There was a time when I thought I’d never hold this tiny hand in my own. I was beaten down by fertility treatments that weren’t working, a body in chronic pain from endometriosis, and a mental state that was fragile from disappointment and hormone therapy. Even though we are now parents, the scars of infertility still show. They show when I hear of another pregnancy announcement from fertile couples, or when we feel selfish for wanting a second child (the road to which may be just as rocky as the 3 year journey to our first).
Though it seems I’m throwing myself a pity party here, I’m actually here to tell you we are pretty lucky as infertiles go. My husband used to work in a hospital and our insurance was amazing. All of our fertility medications for the first 4 ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) procedures were covered. That’s thousands of dollars! The procedures themselves only cost around $10,000 and that’s a steal compared to most other clinics. I realized this when we moved to a different situation and had to pay for everything out of pocket and the cost was closer to $20,000. Now, in trying to conceive baby 2 we’ve already spent $6,000 and that’s just the first try. If we didn’t happen to be in a financially stable situation, our dreams of having a family would most certainly be dashed. I can only imagine how hard it would be to make that decision of having to dip into retirement funds or a mortgage to basically gamble on the chance of having a child.
You may be asking yourself, “Why not just adopt?” Yes, I was there once too. I had given up all hope of having a baby that shared my genes, and was ready to welcome a baby that needed a home and loving family into my heart. Then I looked into the logistics. It was completely overwhelming, not to mention expensive (even more expensive than IVF in some scenarios). I was paralyzed by all the legal hoops you had to jump through to adopt a baby and gave up. *Although, if you choose foster a child first, it may be more affordable. But then you also risk having to say goodbye to the child if s/he is returned to their birth parents.
So, if you know someone going through fertility treatments or adoption, and chances are you do since 1 in 8 of us deals with these issues. Be kind to them. The process is overwhelming financially, physically, and emotionally. Maybe you don’t quite get it, but sometimes all they need is an empathetic ear and a hug.
To learn more about infertility and how to help spread awareness visit Resolve.org. Because really, we need to change how insurance covers infertility.