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Letter to the Editor: Proposed Fertility Clinic Raises Ethical Concerns

Naperville Patch welcomes the submission of letters to the editor. Please send letters to Local Editor Mary Ann Lopez at maryl@patch.com.

Dear Editor,

There is currently a proposal to build a fertility clinic on the corner of Washington and Benton in Naperville.  The proposal was recently addressed by the Naperville City Council and will be picked up again in two weeks.  The proposed facility touches close to home for us.  We’ve been trying to conceive for 29 months.  Not long ago, we were told by one specialist that if we ever wanted to become pregnant, we’d have to go the route of in vitro fertilization. We know the pain and heartache that bring people to a fertility clinic like the one being proposed.  We assume that couples going to such a clinic have the best of intentions, and we judge the hearts of no one who has taken this path. 

But we strongly oppose the proposed clinic based on serious ethical concerns.  The proposed facility is not ethically neutral; this is not the same as bringing in a family restaurant, a clothing store, or an optometrist.  This is because some of the procedures associated with the proposed facility promote an understanding of the human person that undermines fundamental human rights and dignity.

The origin of our existence is not a matter of indifference to our dignity and rights.  Rather than assisting the procreation of a child, procedures like in vitro fertilization reduce children to the product of a technological process.    A child becomes a manufactured commodity, produced in a relationship of domination, subject to quality control, manipulation, and even disposal.  The production of this commodity is, of course, a very lucrative industry – after all, for an infertile couple who desires a baby, the supply is low, and the demand very high.  The human person is reduced to an object, a product, and this does violence to the child’s dignity as a human person.

We desperately want a child.  But our desires, even for something so good, do not justify bringing that about by any means whatsoever.  We have no right to a child, since then one person becomes the property of another.  In this instance, it is the rights of the child to be conceived that are pertinent. 

This is not simply a question of zoning and planning.  It is consenting to a particular worldview for the people of Naperville - a worldview in which a child is not procreated, but manufactured.  With any number of beneficial things that could be built on this site, why bring into our community something carrying with it these ethical issues? Why invite into our downtown Aldous Huxley’s vision of a Brave New World in which children are not so much born as they are decanted? 

