Opinion: Fertility as an Essential Human Right: Join in Supporting the Access to Infertility Treatment and Care Act!

Fertility as an Essential Human Right

Infertility Treatment and Care Act: It is estimated that 6.7 million women in the United States are unable to conceive a child. Contrary to the common misunderstanding, infertility affects women and men equally.

Infertility can be a result of diseases like endometriosis, PCOS, poor egg quality or pelvic infections in women. While in men, it can be related to genetic issues, diabetes, undescended testicles, pelvic infections or enlarged veins in the testes. In both women and men, infertility can result from necessary, life-saving cancer treatments. And, sadly, it is still true that about 20% of infertility cases are unexplained.

There is no question that infertility is a medical condition; it is a disease of the reproductive system. There is no shame, and thus no blame, in having any disease, and infertility is no exception. In the majority of cases, an underlying medical condition like those listed above is found to be the cause. Like most medical conditions, infertility has known medical treatments.

infertility treatment

Infertility Treatments

In 85-90% of cases, infertility can be treated with therapies like medication and surgery. But every disease has its severe cases, and for severe infertility cases, In Vitro Fertilization, or IVF, is the conventional treatment. Like so many medical treatments, IVF is not 100% effective for all cases. But it gives hope to the 3% of infertile couples who require IVF to build their families.

But IVF has its cost, quite literally.  The average cost of IVF is $12,400, per cycle.  If an egg donor is needed, costs can reach over $30,000.  Many IVF patients use up their savings, or refinance their homes to have a chance to have a child. Some aren’t ever successful. The money is gone and so is the dream of having a family.

For couples struggling with infertility, it is one of the most emotionally taxing situations they will have encountered in life. Add to that the financial stress of coming up with a large sum of money to pay for something most folks get for free. And you’ve got a recipe for extreme stress, which can go on for years.

sad couple because of infertility

Can you imagine a world where the diabetic’s insulin is considered ‘optional’ by insurance? Or where the breast cancer patient gets her chemo treatments denied?  Enter the world of infertility. For many years, the health insurance industry has largely labeled infertility as not a medical condition, adding that having a child is not required. The majority of infertile couples are told that their fertility treatments aren’t “medically necessary,” and won’t be covered by insurance.  Again – consider the scenario of being diagnosed with cancer, and then being told that you have to pay for all of your treatment yourself.  How would you do that? How would that feel?

Luckily, things are starting to change.

There are a handful of large companies, such at Nike, Intel and Target that are starting to cover some infertility treatments. If you’re lucky enough to work for one of these, chances are you’ll get some financial help if you learn that you’re infertile.

But what if you don’t work for a Fortune 500 company? There are large numbers of people who need IVF to conceive, but cannot afford it. This creates a situation where only those of higher socioeconomic status can get treatment for severe infertility. How is that fair to the general population? What does that do to our society’s future when a substantial number of citizens will never have the chance to conceive?

These and other questions likely motivated Congresswoman Rose DeLauro of Connecticut and Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey when, in May 2019, they introduced Bills to the US House and Senate, requiring insurance companies to cover infertility treatments. The Access to Infertility Treatment and Care Act (HR 2803 and S 1461) would require all health plans to provide coverage for infertility treatments, also requiring coverage for fertility preservation for those who have necessary procedures, such as cancer treatments, that could cause infertility.

Finally! The Access to Infertility Treatment and Care Act (HR 2803 and S 1461)

support Access to Infertility Treatment and Care Act

Infertility is a medical condition. For those who desire it, having children is an essential part of the human experience, and has an enormous effect on quality of life.  All infertile women and men should have the right to try to have a baby with the support of quality medical care.

We are reaching a time when having children is being seen not as a “choice,” but, for many, as a vital part of being fulfilled as a human. I ask all of us to start seeing infertility as a medical condition that affects 11% of us!

You may not want to have children yourself, but there are many people who feel that being able to be a parent is fundamental to who they are. Not being physically able to conceive a child is a disease of the reproductive system that prevents parenthood.  Every person deserves to have a happy fulfilling life. There is plenty of struggle built into life without denying people medical care that would result in bringing them real joy.

Let’s Support The Access to Infertility Treatment and Care Act (HR 2803 and S 1461)

To that end, please consider writing a letter to your representative in support of this Infertility Treatment and Care Act Bill.

Stand in support with the millions of people silently struggling with infertility. They already have so little voice. Help them by adding yours to their cause. This Bill could change many people’s lives. Maybe even someone’s you know, who you don’t realize is infertile. Give them a chance to have what comes easily to so many. Take at least some of the financial stress away, so that they can focus on their medical treatment. Help these people who want desperately to raise amazing kids who feel so wanted they can’t help but make the world a better place. Help those kids get here.  Show your support for the next generation.

Established patients can schedule online, patients who haven’t seen us at Kwan Yin Healing Center call (503) 701-8766, or email us to schedule your appointment.

Sources from: The  American Society for Reproductive Medicine


About Lisa Tongel

We are practitioners of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine specializing in fertility, IVF support, pregnancy care, reproductive health, and pelvic pain.