For the Infertile, Unfairness Often Prevails

If life were fair, infertile men and women would be those who didn’t want children, rendering their condition irrelevant.  If life were fair, infertile people would be those who would neglect or abuse their children, thus preventing them from having biological offspring whom they would ultimately harm.  But, life isn’t remotely fair, so Tracy, the friend I wrote about on Christmas Day, learned today that her fourth in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle was not successful.

Infertility is a medical problem for which only 15 U.S. states provide health insurance coverage. This renders the majority of this country’s infertile population—10% of the overall population, according to Resolve: The National Infertility Association—unable to pursue treatment.  (For more information about infertility coverage—and the lack thereof—in the United States, see my post, Giving Thanks for Infertility Coverage, at http://www.mkkennedy.com/2009/07/giving-thanks-for-infertility-coverage/)

For those of us with infertility coverage, as I had when I underwent seven intrauterine insemination (IUI) cycles six years ago, and as my husband and I had when we did IVF twice last spring and summer, we still have out-of-pocket costs to cover.  For those without health coverage for infertility or those who have exceeded the often-low limits of the coverage they have, deep pockets are required.  (For more information on IVF costs, read my posts, High-Cost IVF Meds at http://www.mkkennedy.com/2009/07/high-cost-ivf-meds/ and Uninsured IVF Costs Unaffordable for Most at  http://www.mkkennedy.com/2009/07/uninsured-IVF-costs-unaffordable-for-most/)

In these latter cases, those suffering from infertility need to determine how much to invest in treatment, for which there is no guarantee of a child, versus how much to save for adoption, if that is an option they’d like to pursue if treatment isn’t successful.  But, most of us, my husband and I included, don’t have the financial resources with which to pursue both infertility treatments and adoption.  So, if medical interventions don’t work, we’re left with failure, rather than the hope of parenting a child through adoption.

The infertile face flat-out discrimination in that their medical conditions don’t automatically enable them to have the medical insurance necessary for treatment.  They face financial ruin as they pursue motherhood and fatherhood out of their own pockets.  They suffer through invasive, embarrassing, hormone-filled, grueling medical procedures, which are physical and emotional torture.  (Many of my July posts address the debilitating effects of my second IVF cycle.)

But, one of the worst facets of infertility is the isolation, for family members, friends and colleagues are often too uneducated or uncomfortable to know how to provide much-needed support.  Today, Tracy directed her friends to Vita Alligood’s article on the Resolve website, www.resolve.org, titled “Infertility Etiquette,” so they will know how to react to her and others in the infertility camp.  The piece is a must-read for anyone who knows anyone suffering from infertility.  To read it, click on: http://www.facebook.com/l/7d71a;www.resolve.org/site/PageServer?pagename=lrn_ffaf_ie

Last, on Christmas Day, I asked for prayers for Tracy and her seven embryos.  Today, she needs prayers more than ever, as she faces the future, tapped out financially, emotionally and physically.  I am going to pray that she will someday become a mother, for, although life isn’t fair, any child, biological or adopted, would be blessed to be hers.

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