Mike and Mary Beth Brummond

Naperville, IL

E.SC. March 27, 2012 at 07:55 PM
HOW ABOUT NaPro TECHNOLOGY? Have you tried that? It's much better and successful than IVF. http://www.naprotechnology.com/
E.SC. March 27, 2012 at 07:57 PM
Maybe to Heather, an embryo is a frog or a dog. To me, it is a human being ... with the potential to become a human adult one day.
Kelly March 27, 2012 at 08:10 PM
Beliefs do not correspond with facts sometimes. Objectively, either an embryo is a human being, or it is not. Because major medical textbooks and reference works consistently agree that life begins at conception, and because these scientists study the issue for a living, most lay persons are not in a position to argue that it is not so because they don't want it to be so. We cannot will away a life because it is inconvenient to believe it is a life. I am so glad many folks have brought home the child of their dreams, but it is terribly sad that four or five or six other lives were created and subsequently lost in the process. Believing these lives are not valuable and are just collateral damage -- or worse, just an economic loss -- is exactly the mindset many folks are objecting to. Also, not all OBGYNs prescribe birth control. That's a whole different issue, but there are some in our area who don't for the very reasons Heather stated.
Mike Brummond March 27, 2012 at 08:15 PM
Heather, you "believe" one thing, Joan "believes" another. But neither of your beliefs changes the objective fact of what the embryo is. That is one of the ethical questions that is being IGNORED by comments that try to make this a "religious" issue, or a matter of "beliefs." That's simply labeling an argument, rather than addressing it. The objective status of the embryo is the heart of the discussion, not anyone's "feelings" or "beliefs" surrounding it. And, for what it's worth, my wife and I do not use birth control for exactly the reasons you specify, the abortifaciant possibiities.
E.SC. March 27, 2012 at 11:14 PM
Rachel B. - I am sorry that somehow you haven't been well informed about the Church's teaching on this issue. For many Catholics, it is a matter of good conscience and getting informed before making such life/death decisions. Whenever human life is affected by an action, there are ethical and moral considerations. In the case of IVF, it is almost inevitable that human life will be destroyed or used for research and then destroyed ... so the Church is pretty specific on IVF - see Donum Vitae (1987) at www.vatican.va and materials referencing this document: http://www.catholicapologetics.info/morality/family/ivf.htm and alternative options info: http://www.ewtn.com/library/PROLIFE/ZINFERTL.HTM
Charles March 28, 2012 at 01:03 AM
Charlie Well...I don't think anyone is saying that a child conceived through ivf is not a gift from God. It most certainly is. I don't think the opposition people express to this clinic is condemning those who want or have a baby through ivf, the problem is what happens to all the others. It kind of says something to me when a doctor who has worked in this field for 15 years and performed ivf at the University of Chicago stops doing ivf and starts telling everyone of its dangers. Shouldn't that at least cause some of you to stop and say, "Hey. Wait a minute. Maybe all these people are not just insensitive religious right wing wackos. Maybe there is something to their opposition." If you want to hear this doctor speak, he is actually going to speak at SS. Peter and Paul on Thursday evening at 7:30 pm. Remember, he has nothing to gain from speaking about this and, unlike Dr. Morris, he gave up a very lucrative career to speak out.
joan dupre March 28, 2012 at 02:00 AM
To answer your questions Heather...I don't and I don't. The FACT is an embryo is a fertilized human egg, considered a human life by the scientific community. From conception up through week 8 of development is called an embryo.
Charles March 28, 2012 at 02:38 AM
Actually, Dr. Morris has an office in Naperville. He does not do any in vitro here. He has to go into the city to do the actual procedures. This is why he wants to build the center here.
Debra March 28, 2012 at 02:44 AM
On top of everything else, their letter is so poorly written that it pains me to read it.
Charles March 28, 2012 at 02:48 AM
Keith L. Moore, Phd., FIAC, FRSM and F.V.N. Persaud, MD, Phd, DSc, FRCpath in their seminal anatomy text wrote: “Human development begins at fertilization when a male gamete unites with a female gamete to produce a single cell-zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marked the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.” These doctors are not the Pope and most recent physiology texts draw the same conclusion. A human being is not what we want it to be or what we wish it were. It is what it is whether it is convenient for us or not.
E.SC. March 28, 2012 at 03:45 AM
Very well said, Kelly. I agree with you.
E.SC. March 28, 2012 at 04:09 AM
So, what happened to the other human embryos ?... is the question. Jennifer, you seem to be somewhat confusing in your statement when you said that "because the doctor retrieves eggs doesn't mean that all of them will develop into viable embryos." Do you mean that once they're fertilized in the dish, not all of them survive to be implanted, or they are ok until the attempt of implantation? The fact that not all zygotes may implant and end up unviable after attempts of implantation doesn't change the fact that those are already conceived new human individuals ... People know enough about IVF to understand its ramifications and negative effect on both the mother (sometimes the egg donor) and especially the human babies that are being conceived in a dish ... and then implanted into the uterus ... but may not all survive initially (on their own) or at a later stage (through selective abortion), if the mother decides she cannot carry quadruplets or quintaplets.
