Does it matter to you how your fertility treatment is funded? I'm trying to remember if it mattered to me, 14 years ago. Sure, it's one thing for me to comment now, almost 13 years after finally, finally having that baby that I'd tried to have for 5 years and through 4 miscarriages.
Hopefully without embarassing my son's dad (we're long divorced now, but still friends and co-parents of The Wonder Boy), I'll let you know that we were not in a financial position to even consider IVF after that last miscarriage. And PGD was in the pipeline, only available within clinical trial, and man, oh, man, was I willing to donate my body to science by that point. Of course, as soon as I started to explore that path (which would've been a long road to nowhere from Houston, I know in hindsight), I wound up pregnant again (our last ditch on Clomid with heparin shots) and he stuck.
So the question of how I could afford to get pregnant became moot to me. But it's been impossible to stay in this line of work and not think about it every time another related story comes up.
Is the drive to get pregnant so visceral that we really don't care HOW the process is paid for?
The question came to mind again when I read this Wall Street Journal article by Jessica Silver-Greenberg. She talks about the booming business of fertility treatment financing. Nothing new, and after all, I was employed for several years as the newsletter editor of IntegraMed America, one of the oldest and biggest vehicles for people who aren't flush enough to shell out tens of thousands of dollars for multiple IVF cycles. To clarify, IntegraMed America isn't a bank or even a lending company. Rather, as the article explains:
"IntegraMed sets up couples with loans through a partnership with Springstone [Financial LLC] and NBT Bancorp of Norwich, N.Y. The partnership's number of loans jumped 41% in 2011 from a year earlier, and totaled $15.4 million."
I have no problem with people financing their medical treatments. In fact, I'm one of the too many in this country without a speck of health insurance. I know very well why the medical loan and medical tourism industries have blossomed. But there's one part of this WSJ article that prompted this conversation with my faithful listener, The Roommate:
Me: "I just read in the WSJ that loans made to patients by companies who are backed by private investors aren't monitored by the same Federal or state agencies that oversee banks."
The Roomie: "Yeah?"
Me: "And what's even crazier is that some of those lending companies are funded by the doctors whose clinics offer the loans."
The Roomie: "Yeah?!"
Me: "Isn't that a conflict of interests?"
The Roomie: "No. That's a coordination of interest."
Me: "And the docs aren't required to disclose this information to their patients!"
The Roomie: "Wow! Those doctors are pretty smart! Win-win-win!"
Is it me?
Signing off, From the Pollyanna Department