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Proposed Infertility Clinic: a danger to society? 

Posted by: Renee Whitley at March 27, 2012 
Category: Federal and State legislation 

Sigh. Just the latest outrage.

You would think that after ten years, I would be immune to this stuff. That I would be able to read about the latest attacks on IVF treatment without getting angry.

 Naperville City Hall Entrance

But I can’t. It still feels personal for me.

Last Thursday, my Google alerts tipped me off to a zoning battle in Naperville, Illinois.

Dr. Randy Morris, an Illinois reproductive endocrinologist, is trying to construct a new facility to treat his patients, the women and men diagnosed with infertility who are hoping to have a child.

Everything was fine until the final City Council hearing on March 20th. A small but very vocal group is fighting the zoning request. Apparently, they are opposing the construction of a new building for Dr. Morris’s medical practice on “moral” grounds.

The final vote has been postponed until April 3rd. Meanwhile, the local newspaper is filled with letters to the editor condemning IVF:

“Naperville deserves better than an embryo producing factory in which human beings are routinely discarded.”

“The proposed facility is not ethically neutral; this is not the same as bringing in a…optometrist.”

“A child becomes a manufactured commodity produced in a relationship of domination, subject to quality control, manipulation, and even disposal.”

But wait, you say. This is only a few people, a minority, making some noise.

Well actually, one of the most vocal of the objectors is one of the City Councilmen, 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.

“Right for our community?” I’m sorry, what’s not “right for your community”?  Treating people with a disease?  Building families? 

The infertility practice where my husband and I went for treatment was filled with kind, ethical people; nurses, doctors, and support staff who were compassionate and professional.  There were some very sad days in that office but even on the worse days, I always felt hope.

In fact, the very first baby gift we received was from our doctor in that practice. He gave my baby an antique silver feeding spoon. And later, wrote him a letter when he was born.

It is hard for me to know that someone would feel such visceral distaste for the same people and places that I associate with such respect and joy. It’s also hard watching my disease, our disease, under attack.

Even though I don’t live in Illinois, this feels so personal to me. This goes beyond a zoning conflict: a small group of people are trying to tell a respected physician that they do not like the medical field he chose to practice. And even though his medical practice is the current standard of care, their rhetoric has been heard.

Worldwide, more than four million babies have been born as a result of IVF. Share your story with the Naperville City Council. Let them see all of their happy residents and visitors who have used life-affirming treatments such as IVF in order to have their families. If you live in Illinois and used IVF, please send a letter to the City Council affirming this treatment for infertility. Share your story and how important it was to have access to care right in your home state or home town. How the work that is done at fertility clinics creates families – the most life affirming thing that can be done.

Let’s make this personal for them.

Related links:

Renee Whitely, RESOLVE Advocacy Committee Co-Chair


Renee Whitley is the co-chair of RESOLVE’s Advocacy Committee. She has volunteered for many years in her home state of Georgia and serves as an invaluable resource for volunteers, professionals, legislators and their staff across the country on issues related to infertility legislation, policy, and a host of issues related to reproductive health. She was instrumental in the fight against Georgia Senate Bill 169 in 2009, a bill that would have severely impacted access to infertility treatment in Georgia. She can be contacted at





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