems to them that everyone around them is getting pregnant. They don’t realize that others do understand and even share their feelings of pain, loneliness and grief. It can be even worse when their doctor doesn’t understand or respect their moral values. Couples can also experience frustration when they don’t get answers from their doctor. Being able to talk about these things with a group of people who understand can be very helpful and sometimes healing.” At future meetings, Hirkala is hoping to bring in speakers on different helpful subjects such as NaProTechnology (a new women’s health science that is very successful with infertility), stress reduction, nutrition, a couple who has turned to adoption as an option, or a childless couple who still has a loving, life-giving, and happy marriage. “While it would be great for a couple to attend together since they are going through this together, we realize that isn’t always possible,” Hirkala said. “Men and women are welcome even if their spouse is unable to attend.” Dates and times for meetings in 2018 are March 12 at 7 p.m.; June 11 at 7 p.m.; Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 10, 2018, at 7 p.m. All meetings will be held in the Hospitality Room at St. Joseph’s. For more information visit www.fertility careuov.org or send e-mail to Hirkala at firstname.lastname@example.org or Sarah MacDonald at email@example.com.