Trials and Tribulations of Assisted Reproduction

Trials and Tribulations of Assisted Reproduction

Getting pregnant is not always easy. For some it can take months if not years. Many turn to assisted reproductive technology, with the cost running to thousands of dollars. The emotional cost can be even higher. The trials and tribulations of trying to have a baby.

One in eight couples struggles with infertility. Some have medical problems, for others it’s age, and for some couples, the problem is never really identified. Major advances in fertility treatment in the last 30 years have helped many woman have children. But for those struggling with infertility, walking down the street or logging onto Facebook can be an emotionally fraught experience as they are come face to face with other people’s pregnancies and births. For those actively pursuing treatment, success doesn’t always come quickly, and sometimes it doesn’t come at all. Join Susan Page and her panel to discuss the trials and tribulations of assisted reproduction.

Guests

Dr. Paul Gindoff

Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology at the George Washington University Medical Center and Director of The Fertility & IVF Center at The GW Medical Faculty Associates.

Belle Boggs

Author of "Mattaponi Queen" and the essay "The Art of Waiting," published in the March/April issue of Orion

Barbara Collura

executive director, RESOLVE - the National Infertility Association

Richard Allen

lawyer and writer

Program Highlights

Getting pregnant isn't always easy. For some it can take months or years. Some turn to assisted reproductive technology at a financial cost that can run to thousands of dollars, but the emotional costs can be even higher.

Infertility Is Fairly Common

One in every eight couples of reproductive age experiences some difficulty with fertility, Collura said. That's about 7.3 million Americans. Belle Boggs talked about her own experience with infertility, and she said she never thought it would happen to her. "You go through your life thinking that fertility and child rearing is a given," she said. Dr. Gindoff said infertility can be a challenge emotionally and psychologically, not just physically.

Cost Is A Huge Hurdle

Depending on what state in which someone lives, the cost of treating infertility can be a huge burden. Some insurance companies don't cover infertility treatments at all. "You don't get charged for a cesarean section or for an emergency appendectomy," Collura said. "No one has a 401K set aside for infertility treatments." There are a few states that have state mandates that allow insurance coverage for infertility, but that's less than 10 states, Collura said. Many couples end up spending thousands of dollars for each cycle - or chance to conceive - of IVF.

Having A Family Different From Having a Baby

Dr. Gindoff advises patients that their ultimate goal is usually having a family, which doesn't necessarily have to mean getting pregnant. Other options, of course, may include adoption, surrogacy, etc. "The ultimate goal is having a family and it's been sublimated into 'getting pregnant,' Gindoff said. "And getting pregnant has taken on a mystique and competition of its own, which leads itself to more stress and more psychological issues."

You can read the full transcript here.

Please familiarize yourself with our Code of Conduct and Terms of Use before posting your comments.

Our address has changed!

The Diane Rehm Show is produced by member-supported WAMU 88.5 in Washington DC.