the next generation

I recently read that the city council of Naperville, a western suburb of Chicago, had approved the development of Naperville Family Building Center, a fertility clinic run by Dr. Randy Morris that will provide in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and other fertility treatments to couples struggling to realize their dream of raising a family.

Sadly, the approval of the Naperville fertility clinic was a fight not easily won.  The clinic has been vehemently opposed by the Pro-Life Action League, as this post explains.  IVF (a procedure in which an egg is fertilized outside the woman’s body with the resulting embryo subsequently implanted into the woman’s uterus) has become a contentious issue, with the Catholic Church opposing IVF entirely and much debate circulating around “personhood” laws adopted in many states.

Obviously, issues surrounding IVF and other fertility treatments are legally and morally complex.  There are many nuances, complications, exceptions, and gray areas, all of which are further complicated by the highly-charged emotions involved.  But, I can’t help but wonder, do the opponents of the Naperville Family Building Center have any idea of the pain, frustration, and emotional rollercoaster that a couple feels when facing infertility?

Have they ever known the devastation of hearing from an ultrasound tech that there is no fetal heartbeat?

Have they ever known the sadness and helplessness felt when driving a woman home after she has undergone a D&C to remove the remnants of a dead fetus?

Have they ever known the emotional lows that a woman feels when, in the bathroom, she discovers that once again, this month, there would be no baby?

Have they ever known the pain of poking themselves with long syringes daily for several months on end in order to hormonally support a tenuous pregnancy?

Have they ever known the heartbreak of losing a pregnancy at 7 weeks?  At 10 weeks?  At 20 weeks?

Two Hands 2

Have they ever known the anger, frustration, and sadness that comes with being told that conception will be difficult if not impossible?

Have they ever known the emotional toll that infertility can have on a couple when all of the romance of conceiving a child is sucked out of the relationship and replaced with temperature charts, ovulation kits, tubes, needles, and injections?

And, have they ever known the indescribable joy and disbelief felt by a desperate couple who had lost all hope upon learning that conception has finally been achieved?

I truly doubt that they have ever known none of these emotions.  For if they had, they would not only not be opposing the development of the fertility clinic, but they would be offering the couples undergoing the treatments their wholehearted support, empathy, and compassion.

P.S. I owe a personal debt of gratitude to the compassionate nurses and doctors at Fertility Centers of Illinois who helped us through our fertility/miscarriage struggles and made the birth of our second son possible (although not through IVF).

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  1. Isn’t Joe Scheidler based in Chicago? (I seem to vaguely remember that from back when I lived there.) That clinic is probably way too geographically convenient for his group not to protest. Lucky Naperville! I can’t imagine being picketed while on my way to fertility treatments.

  2. I had experience a second miscarriage and sought help and guidance from my minister. He sent a woman who had never been married to help me through this ordeal. What? I know! I soon was told by the nurse at my OBGYN office that I was too fat to conceive. WHAT? I know! 6 months after the loss I found myself pregnant and found a new doctor. I have a dear friend who has experienced this loss 5 times. I never want to go through that low…solitary valley again. I felt what you are talking about but God was to bless me later.
    Peach State

    • I am so sorry for that negative experience after a second miscarriage. I am so glad that you found a new doctor. And I am so sorry for your friend’s losses. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts.

  3. The lack of compassion shown by some of these groups is astounding. Because no, they’ve never known. All they can see is what they believe, and what they want to force upon others. I’m so sorry your journey was a rough one, and glad that you were able to expand your family with the help of the gifted specialists.

  4. As someone who went thru all of the above…. it is hard to explain to someone who does not understand the difficulties of IVF if they can get pregnant by sharing a toothbrush with their husband. that being said, I do not wish this experience on ANY one….

    • Yes, it is definitely hard for some to comprehend the ordeal. Sometimes people don’t know what to say or if they should say anything but a kind word or two can go a long way.

  5. I have friends who conceived via IVF and I cannot imagine what life would be like for them, if they hadn’t been blessed with the miracle of life thanks to these clinics and doctors. Wonderfully written post, Christine.

    • Thank you so much. While I did not use IVF to conceive, the support and kindness that we received from all of the nurses and doctors at our fertility clinic was beyond measure. Infertility is such an emotional roller-coaster that support and compassion are the only things needed.

    • Thanks. Yes, IVF truly is a remarkable advancement in medical science. All too often we get bogged down by the medical science of it, but we need to remember that it is ultimately creating families.

  6. I experienced all those things you mentioned.
    What an important post. Thank you.

    • I am sorry that you had to go through all of that. It is so difficult. Thank you for reading and for commenting. You’re right – it is such an important issue. Please forward as you see fit. I had a lot of family and friends who didn’t really acknowledge what was going on just because they didn’t know what to say and didn’t want to bring up something painful, but sometimes you just want people to acknowledge that you are hurting.

  7. I think the answer is no, they have never known. It is so scary that these decisions lie in the hands of people who do not even know what they are making decision about. Thank you for this important post.

  8. It truly makes you realize the miracle of life. Everyone who has a baby is truly blessed. I wish that no one ever had to experience infertility. I pray that anyone who suffers infertility has the love and support needed to get through it.

  9. stephanie

    My sister experienced all and more of what you describe here. But, it’s not a happy ending for her and her husband. They wanted that second child so much but it wasn’t to be. This took me back to all that. It was a difficult time that extended into years. Fortunately they have a 10 year old who is much loved. I’m happy for your outcome. Lucky kid to be so wanted!

