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Rachel Gurevich

Don’t Just Regulate IVF – Help Us Pay for It

By February 19, 2009

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Could Nadya Suleman and the octuplets bring about regulations on IVF and fertility treatment? Maybe.

According to Christian News Wire, Georgia may be the first state to consider legislation explicitly limiting the number of embryos to be transferred in one IVF cycle. The limit, according to the news report, would be up to three embryos. The American Medical Association’s online news site reported that while some fertility experts are calling for more regulation, many doctors are wary, saying that you can’t make general rules over every case.

Should the government regulate how many embryos are transferred? I think yes, there should be regulation over how many embryos can be transferred, as long as that number is based on solid medical research, and not an arbitrary number chosen by law makers without any information on how IVF success and failure works.

In other words, the doctor should be able to transfer more than three embryos, if that is medically called for. There are cases where transferring more than two or three embryos would give the mother the best chance of conceiving.

However, this legislation is not enough. The question that needs to be asked is why do these women put themselves at risk for a high order pregnancy, a pregnancy that could threaten the life not only of their unborn babies but themselves?

I’ll tell you one big reason that women are willing to take the risk – a huge fear of failure, fear that the cycle won’t work. And this fear of failure isn’t only about the emotional aspect, it is also a very practical concern. One IVF treatment cycle can cost $12,000 to $20,000, depending on what assisted reproductive technologies are being used. For one try.

Many couples will need to try up to three times, and according to some new research, a couple may need to try up to six times to have the same chances of getting pregnant as a fertile couple.

You can do the math – who has that kind of money? Who can go that deep into debt? A couple shouldn’t feel like they need to spend every penny of their savings, and go into tens of thousands of dollars in debt, just to have a baby.

If a couple is lucky enough to find and qualify for an IVF refund program, they might be able to spend “just” $20,000 for up to three cycles. But not every couple qualifies for IVF refund programs.

The media keeps mentioning that countries like Britain regulate how many embryos can be transferred per IVF cycle, but what they skip is that these countries also pay for fertility treatments.

If the government is going to step in and put regulations on the fertility clinics, how about while they’re on the topic, they also pass legislation that insurance companies need to cover fertility treatment, including IVF. Some states have legislation like this, but most states do not.

Sure, there can be restrictions on this coverage. Perhaps they’ll only cover IVF treatment after other treatments have been tried or ruled out, and perhaps there will be a limit on how many children the insurance company has to pay for. Where I live, IVF is covered for up to two children. Frustrating for me, since I have two boys and want one more, but I think that’s fair.

But to restrict the number of embryos being transferred, but not help the couples desperate to have children, just doesn’t seem fair. It’s one-sided, and it’s not right. The same couples who could benefit from having a higher number of embryos transferred may need to go through more IVF treatment cycles if a limit of two or three embryos was enforced.

How can you enforce regulations that make it harder for them to have a child, without at least helping them along, seeing their side of the story?

What are your thoughts? Feel free to share in the comment section below. I want to hear from you!

February 27, 2009 at 5:12 pm
(1) Kelly D says:

I agree, to regulate it without insurance coverage isn’t right. There needs to be a give-and-take.

I found the results to your survey interesting, I’m guessing the people who selected “limited but no IVF” don’t really understand that IVF is actually the least risky as far as multiple gestation pregnancies (or maybe they don’t like the idea of left over embryos).

Great post.

March 5, 2010 at 10:50 am
(2) C Bond says:

I am sadden to say that I am unable to conceive normally. I lost both tubes a few years back due to medical problems. It breaks my heart that insureance won’t pay for individuals with medical problems. I have been searchig and searching on ways to help pay for IVF. My husband and I have been married for 3 years. The thing that I have always wanted as a woman was to be a mother.

February 7, 2011 at 11:49 pm
(3) Laura and joe says:

My tubes had to be surgically removed when I was only 22 due to pain and they were completely blocked. Now I am married and 32… We would love to have a baby of our own, we are currently paying down most of our bills. I hope that one day women like us will get help, it’s not our fault that we have something wrong with our bodies..there are other medical things that are covered “medically necessary” such as DME that are convenient but not medically necessary. OR breast reconstruction after breast cancer..it’s just the right thing to do mentally and physically for a patient that is suffering. They just want to feel normal again!

April 22, 2011 at 8:59 pm
(4) mary makoby says:

i want a baby so bad but i don’t have the money for ivf or egg donor. I get so down about it. I wish people would help us to have are dreams come true.

April 22, 2011 at 9:18 pm
(5) mary makoby says:

I am 49 now and i really want a baby so bad We don’t have the money to do it. I wish someone out there could help us to have a baby. I could never get that kind of money to do it. can someone please help me.

June 12, 2013 at 6:03 am
(6) Johanna says:

Hi the doctor say i must do the IVF so i dont have a many please help me

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