Monday, February 27, 2006

Infertility Tourism & The Baby Business

At breakfast this morning, an article about infertility caught my eye in our local paper. It was about a new book by Debora Spar - The Baby Business: How Money, Science, and Politics Drive the Commerce of Conception. The book (from what I read in the article) discusses the people who gain from the "infertility business" and mentions that there is a price for everything (sperm, eggs, womb rental, etc). I tried to find the article online. Instead, I found this review of the book, which was no less interesting.

Another thing I found during my search was an article about "Infertility Tourism" in the New York Times. Felicia Lee mentions people flying to various places around the world to find cheaper egg donations, to have IVF less expensively, etc. Travelling to go through in vitro fertilization makes a lot of sense - get to visit a foreign country and hopefully come home with a really special souvenir... There are additional advantages like the fact that the experience is much more likely to be a positive one, even if the fertility treatment is unsuccessful.

As mentioned in the New York Times, in Israel, IVF is covered by the national health service. It took me time to realize how lucky I was not to have had to pay for the treatment. I was already an Israeli citizen when I started battling infertility, so once they approved my file, all I had to do was pay about 10% of the cost of the medications that I took. It was about $100 - $150 per cycle. I have tried to imagine what it would be like for money to be the obstacle between having and not having a baby. The decision for those going for expensive infertility treatments is like buying a high risk stock (sometimes repeatedly), but with the desire to have a baby being such an obsession (for most), I don't know how couples can decide to stop.


projgen said...

Sometimes the decision is taken out of your hands. When paying rent and eating become an issue, you have to stop. That's our situation. We feel like we never even really got a chance, because my husband became unemployed just before our first (and only) cycle, and has not been able to find employment since.

The fact that money is keeping us from having children (we're considered to have a high likelihood of success if we could try again) is beyond frustrating. Ironically, my husband could likely find work in his field in Israel, where we could eventually do IVF for free, but we can't afford to move.

But it doesn't keep me from being thankful that others are able to achieve success: Mazal Tov to you and your family on your new daughter!

Anonymous said...

I agree with projgen that you have to make choices. For me it was working long hours in a call centre, and saving for the next IVF, 9 cycles and you can't let go. Sold house, etc, very depressed, gone through nearly everything. Recently we went overseas, a very drastic step as egg donation is only hope. Already planning next trip overseas, don't know how we will do it, or where we will go.