IVF, or in vitro fertilization, has been used to artificially inseminate women for over four decades. IVF is the process in which a female’s egg is surgically removed and combined with a male’s sperm in a Petri dish; then, the eggs are fertilized for 2-5 days, and the embryo is implanted within a woman’s uterus. This process is often a long one that includes many blood tests, ultrasounds, and syringed medications to be done at one’s home. Although it can be lengthy, 8 million births have resulted from this procedure.
This CNN piece by Elissa Strauss discusses the cost of IVF. An average cycle is $20,000 and is, more often than not, not covered by insurance. She blames it on the historical lack of insurance coverage regarding all things related to a woman’s body. Most of the women who receive this procedure are struggling with infertility in either themselves or their male partners. An estimated 12% of American women have struggled to become becoming pregnant and/or carry a baby for a full-term pregnancy of nine months. Thus, she illuminates the prevalence of infertility in the United States.
Going off of this point, she clarifies that IVF is not a “lifestyle choice for rich, working women.” Infertility can affect all women from all different backgrounds and lifestyles. She pushes that the social perspective of IVF shifts from being a “lifestyle option” to a medical condition. Strauss then argues that the $20,000 is understandable for the amount of medical testing and the potential for a human life. The author states, “I just spent about $5,000 on a dental implant – that’s fixing a single tooth. The total cost for my infertility treatment was about $20,000 and included three surgical procedures, a lot of expensive medicine, genetic testing, and routine monitoring for months. Out of that, I got a son.”
While some, such as Dr. Kara N. Goldman, identifies reproduction “as a basic human right.” Others disagree and believe there are other options for fertility, not only IVF. IVF may not need to be covered in-full by insurance or at all. Others disagree with IVF because it creates embryos that are “unused.” That is, the woman is implanted with one or some of the embryos created on a Petri dish but not all, leading to the potential but unfulfilled creation of a human life.
What do you think? Is reproduction a “basic human right”? Should insurance companies cover IVF procedures in-full? Is IVF the only and/or best route for infertility and family-building?