Its still National Infertility Awareness Week and I want to bring as much awareness as I can to this disease, see previous posts here, here, here and here. 1 in 8 couples suffer from Infertility and the disease is so much more than physical. There is emotional, relational, physical, and mental pain associated with the disease of Infertility. Along with the inability to either get pregnant or have a viable pregnancy there is also the sense and feeling of loss. The loss of having a child, the loss of growing your family the way you intended, the loss of those memories you could be making, and the loss of being a part of the "mom's club". While Infertility is considered a disease most health insurance companies do not see it as a life threatening disease so most of them don't cover any of the costs for treatments. That means that couples who desire to have children but need medical intervention to do so must pay out of pocket, and even then there is no guarantee that any of the treatments will result in a baby.
Infertility is not unique to the United States. In fact it is a world wide disease and the number of sufferers if growing. It is estimated that over 100 million couples world wide suffer from Infertility. There are several countries in Africa that are considered to be the "Infertility Belt" and it's most likely the culprits are from STDs and unsafe abortions. In Brazil a majority of the states do not offer Infertility services at government health clinics. In the US, more than 7 million women seek Infertility treatments which are part of a multibillion-dollar fertility industry. Infertility can also affect couples who have already had their own child(ren) and it's called Secondary Infertility, it is unknown why most cases happen but some could be from complications from previous pregnancies and deliveries. (source)
In the UK there is an option to go through NHS for funding Infertility treatments, not all procedures are covered and some areas within the UK do not accept NHS. There is a bunch of criteria that couples must meet to be approved and at what level. According to a study the following countries not only recognize Infertility as a disease but they have also made provisions for Infertility treatment to be covered through insurance: Australia, Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, The Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. For example in Australia many of the Infertility treatments are eligible for Medicare rebates and some costs are covered by Private Insurance. The good news is that there are 15 States in the US who mandate the option to cover Infertility Treatments: Arkansas (that explains the Duggars), California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana (ok Thomas we can move there), New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas, and West Virginia. I have to say that it is so encouraging to read and learn about these PRO-Infertility Treatment countries and states, I just hope the rest of our country and the world will get on board.
Infertility treatments are not widely available in developing countries or really available at all. There are many arguments as to why this is, but the reality is that Infertility SUCKS no matter who you are or where you live. The emotional baggage, pain and suffering is the same. This disease cannot be fully understood if you have never been victim to it. And just because your neighbors have 8 kids doesn't mean that you should be denied your opportunity to have children.
Sure some people are just not wired to have the desire for children but those of us who put our self worth into that notion are suffering the most unimaginable devastation. My plea to all of you Fertiles out there - please do not take your children for granted and be mindful of who you are complaining to.
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