The Flipped Coin of Reproductive Health in the United States…FERTILITY RIGHTS

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The benefits of reproductive health campaigns over the past few decades have primarily focused on limiting reproduction. Women now have the freedom and ability to delay pregnancy. This freedom has empowered countless women to pursue successful careers, positively influencing society. Society and the public health community have ensured this reproductive freedom with health and policy reforms, birth control coverage, and educational campaigns. On the flip side, the public health community and society have done little to protect the reproductive rights of those women struggling with the disability of infertility.

Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), including In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), is no longer considered taboo in the medical community. The Center for Disease Control affirms it to be the standard of care for those struggling with infertility. However, for most infertile couples these therapies are not a reality due to the lack of insurance coverage for ART in most States and the high out of pocket costs to patients. IVF has become a treatment for the wealthy or those fortunate enough to live in one of the 15 States in the U.S. mandating some coverage for infertility. This display of inequality reinforces the pressing need for increased advocacy on the issue of infertility treatment coverage.

By improving the reproductive health of women through fertility rights, we once again empower them to positively influence society, but this time as mothers. Contact your congressional representative or state representative today and lobby for the recently introduced tax credit bill, The Family Act of 2011. If passed, this bill will help cover the out of pocket costs for those seeking fertility treatments. Follow the Center for Infertility Justice for more ways to be an advocate and join forces with other infertility right advocates listed in this link.

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4 Responses to “The Flipped Coin of Reproductive Health in the United States…FERTILITY RIGHTS”

  1. tracykrauss Says:

    Insurance should cover this. Infertility is a medical problem and ART is a successful choice of treatment. It’s sad that you have to pick a state that offers this as coverage on insurance. It should be across the board.

    Here’s a link that provides some more information : http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/health/insurance-coverage-for-infertility-laws.aspx

    A big topic that needs to be brought to everyone’s attention!

  2. drmike2011 Says:

    ART is an extremely expensive treatment, and to pay out of pocket, basically implies refusing treatment or removing that option entirely mostly from the middle class……the majority of Americans. This is obviously a medical condition, like any other condition, refusing treatment to a patient is unethical. These legislations should look out for the people, not the insurance companies.

    I certainly agree with the initial comment above; this topic has not received the attention and publicity that it deserves….at least not yet.

  3. mamahach Says:

    Thank you for your insight into this policy issue. Working as practitioners on the patient care side of things, I believe we often turn a blind eye to financial (and emotional) hurdles patients face in their quest for health, and in this case, fertility health. I am grateful for the links you posted as I particularly was not familiar with the Family Act.

    One multifaceted injustice I am currently involved with is an undocumented worker in the US who is struggling with years of infertility. For her, coming from a country where large families are celebrated, she seemingly has no hope to bear a child, as she’s even afraid to use the American health system for basic services. As a mother myself, I am saddened knowing the depth of her loss.

  4. haneefasaleem Says:

    I am increasingly astonished by the gender inequities in insurance coverage of medications and medical interventions within our health care system. We continue to debate whether contraceptives should be covered by insurance companies, while viagra is covered.

    As you mentioned, ART can be very expensive for many women and couples seeking to have a child. The World Health Organization has interpreted the right to health as a responsibility of governments to generate conditions in which everyone can be as healthy as possible and this should include fertility health.

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