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Being a parent is not a luxury

Posted Mar 26 2010 12:00am
This whole healthcare reform bill has my knickers in a knot. Why? Because there are so many unknowns. It's not just about everyone have health care insurance and having the ability to go to the doctor (which is a good thing) -- it's about what's going to be affected.

In examining the bill there is nothing in the bill regarding the coverage of infertility. One benefit of the universal healthcare plan is that insurance companies cannot deny coverage to couples who suffer from infertility because it was deemed a pre-existing condition. However, in terms of covering infertility treatments or in-vitro fertilization, none of that is made mandatory under the bill for insurance companies.

So where does this leave us? In the same exact place as we were before. Some states cover infertility as it's a state mandate while the majority of the others do not cover infertility, IVF and what not.

This totally fries me. Why? Because having a child is NOT a luxury. I am so tired of Reproductive Endocrinology being compared to cosmetic surgery. There's a huge difference. Having a child is not the same breast augmentation, tummy tucks, face lifts, or Botox injections. It's about getting the help our bodies need to do something we should be able to do naturally. Even if it's something that's elective and we choose to do.

I can't tell you how many conversations I have had with individuals who don't understand or get what egg donation is all about who are more than happy to tell me they think that we "Mom's over the age of 40 who are contemplating having children should realize this is totally a luxury much like cosmetic dentistry or cosmetic surgery.

"Why don't you just adopt" or "Why don't you become a foster parent?" "There are worst things in the world than being childless, send money to a child overseas."

Ugh!

Infertility is a disease just like Diabetes, Coronary Artery disease, Cancer, or Rheumatoid Arthritis. We would never ever deny a diabetic insulin, a heart patient cardiac medicine, a cancer patient chemo, or an arthritis patient medication. We would treat these patients appropriately and partner with them regarding their care.

Why can't the same be said for infertility? Why is infertility treated as the red-headed step-child? And how is having a child even remotely considered a luxury? I recognize that we have the Bobbi McCaughey's, Kate Gosselin's, and the Nadya Suleman's of the world who have had high order multiples. I recognize that having that many babies all at one time is not always the best choice in the world. But ask these mothers if they were to do it all over again what they would do and they are going to tell you they couldn't imagine their life without the children they bore and they'd do the same thing all over again.

I will be the first to tell you that the solutions to the health care issues we have in the USA are not easy. I am not even sure myself what they would be -- but I do know that it would be nice just for once if we the infertile could be cut a break for once, receive some help without having to be for it and most importantly have our infertility recognized for what it is. It's not something we have caused through diet, lack of exercise, too much exercise, eating too much bacon, or having one too many martini's. Infertility is generally a genetic thing that affects 6 million individuals in the USA every year. So this isn't something that's only affecting a "handful" of individuals each and every year. This is affecting oodles of people each and every year.

Now I realize that the infertility industry is a billion dollar a year industry. Everyone wants a piece of the pie. I have even had conversations with others in the industry who say that RE's really don't want a cure for infertility because it would take away from their bottom line.

I could approach this two ways. I could be appalled at the very idea that RE's would really feel this way or I could have the attitude of - "Okay everyone needs to make a living, if they can help me have a child then I am thankful for the technology." However, if my fellow diabetics and cancer patients are receiving help from their insurance companies (which they should) to help pay for treatment for their disease why can't we?

I am here to tell you - being a parent is not a luxury I don't care what anyone says.
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