by Corey Whelan
When I was an infertility patient, like most, my insurance didn’t cover IVF. Looking back, I have to say I have never been as aggressive, or creative, or determined, or driven to find a solution to any situation as I was in my then-efforts to eradicate my baby-less state. Even now, if I come across an old folder of bills and notes-to-self from that time, I am amazed at the me I was then. Completely organized and unwilling to miss a trick. So I know without a doubt, were I that me now, I would be applying to every IVF raffle and grant program in existence. Since there were no raffles or grants 19 years ago, what I did instead was pretend to be a small business, incorporate, and file for group health insurance that did cover some expenses associated with in vitro fertilization. I was desperate and willing to do almost anything. Maybe even anything.
Desperate measures are not unknown to infertility patients and of course, make for juicy news stories.
The furor over this weekend’s IVF raffle story as it appeared in The New York Times is the latest in a long line of sensationalized, “but is it ethical?” articles to focus on our field. It is what it is, but it also is what it’s not and what we need it to be – a call to action for infertility treatment to be covered by insurance, thus freeing patients from the need for desperate measures.
The Family Act Bill, a tax-credit bill for infertility treatment, can help. United as professionals, patients and those who care about and share our passion for family, we must join hands and do what we can to provide relief for patients. The Bill isn’t perfect but it’s a start. Let’s keep our eyes on what’s important and do what we can.
There will always be news stories to pick apart and analyze. Now, today, we need to keep our focus on what counts. Call your representatives. Let them know your story. Let them know why infertility patients deserve coverage. Let them know we demand action. Let them know we are not going away. Let others be diverted from what’s important. The real story here is about patient need, not raffles or marketing techniques.
Let’s make desperate measures, at least for hopeful moms and dads, a thing of the past.
Corey Whelan is the Program Director for The American Fertility Association