Don’t ignore that this is a very common story.
One in eight couples of reproductive age are affected by infertility. If that was you, wouldn’t you want to explore every possible option available to build your family? For many the cost and for some, the law inhibits their basic ability to become parents. As technology evolves so must we, in our understanding of what a family with infertility faces. The decisions you never thought you’d make. The questions you never thought you’d have to ask yourself. Like what is more important? Biology or parenting?
Don’t ignore the cost.
Have you ever had the thought that you cannot grow your family because it is too expensive? One cycle of In vitro Fertilization averages to be $12,400 and if your insurance doesn’t cover it you may have to pay upfront. Adoption is more expensive both domestically and internationally. There are state programs for families to receive health insurance based on their income level and the fact that they are having a baby. What if you are diagnosed with infertility and want a baby but cannot afford to undergo the treatments to get there? Money should never determine who can become parents. Yes you want to give children the best home but coming from a large family on a shoestring budget myself, I know that money doesn’t determine family. Yet my husband and I find ourselves weighing our options based on the costs, when our dream is simply to become parents.
Don’t ignore the irony…
…that the right to life or person-hood legislation may inhibit the ability to build a family for millions of couples who can’t conceive on their own. If you are hoping to become a parent by adopting an embryo the statistics for success are grim at best.
“According to the CDC, for embryo adoption the national average pregnancy rate is 43 percent and the national average live-birth rate is 35 percent. These statistics are from a database of all U.S. assisted reproductive technology clinics… Not all embryos survive the freeze/thaw process, and thawing of your selected embryos may not lead to a transfer. However, this may still offer the greatest hope of achieving pregnancy”* (see reference below)
Would the personhood legislation make it murder when an embryo doesn’t survive the thawing process? We cannot ignore the link between giving embryos personhood and the ability for millions of Americans to create families. Nor can we ignore that these laws intended to protect life, could limit the legal viability of using In vitro Fertilization or other methods, to build a family. Limiting the very people who would love and honor that new life with a profound sense of gratitude that can only come after experiencing the profound loss that IS infertility.
Don’t ignore the pain.
“Besides the medical part of infertility treatments, women and men are dealing with the emotional stress of infertility. To put this into perspective, infertility treatment can be as stressful as a cancer diagnosis. Unique emotional challenges such as understanding the medical diagnosis, the relationship with your spouse and your family and friends and, finally, financial stress all combine together to make dealing with this issue more stressful.”**(see reference below)
Don’t ignore support.
Over the past five years I have found that no level of support makes you feel all the way better about your infertility. Grief is a lonely thing no matter the cause. But there are ways to connect and seek support. Writing about it on this blog has helped me organize my thoughts and connect with others facing the similar things; it is also a way to share with my family and friends. You can also contact Resolve.org and find or create a support group in your area.
Want to learn more? Infertility 101: http://www.resolve.org/infertility101
Want to understand? An amazing video that I believe says it best for many of us: http://www.tearsandhope.com/
It’s National Infertility Awareness Week! Learn how to get involved and get support here: http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/about.html
To learn more about embryo adoption: http://www.embryoadoption.org/files/2010_embryo_donation_adoption_101.pdf
* referenced from: http://www.embryodonation.org/index.php?content=adoption
** referenced from: http://www.resolve.org/family-building-options/insurance_coverage/infertility-in-the-workplace.html