Dear Congressperson/Senator: Having A Baby Is An “Essential Health Benefit”


Over the years as I’ve gotten more involved in blogging and talking about the topic of infertility, I inevitably come across someone who comments or says “well, not everyone is meant to have a baby”.  Or something like “it is not a right to have a baby–women don’t have to do it”.

One of the provisions of the new healthcare involves defining “Essential Health Benefits”–basically stuff the new health insurance exchanges will be required to cover beginning in 2014.

Should infertility coverage be included in that?

I actually heard an Arizona Senator during our primary infertility days say that he didn’t think that the insurance system should justify the added expenses of infertility health care coverage for what he deemed the “small percentage” of people that would actually benefit, or even need the benefit to begin with.

At that time, the concept of “essential health benefit” was not on the table so I just forgave the comment as ignorant, or perhaps misinformed.

As the political discourse steers further and further away from women’s issues, and focuses on ‘manly’ issues like fiscal cliffs and banking reform, I am very concerned that an issue that affects nearly 8 million Americans every year is still not receiving the attention and importance that it should.

Why do I care so much about this particular woman’s issue?  I am a guy, after all.

I care because of my wife and daughter.

Looking back on our journey, I shudder when I think about the times we pushed the envelope of  infertility suggested best practices to improve our odds of success and maximize the fertility dollars we spent. Four embryos transferred on the first IVF.  Six on the second.  Eight on the third.

The TV news journals have chronicled the massive healthcare expenses associated with multiple pregnancy outcomes, but spoken very little about the reason so many women feel the pressure to take these kinds of chances.

They need a baby.

It frustrates me when talk show hosts portray women going through infertility as “obsessed”.  I was screaming at the TV a few years ago when Dr. Phil had a couple on, and the title of the piece was “Obsessed With Having A Baby”.

I will admit, there was a point when I thought that Lisa was obsessed.  I just could NOT understand what in the world would drive her to go through such pain and emotional abuse to have a child.

My view changed the minute the doctor showed Lisa our newborn daughter seconds after she was pulled from Lisa’s abdomen in an emergency C-section.  Despite the massive pain, and the fact that at that moment Lisa’s internal organs were sitting in a surgical pan  next to her peeled open stomach,  there was a spiritual, almost electrical current that connected Lisa and Elliana the minute their eyes met for the first time.

In that moment, I realized that calling the desire to have a baby for a woman an obsession is an insult.  Obsession is a powerless, weak word to use when describing such a primal, all encompassing basic biological need.

It is as essential to a woman as breathing, eating, and sleeping.

Lisa is connected to Elliana in a way that transcends anything I will ever be capable of feeling, not having the basic biological equipment to grow a baby in my body.  I will NEVER understand what that feels like, but I can see the miraculous magic of it crackling in the lightning bolts of emotion that tether Lisa and Elliana’s souls.

When I see them, I am convinced I am getting a glimpse of what it must have been like for God when He created the world.

You sit back, revel in the beauty, and see that it is good.

I hope that there will come a day when this country values the incredible miracle that women have to grow life in their womb, by ensuring that money is never an obstacle to their ability to fill that womb and nourish a human life to birth.

I came across this study, showing that children’s cells embed in their mother’s brains

It even suggests that women with these cells are less likely to get degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Scientists Discover Children’s Cells Living in Mothers‘ Brains

Without a doubt, infertility coverage should be provided to ensure every woman enjoys the essential health benefit God and nature designed her for: motherhood.





Leave a reply