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New Fertility Clinic Causes a Stir in Naperville

Sarah Preston Gorenstein

Would you object to a new fertility clinic in your town? Or would you welcome it? A physician specializing in reproductive endocrinology and infertility, Dr. Randy Morris, wants to open a fertility clinic in Naperville, Illinois, to serve the patients in its surrounding western suburbs. Sounds like a terrific idea, doesn’t it? What a convenient option for the residents of the western suburbs of Chicago; they won’t have to commute far to get help. If you’ve been through infertility, you know how important it is to have a fertility clinic nearby—especially when you’re going through IVF because the doctor appointments are much more frequent. Every other day in some cases.

Too bad some of its residents, and the City Council of Naperville, don’t see it that way. Though Dr. Morris got his state certificate, he now needs city approval to start building, and it’s spurring an ethics debate about treatments such as IVF, as if there’s something morally wrong with people suffering from infertility seeking help for their disease in their quest to have a family. 

The City Council of Naperville is split on the issue, some raising concerns about zoning rights for the clinic (which are clearly bogus, read why); some taking philosophical issue with the services the clinic would provide, such as insemination and in vitro fertilization. One of the most vocal objectors is Councilman Bob Fieseler. “I don’t think that’s the right place to have it, and I think we’re making a huge mistake. … We’ve got to ask ourselves is this a preferred use? Is this right for our community? I’m convinced it’s not,” he said during a City Council meeting on Tuesday. Yes, out loud.

The bigger question is: Should Naperville's City Council have any say in residents' right to seek fertility help? Should local government be interfering with our right to have a child, and treat a disease? If this is happening in Naperville, one of the largest and most affluent cities in Illinois, it could be happening anywhere. Don't they have better things to do with their time?

Sixteen residents of Naperville spoke out against the clinic on Tuesday, too, several women suggesting the clinic would target North Central College students for egg donation. Yep, you read that right. It’s such a ridiculous claim, and totally unfounded—it says more about these objectors in Naperville, and the nearby college students, than it does about the medical field of fertility and its patients.

“By its very nature of buying and selling, IVF procedures are treating human embryos as a commodity or an industry where the women who donate their eggs are merely the suppliers,” North Central senior Mary Kizior said. “Knowingly or not, this is an industry that preys on the financial vulnerability of my female peers.”

Perhaps this college senior who’s about to enter the real world should do a bit more research at North Central College’s library, assuming they have one, on the very definition of infertility, and what the main purpose of a fertility clinic is—which is to help people conceive a child who aren’t able to naturally.

A fertility clinic makes it possible for people to have kids, who otherwise couldn’t—not by choice but by unfortunate circumstances beyond their (our) control. People who suffer from infertility, like me, are no different than people who don’t, in terms of wanting children—we just need some assistance. Fertility clinics give us that assistance.

I’m willing to bet many of these protestors are also pro life—oh, the sweet irony.

Per Resolve’s blog, one objector wrote in to TribLocal to say: “A child becomes a manufactured commodity produced in a relationship of domination, subject to quality control, manipulation, and even disposal.”

That’s one horribly negative way to look at it. Sounds more like projection than actual perspective. You can also look at it like IVF is a way of bringing new life into the world so that good people stricken by an unfortunate disease can become good, loving parents. Worldwide, more than four million babies have been born thanks to IVF, according to Resolve. Do you think those children don’t have a right to be here?

Local government can’t control who gets pregnant and parents a child. So why should they control how one might get assistance for something we all have the right to do?

If you’ve had fertility treatments, especially if you live in Illinois, send a letter to the City Council of Naperville to share your personal story. Take one look at your child, and imagine a life without him or her. Imagine if you didn’t have a fertility clinic nearby. Imagine if your councilmen thought you shouldn't have a convenient option for having your beautiful, healthy child.

Follow me @spgorensteinFriend me on FacebookEmail me. Read my entry for the3six5 project.

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