E.SC. March 28, 2012 at 04:14 AM
From Donum Vitae: ..."nevertheless, the conclusions of science regarding the human embryo provide a valuable indication for discerning by the use of reason a personal presence at the moment of this first appearance of a human life: how could a human individual not be a human person? The Magisterium has not expressly committed itself to an affirmation of a philosophical nature, but it constantly reaffirms the moral condemnation of any kind of procured abortion. This teaching has not been changed and is unchangeable.(26) Thus the fruit of human generation, from the first moment of its existence, that is to say from the moment the zygote has formed, demands the unconditional respect that is morally due to the human being in his bodily and spiritual totality. The human being is to be respected and treated as a person from the moment of conception; and therefore from that same moment his rights as a person must be recognized, among which in the first place is the inviolable right of every innocent human being to life. This doctrinal reminder provides the fundamental criterion for the solution of the various problems posed by the development of the biomedical sciences in this field: since the embryo must be treated as a person, it must also be defended in its integrity, tended and cared for, to the extent possible, in the same way as any other human being as far as medical assistance is concerned. "
E.SC. March 28, 2012 at 04:41 AM
Development of the practice of in vitro fertilization has required innumerable fertilizations and destructions of human embryos. Even today, the usual practice presupposes a hyperovulation on the part of the woman: a number of ova are withdrawn, fertilized and then cultivated in vitro for some days. Usually not all are transferred into the genital tracts of the woman; some embryos, generally called "spare ", are destroyed or frozen. On occasion, some of the implanted embryos are sacrificed for various eugenic, economic or psychological reasons.
E.SC. March 28, 2012 at 04:42 AM
The connection between in vitro fertilization and the voluntary destruction of human embryos occurs too often. This is significant: through these procedures, with apparently contrary purposes, life and death are subjected to the decision of man, who thus sets himself up as the giver of life and death by decree. This dynamic of violence and domination may remain unnoticed by those very individuals who, in wishing to utilize this procedure, become subject to it themselves. The facts recorded and the cold logic which links them must be taken into consideration for a moral judgment on IVF and ET (in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer): the abortion-mentality which has made this procedure possible thus leads, whether one wants it or not, to man's domination over the life and death of his fellow human beings and can lead to a system of radical eugenics.
Jennifer March 29, 2012 at 12:05 AM
Sorry if I was confusing. I am not sure about other people and their experiences with IVF, but in my case, a majority of the eggs that were retrieved and then fertilized never made it as far as implentation because they did not survive on their own; therefore, they were not viable. The two embryos that were implanted on my first attempt, did not survive once they were implanted into the uterus. The second time, only one of my two embryos implanted, which resulted in my daughter; the second one did not implant. Hope that helps clear up any confusion that I might have caused.
M March 30, 2012 at 03:19 PM
All the beliefs are interesting to note with everyone here, however, as a retired member of the city management profession, I cannot agree with deciding what goes in to a particular parcel based on even moral or ethical judgements. Zoning laws are passed by a council (past or present) for what those elected members feel are in the best intertests of that city and can be changed by a council. However, if a viable business meets the standards set forth in that particular time's zoning laws for a parcel, I have a problem telling them no because you don't like them. And yes, Edward Hospital is on the southen edge of downtown and does have a clinic providing these very same services.
ajt April 01, 2012 at 02:39 PM
Ummm... where do we draw the lines in the hypocrisy that the Brummonds and others espouse? The Brummonds marriage is a sham, by their own definition (marriage is between a man and a woman for the purpose of procreation), but they want to prohibit couples from realizing the fulfillment of their marriage (again, their definition, not mine)?? I find it unsettling that appeals from these groups get anything more than the polite, cursory "listening to"... let alone having the council readdress a decision in the pretext of a "zoning issue.
JTM April 01, 2012 at 04:14 PM
ajt, I find your intolerance of other peoples views unsettling. Really? Would you silence these citizens with different opinions if you could?
Kelly April 01, 2012 at 04:21 PM
