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About the Foundation

“It is not those that are well who need the doctor, but the sick” (Lk 5:31) and it is for them that the Institute is to be established as a place where diagnosis and treatment is offered and where training in NaproTechnology is available for doctors, allied health professionals, and for instructors in the Creighton Model. It is also intended as a place where further research into the causes and treatment of infertility may be undertaken.

Infertility is an increasingly common problem in present day Europe. One could say it is a modern day world disorder, an “unwanted child of affluence”. It is a problem that affects ever increasing numbers of married couples also in Poland. The media carry a constant stream of discussions on how to regulate methods of artificial reproduction (and in particular in-vitro fertilisation) by new laws and on the possibility of meeting the costs involved from health insurance coffers. The teaching of the Catholic Church in these areas has always been very clear and recently it has been confirmed again in the document issued by the Congregation of Doctrine and Faith entitled “Dignitas Personae”.

Faced with this situation as laity responsible for the mission and image of the Church and for building the civilisation of love, and wishing to take on the responsibility and accept the legacy of the teachings of the Servant of God, John Paul II, we initiated the foundation of the John Paul II Institute for the Treatment of Infertility in Marriage in 2007.

Responding to present day needs, to challenges encountered by families and to the dangers inherent in developments in biotechnology, we wish to assist marriages whose desire to have a child is frustrated by their inability to transmit life. We also wish to reach out to married couples who are fertile in the physical sense but who are not bearing children for a variety of other reasons. It is very important to us to ensure that marriages who are suffering in these ways do not hear exclusively of artificial insemination or in-vitro fertilisation, and sometimes the Church’s opposition to these methods, without receiving any guidance on what to do. We are aware that the Creator has endowed us with the ability to discover – almost always – the underlying causes of infertility and often also ways of treating these. Infertility is an illness or a symptom of an illness and so it is not right to propose that couples use artificial methods of reproduction by resorting to laboratories producing children (i.e. IVF clinics) or zootechnology methods of reproduction such as artificial insemination since these are methods which treat nothing but only bypass underlying problems needing to be addressed and produce children in ways which violate human dignity.

The John Paul II Institute for the Treatment of Infertility in Marriage Foundation was formed by notarised Act in April 2008. Earlier the Institute requested a blessing from the metropolitan Archbishop of Lublin Jozef Zycinski for its research and work towards forming a centre for the treatment and prevention of infertility, developing training programmes in NaProTechnology and offering assistance to married couples in building attitudes of openness to life.

This was followed a little later by a conference organised in Homlu, Belarus entitled “Gynaecology and Obstetrics in the light of the Teaching of the Catholic Church”. The Conference took place on 24 to 25 May 2008, and was organised with the help of Rev Slawomir Laskowski from Belarus. Lecturers from Poland and Belarus addressed approximately 40 participants: Belarus doctors, gynaecologists and other specialists.

At the end of November 2008 the Foundation hosted the first ever course in NaproTechnology and the Creighton Model conducted in Poland. It was lead by Janina Filipczuk of Toronto and a team of lecturers who included Dr Teresa McKenna from Canada, Kathy Rivet and Phyllis White from USA and Margaret Neale from Great Britain. Six doctors and twenty instructors from all over Poland participated in the course and completed the first examinations successfully. The full training will involve three more stages and altogether takes 13 months. Its completion involves both practical and written final examinations.

Dr Thomas Hilgers, Dr Maciej Barczentewicz and Dr Phil Boyle

Dr Thomas Hilgers, Dr Maciej Barczentewicz and Dr Phil Boyle

The President of the Executive Board of the Foundation, Maciej Barczentewicz, has been invited by the Polish Episcopate to be a member of the Commission on Bioethical Issues of the Polish Bishops’ Conference.

On 19th January this year we received the following words of blessing from Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, the former personal aide of Pope John Paul II and now Archbishop of Kraków:

“In response to the request of members of the John Paul II Foundation for Treatment of Infertility in Marriage in Lublin, I herewith impart my pastoral blessing and encouragement that the Foundation may give material form to the good news regarding transmission of human life, infertility treatment and preparation for the self-less commitment of adoption. May this living memorial to the teaching which the Servant of God, John Paul II, has left for us in Lublin and in our country also bear fruit in bringing happiness to couples and protecting them from falling for the temptation to have children at any cost. May it be a tangible and unequivocal voice for the Church in defence of life and the dignity of men and women in accordance with the plans of the Creator for whom the human person is the only being he wished solely for his own sake. I remain hopeful that the doctors and all the personnel of the Institute may always give a clear testimony of faith, hope and love in adherence to the teachings of the Church.”
+ Stanisław Cardinal Dziwisz