I remember many years ago having one rather contentious exchange with a friend about whether infertility should be covered by insurance.
She was a medical professional and said it wasn’t medically necessary; if your biology didn’t work then wanting to have a baby amounted to a vanity. She went on to compare it to getting a boob job.
Yes, that really happened.
Years later, even after all of the scientific proof that fertility is declining in civilized countries like the United States where it fell to its lowest level this past year according to the New York Times, there is still no universal coverage mandate for infertility treatments.
What bothers me the most is Viagra is covered by insurance, yet infertility is not on a national scale. Huffpost wrote a good article a similar issue–health care coverage of Viagra but not birth control.
The Maslow pyramid needs to be adjusted for women. It’s obvious to me that the drive for biological motherhood is a basic need for women. For Lisa, it was as necessary for her as breathing.
I’m hardly the patriarchal type arguing that women all have a desire to be barefoot and pregnant. But it is pretty simple biology: the fact that women have the hardware to grow and nurture life built into their bodies makes it possible that the drive to have a child is also hardwired into their brains.
Infertility is considered a disability by the ADA, yet insurance companies still won’t cover it. Perhaps it’s because certain limits haven’t been proposed?
There are people who want a child to be a certain gender, have a specific color eyes, or in some other way ‘manufactured’ to certain specifications. That does have a strong element of vanity to it.
For most infertility patients, a viable pregnancy with a healthy birth is the only goal. A custom-built kid is not anywhere on their radar, so hopefully the designer child crowd is not hindering the argument for those disabled by infertility not to be given coverage.
The lack of health coverage makes infertility patients take bigger chances to get pregnant to maximize every out of pocket infertility dollar spent—and those chances often tax the healthcare system far more than if there were standardized protocols for health insurance covered treatment.
We certainly pushed the envelope–putting in 8 embryos at once, injecting more egg growing drugs to yield a higher egg count for my lame sperm to hit with IUI resulting awful inflaming of Lisa’s endometriosis. Insurance ended up paying for the two involved surgeries she had as we continued to extend our infertility dollars as far as they could go.
To this day, the six years of infertility manipulation of Lisa’s body contributed to eight years of high blood pressure, hormone fluctuations, and weight problems after Elliana was born. Maybe we would have gotten pregnant faster if insurance provided us with a set process to follow—rather than trying a hodge-podge random selection process of different doctors who dabbled in infertility or didn’t have the resources to conduct some of the tests that ultimately were needed for us to succeed.
I thank God for Resolve and its never ending advocacy for health insurance coverage. If you’re not involved or don’t know about their efforts, you should be and can start by clicking here.
They are a one stop shop of the most comprehensive infertility information on the planet.
Hopefully some day soon, infertility coverage will become a reality for aspiring parents.
Until then, get involved and make sure you make it clear your own fight to have a child deserves to be looked at as a need, not a vain want.