Yesterday I received an email from a professor at my university. He needs someone to help him work on data for some upcoming publications. I have never met this professor before. He asked one of his colleges (one of my former professors) who may have the skills needed to do this and she specifically recommended me. What an ego boost! This will give me opportunities to network and collaborate on future publications which is critical for doctoral students. Even with all these wonderful opportunities, my thoughts went straight to money and IVF. I can put some of the money I earn from this work to help pay for my quest to have a child.
I thought this even though my husband and I are actually in a relatively good financial place to start IVF. He is a tax consultant at one of the big four firms and we do live modestly. Our insurance pays for 90% of all medical tests, labs, ultrasounds, etc. After we pay $3,000 out of pocket, they are covered at 100%. They will also pay 90% of infertility procedures up to $15,000 then we pay 100%(monitoring, drugs, etc do not go towards the cap, just the actual procedure). Our REs contract rate for IVF with the insurance company (not the sticker price) is about $7,400 and FET is much less. Freezing is covered at 100%. We also have low drug copays, no IUI requirements before IVF, and do not need pre-approval for any procedure.
Please do not think for a second that I am not incredibly thankful for all these resources. My point here is that even with our situation, I still feel the financial burden of infertility. Co-pays add up. Some procedures such as genetic testing are not covered. If we go past our $15,000 IVF procedure max, we pay 100% of the sticker price which is about 2 times as much as the contract price. I can easily see why IVF is cost prohibitive for so many couples especially if their insurance does not offer fertility benefits (or even worse if they have no insurance at all).
Should medical treatment for infertility be considered a luxury? I have heard some people say that if you can not afford IVF, than you can not afford children. I do not think that is fair. I am sure there are several people with children who do not happen to have several thousand sitting around that they could easily access. Also, does anyone have the right to regulate who has children? One could argue that if IVF was not cost prohibitive, countless people would do it even if they were not ready for children. I also do not think this is true. I have not yet been through IVF but I know for a fact that it is not a simple, smooth process. It takes a tremendous amount of time and dedication even when not considering the financial aspects. People who decided to go through with it are most likely to be highly dedicated to raising and providing their children. I would love to hear people’s thoughts on this topic. I do not know how this problem can be solved but I do know it has life-changing implications for many people dreaming of starting a family.