A few weeks ago, I was lurking on a message board and found a thread of confessions. They're not uncommon as a Friday feature, and they sometimes get heated. One of the confessions on that board was something along the lines of thinking that health insurance shouldn't cover IF treatments when there are babies and children out there who already need homes. My jaw dropped - first at the insurance issue, and then at the implication that adoption should be favored over IVF or other ART. I couldn't let it slide and had to comment. I have already discussed our stance on adoption, but here's some insight on the health insurance part of it.
What many people don't seem to realize is that IF coverage isn't as common as they think. I am very fortunate in that my company gives a lifetime max of $5,000 for treatments, and most of my testing was covered as well. Most meds used in treatment are covered on my prescription plan. Buddy, on the other hand, has no IF coverage, and many meds used in treatment of MFI are also not covered. I'm lucky in that my company is headquartered in a state which requires at least some coverage. It's part of why, even though I ache for new challenges and am underpaid, I'll exhaust all opportunities within the company before looking outside and risking IF coverage. My point is, people who gripe that insurance is covering IVF and other treatments really don't know what they're talking about, because many couples lack coverage and are either completely out-of-pocket, or have coverage for only the testing but not any treatment. Sleep tight, critics, your insurance premiums are more than likely not being driven by infertiles taking advantage of IF coverage.
Another thing people don't consider is the very thing that health insurance is supposed to be for: health. Infertility isn't generally spontaneous. There's usually a reason, whether it be MFI, PCOS, endometriosis, blocked tubes, or anovulation. These are all issues that cause the reproductive system to perform sub-optimally. Even unexplained IF is an indication that something in one or both partners' systems isn't working right. Sub-optimal health is precisely how I would define illness. Therefore, infertility is an illness, and is often driven or caused by other illnesses. Just like cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, and any other illness that you might consider a health problem. So why should my health insurance not cover me for my health issue, but it should cover treatment for cancer or diabetes?
Additionally, many health problems that drive IF have other symptoms, such as very heavy or painful periods, weight gain or inability to lose weight, fatigue, hormonal imbalance, or depression. If someone with any other health problem was experiencing these things, they'd be advised to be treated. Whether or not a woman is trying to conceive, I feel we all have a right to be treated for health problems and feel our best. I fail to see how it is any different when the treatment of these problems also is for the purpose of fixing the cause of lack of procreation.
I don't really have a clever or clean way to wrap this up. It's an emotional subject for me, because I see women every day who have to choose their treatment based on what will be covered. I don't feel that anyone should have to choose financial stability over their health.