  10. I have gone though three miscarriages at 7, 10 and most recently at 19 weeks. The fear of not hearing that heartbeat is so scary. All the heartache that goes into becoming a mommy or a daddy is almost too much to bear. My hosptial where I had previously had 10 cycles of artificial insemination with donor sperm due to my husbands infertility had told me last year that the catholic organization which ran the hospital would no longer offer services to me because it was frowned upon…I was not happy. I was told that I needed to go somewhere else for IF treatment, but as soon as I got pregnant I could return for my prenatal care…how is that right?? With my last loss it was discovered that I had a blood clotting disorder which most likely caused my miscarriages. So if I get lucky enough to get pregnant again it will mean 9 months of daily injections of blood thinners….they should really be embracing us instead of hating us for wanting to have a family.

    • Oh my goodness, I am so sorry. You are so right – they should definitely be embracing us. Sadly, it is a hypocritical world that we live in. I truly, truly wish you all the best. Hang in there. I’m sending you lots of hugs through the virtual world. I am praying for you and everyone else who is going through something like this.

  11. This really hit home for me. I’ve survived 5 miscarriages, including twins in the second trimester. I struggled to get pregnant for years, then I did and struggled to stay pregnant. I’m blessed with 5 kids today, 3 from my womb and 2 from my heart. I wish more people understood.

  12. mamamzungu

    I don’t understand why anyone (especially the right) would oppose a loving couple intentionally and through much struggle working to bring a baby into this world to love and care for!! It’s totally crazy. I thought their whole platform was promoting “family values” and what could promote this more than helping couples who desperately want children to have them. Glad this center is now available to people in your area!

    • Right! I believe that their opposition comes from the fact that if too many fertilized eggs are produced, the couple can choose to freeze them, donate them, or discard them. They oppose discarding the frozen embyros. IVF is not an issue that any couple enters into lightly. All issues, nuances, and what-ifs are evaluated, and since the issue is a medically gray area, I believe that the decision of the couple should be respected. Having suffered 3 miscarriages (2 due to implantation problems) I am all too aware of the fact that a pregnancy depends on both fertilization AND implantation.

      Thank you for reading and for commenting. It is an important issue of the day.

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  14. I also struggled with infertility, and while I didn’t need IVF, I can honestly say that I don’t believe I would be a mother without the fertility treatments. I think you are 100% right – the people that are so against it have never had those experiences emotions. I would also say that most of them don’t even understand the procedures or everything a couple has to go through to finally get treatment (esp IVF).

  15. I can’t begin to imagine the pain felt by those with fertility issues and pregnancy loss. I can however imagine that they deserve love and support, not to be torn down. I hope the clinic becomes a helpful part of that community.

  16. while my challenges with having another child have not reached the point of medical intervention, i know exactly how it feels to be disappointed every month looking at that stupid pink line. one. stupid. line. so how anyone could oppose the blessing of having a happy little soul come into the world is just beyond me. bless the medical community and their good works.

  17. Wonderfully said! I have friends that went through this and some are going through it now. It’s agonizing and no one deserves judgment. Just a kind shoulder and a listening ear.
    I’m so glad about the birth of your son.

  18. I had no idea people were picketing IVF clinics. Thank you for writing this. There can be such a lack of empathy in the world. Everyone is focused on their own issues with no consideration for what they are doing to other people.

  19. chefette_22

    Brilliantly said. Four weeks ago I delivered twins, as a gestational surrogate, for an infertile couple. I was lucky enough to only need one IVF cycle to achieve pregnancy. Before they turned to surrogate to help make their dream of parenthood a reality, the intended mother went through six cycles herself. Six cycles of multiple nightly injections of artificial hormones that wreak havoc on your body and emotions & twice weekly blood work… all to find out 6 times that the embryos didn’t survive the process, or that they lost their baby at 7 weeks. I can not imagine the heartbreak they suffered but have witnessed first hand the joy that a successful IVF procedure brings. The doctors & nurses at the facilities we worked with were amazing & genuinely cared about our success. Where else in the medical profession can you find that?

  20. As someone who has suffered through miscarriage, I honestly believe that people can’t possibly know what it’s like. I know that I didn’t until I lived through it myself. But the idea of people opposing fertility clinics…all I can do is shake my head.

    • Yes, I couldn’t have imagined it either until going through it. I think that is true about most difficult situations though. We also don’t know just how strong we really are.

  21. My sister struggled with this as well, and while I can not feel your pain, I can certainly attest to the grief that I had in seeing my sister and brother-in-law (who is now one of my best friends) struggle to try to conceive, and the utter anguish, pain, and frustration that flowed from them after their miscarriage.

    It is not only tough on the people going through such an ordeal, but also on the people that love them and want nothing but their happiness.

    Wonderful piece.

    • Thanks for reading and commenting. It looks like your sister was recently blessed with a baby, huh? That is wonderful. It is interesting to hear your perspective as someone witnessing the pain of another couple. So many times I wondered if people were oblivious to what we were going through. It is nice to know that you cared so much about your sister’s happiness and well-being.

  22. This is an awesome peice and really highlights why we need so much more compassion in the world today, so much more understanding, empathy and support for each other. Most in oppostion have probably not only not shared that pain but may not even have thought of it. Awesome post!

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  25. I know all too well the sadness you describe. It stays with you…forever. So you are right. Those opposing a resource like a fertility clinic cannot know the feelings…otherwise thu would surely not stand in the way of such progress. I have little respect for any organization/religion that feel they have the right to make decisions about my body and/or block me from resources like these. I am glad they won the battle so that they may help build families. Great post!

    • I am sorry that you have gone through similar situations. Too many people have. So many people just cannot know what its like until you’ve been there. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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