Insurance Should Pay for Fertility Treatments

Jenny Benjamin

moneyIf you needed knee surgery or medication for depression or a suspicious mole removed, your insurance would likely cover it. For the millions of couples struggling with infertility though, the astronomical, out-of-pocket costs of in vitro fertilization put a serious strain on finances, and make having a child practically impossible for many. In states where insurance coverage for IVF isn't mandated, couples and doctors often feel pressure to ensure it works the first time around, transferring more embryos and resulting in an increased number of multiple births. In the 15 states where these treatments are covered, the incidents of multiple births are much lower.

But, as it turns out, multiple births (including the care of a mother carrying twins or triplets or more) put even more of a financial strain on the health care system than IVF does. So isn't it about time that every state got on board, and insisted that insurance companies cover these miracle-creating treatments?

I know a number of women who now have beautiful, healthy children as a result of fertility treatments, whether they had surgery on their uterus or fallopian tubes, took Clomid, were inseminated, or went through IVF. But not one of them got pregnant the first time around, and all had to try a few different things before finally getting the baby or babies they had been so desperate for. I also have friends who saved up as much money as they could to do IVF just once, only to have it fail, and now don't know if they'll ever have a child. Unfortunately, money always seems to play a part, creating families for many of those who have, and leaving those have-nots still clinging to hope.

So I'm wondering why all states aren't insisting that insurance companies cover fertility treatments and IVF, at least one round. I'm not saying that the government needs to pay for it, just that they should make sure these treatments are covered in their state. Personally, I think treating infertility is just as viable as treating a whole range of other, non life-threatening illnesses. The medicine is there -- couples should be able to use it.

Sure, many will disagree with me and I say, bring it on! To those who think fertility treatments are elective, try telling that to a woman who's depressed and falling apart because she can't seem to have the one thing she wants more than anything in the world -- a child. I doubt she feels like she has a choice. To those who say, "Well, they should just adopt," did you know that it can cost as much as $40,000 to adopt a baby? That's more than two rounds of IVF. I know some will say that if you can't conceive naturally, maybe it's not in God's plan. But why would God guide doctors and scientists to discover medical miracles like IVF (as well as fetal ultrasounds, C-sections, and neonatal medicine), if it weren't part of some amazing master plan? Look into the adorable, smiling face of an IVF baby and you won't be able to deny that he or she is one of God's creatures.

In the end, though, it comes down to money and what makes the most financial sense for big business. Where do you stand? Do you believe insurance companies should cover fertility treatments?


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