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Paying the Price for Infertility. Part 2

by Daniel on March 30th, 2012

Insurance companies say if they are hit by yet another coverage mandate they will be forced to raise premiums, which will prevent even more Americans from obtaining affordable healthcare. Religious groups that oppose such initiatives, particularly the Roman Catholic Church, contend some infertility services are tantamount to abortion because some treatments lead to the destruction of human embryos, and because they oppose fertilization outside the body. Businesses, especially small employers, say they can’t afford to offer higher-level healthcare benefits.

On the other hand, pharmaceutical companies that manufacture expensive infertility drugs could cash in. And couples, facing the emotional devastation of an empty crib, say they just want the same healthcare rights as those afforded to people who suffer from such diseases as diabetes, mental illness or cancer.

One consumer advocacy group thinks the nation is now ready for change, especially since contraceptive legislation and Viagra, the male impotency drug, have ushered in frank discussion about sexual issues. “I think the atmosphere is better now than a couple years ago for infertility regulation,” says Deborah Wachenheim, governmental affairs director for Resolve. “We definitely see the contraceptive coverage issue as being a big boost to our efforts. A lot of people are supportive of infertility coverage because it’s a pro-family issue.”

At the same time, she says, the intent is not to detract from coverage for mental illness and other diseases. “We certainly don’t say any of those are more or less important than infertility,” she says. “But these people with infertility are already paying into insurance plans, and some of the money goes to cover the maternity and neonatal costs of others who can get pregnant without treatment, and those are benefits these people can’t use. We see the frustration and struggles as they try to build a family РЅРЅ the most important thing in their life.”

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