ajt, that comment is pretty typical of someone who does not know what they are talking about and prefers to insult others. The Brummonds' belief system defines marriage as open to new life, not that marriage requires offspring and is a sham if you're infertile. The Brummonds also aren't trying to prohibit anyone else from having children; they just don't want to bring a clinic into our downtown that destroys life in the process of creating it. Is it really so shocking that citizens of a community would be concerned about protecting human life? Perhaps you would prefer to live in an oligarchy, but in a republic our government listens when citizens of a community voice their concerns. We don't want variances granted to build a clinic in our downtown that destroys human life. But if you prefer to just keep insulting people instead of understanding the issue, go right ahead.
ajt April 01, 2012 at 04:23 PM
If you notice, I said they should be listened to... as in they are given the freedom of speech and their beliefs....
ajt April 01, 2012 at 05:25 PM
So, if the clinic were to keep all the embryos or were to implant all embryos (incl. those traditionally handled as "spares"), the Brummonds and others who oppose the clinic would support it? That's not what I understand from the letter... with statements like: "procedures like in vitro fertilization reduce children to the product of a technological process. A child becomes a manufactured commodity....".
Kelly April 02, 2012 at 09:14 PM
ajt, Good question. It would be a step in the right direction. Though that wouldn't address every concern, it would be an improvement. There are several issues that remain, not the least of which is testing embryos for gender and abnormalities - hence the "manufactured commodity" concept. When you can pick your child's gender and discard those that aren't what you want, and when you can discard your children who might have abnormalities as if those lives aren't worth living, that's seriously problematic. Perhaps you could implant those in someone else instead of discarding them or donating them to science, but we both know that doesn't happen with IVF. Thanks for bringing that up, though. Quite sincerely, that's a good point.
SolutionsToHealth April 03, 2012 at 12:49 PM
Emerging technologies that involve reproductive health offer the promise of better care and services, and improved quality of life. However, new technology can often raise unanticipated ethical concerns, including the potential for abuse and misuse. <a href="http://www.solutionstohealth.com.au/">Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome And Infertility</a>
SolutionsToHealth April 03, 2012 at 12:50 PM
I've heard about this ovulex and me and my partner are trying for a baby, i was wondering if someone could tell me what it is and how it helps (if it does) serious answers only!!!! http://www.solutionstohealth.com.au/
Katie Minott April 03, 2012 at 04:09 PM
I am saddened and frankly shocked that this clinic was not approved because a very small although seemingly vocal minority voiced their concerns. Although Mike and Mary Beth Brummond chose not to conceive children through IVF, which is only one service a fertility clinic provides many families in the area and nationwide have. Doctors are able to work with each family to explore options that will not make the families stray from any moral or ethical value they place on human life. In addition Matt Yonke's idea that somehow our children have been manufactured, I would just like to look at the reality of this technology. It seems as though the inference is that these doctors are in some way bypassing God and "creating" life. If these doctors could guarantee every egg they fertilized with sperm would result in life they would be billionaires. But science only allows for the introduction of the sperm to the egg. Then the waiting game for the doctors and the families begin, will life take hold? Then will it in turn be sustained for 10 months and result in a child? Manufacturing something implies a certain amount of absolute that indeed some product will result from the action. With life this is not the case, even with the assistance of science there are no guarantees. Before objecting to a place of medicine based on moral and ethical principles, make sure you have a clear understanding of the treatment that is actually taking place, not the science fiction version.
John Moreli April 09, 2012 at 05:01 PM
My wife and I are going to the site and sprinkle holy water on the ground until construction starts and hopefully there will be divine intervention!
ProLife February 09, 2013 at 07:36 AM
You are illogical, "If I was not meant to have these beautiful children then God would have made it so that fertility treatment would not have worked for me." According to your logic, "If I was not meant to be a murderer then God would have made it so that the my gun would not shoot properly." IVF process often creates a dozen human embryos & most of them are discarded. This is the destruction of human life that you do not seem to care about as long as you get the kids you want. SELFISH.
ProLife February 09, 2013 at 07:39 AM
Michelle, IVF process often creates a dozen human embryos & most of them are discarded. This is the destruction of human life that you do not seem to care about as long as you get the kids you want. SELFISH.
ProLife February 09, 2013 at 07:41 AM
C Vandevire, Speaking of choice, you are probably also pro-choice. You want to know what choice looks like ? www.abortioninstruments.com http://www.abort73.com/videos/this_is_abortion/

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