Access to Infertility Treatment is Not Fair
Infertility is an equal opportunity disease. It will rob you of your dreams regardless of whether you are rich or poor, brown or white. I wish the same could be said for the treatment of this disease.
We know that infertility strikes all races and economic levels but treatment in the US is not evenly distributed according to recent research.
Income Matters in Seeking Fertility Treatment
Researchers studied 2,052 women, ages 20 to 44. About 12.5% met the definition of infertile because they had tried timed intercourse for one year without conceiving (if under 35) and for six months (if 35+). Of these infertile women, 2/3 of those who made more than $100,000 a year sought infertility treatment. This number compares to only 1/3 of those making less than $25,000 a year. It is not surprising considering that most people in the US do not have insurance coverage for the disease of infertility and that one cycle of IVF can cost upwards of $16,000.
Age Matters in Seeking Fertility Treatment
The study also found that older woman sought treatment sooner than did younger women. That stands to reason since younger women have more time to try without treatment. Additionally, younger women are more likely not to have the income to pay for treatment or insurance that covers treatment.
Education Matters in Seeking Fertility Treatment
Not surprisingly, higher education levels resulted in more treatment for infertility. Only 33.1% of women without education beyond high school sought infertility treatment, compared with 80.8% of women with college degrees.
Race Matters in Seeking Fertility Treatment
Even though black women are more likely to suffer from infertility, they are less likely to seek treatment. According to this research, 65.3% of white women and 79.8% of Asian women with infertility accessed treatment, compared with 40.6% of black women, 44% of Mexican American women and 54.9% of women of other Hispanic backgrounds. There are several cultural, economic, and health reasons that women of color do not seek treatment.
Access to Infertility Care Matters
Access to affordable, effective treatment for the disease of infertility is crucial. We can do better. We must do better.
Image credit: reallyeve