So I thought I'd offer up some facts about this problem.
1. Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive after one year of unprotected intercourse (six months if the woman is over age 35) or the inability to carry a pregnancy to live birth.
2. Infertility affects 7.3 million people in the U.S. This figure represents 12% of women of childbearing age, or 1 in 8 couples. (2002 National Survey of Family Growth)
3. Approximately one-third of infertility is attributed to the female partner, one-third attributed to the male partner and one-third is caused by a combination of problems in both partners or, is unexplained. (http://www.asrm.org/)
4. A couple ages 29-33 with a normal functioning reproductive system has only a 20-25% chance of conceiving in any given month (National Women’s Health Resource Center). After six months of trying, 60% of couples will conceive without medical assistance. (Infertility As A Covered Benefit, William M. Mercer, 1997)
5. Approximately 44% of women with infertility have sought medical assistance. Of those who seek medical intervention, approximately 65% give birth. (Infertility As A Covered Benefit, William M. Mercer, 1997)
6. Approximately 85-90% of infertility cases are treated with drug therapy or surgical procedures. Fewer than 3% need advanced reproductive technologies like in vitro fertilization (IVF). (http://www.asrm.org/)
7. The most recently available statistics indicate the live birth rate per fresh non-donor embryo transfer is 41.2% if the woman is under 35 years of age and 31.6% if the woman is age 35-37. (Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, 2009)
8. Fifteen states have passed laws requiring that insurance policies cover some level of infertility treatment: Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas and West Virginia. (For more on this visit the insurance coverage section of resolve.org.)
9. Offering a comprehensive infertility treatment benefit with appropriate utilization controls may actually reduce costs and improve outcomes by eliminating the inappropriate use of costly covered procedures and allowing specialists to use the most effective, efficient treatment for a specific type of infertility. (Infertility As A Covered Benefit, William M. Mercer, 1997)
10. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (August 2002) found that the percentage of high-order pregnancies (those with three or more fetuses) was greater in states that did not require insurance coverage for IVF. The authors of the study noted that mandatory coverage is likely to yield better health outcomes for women and their infants since high-order births are associated with higher-risk pregnancies.
12. Some of the questions created by current legislative efforts regarding personhood and abortion include these:
- Could miscarrying women be subject to criminal charges?
- Would women with fibroids or other uterine abnormalities be forbidden to try to have babies because the problems with their uteruses reduce the chances that an embryo will successfully implant after IVF or an insemination?
- Would women who have ectopic (tubal) pregnancies after IVF be able to receive life-saving treatment, or would the embryo’s legal rights have to balanced against hers?
- What will be the ramifications for fertilized eggs that have been created in the course of fertility treatment but have not been transferred to a woman’s uterus? Who will have legal responsibility for them?
- Will these laws take from people the rights of disposition over their embryos? Could someone claim the embryos require a disposition other than what the parents want? Could couples and their embryos be adversaries in a legal proceeding? Is this a desirable outcome?
- Will cryopreserved embryos have a right to be transferred to someone’s uterus for birth?
- Not all frozen embryos thaw successfully. Could embryo freezing be prohibited as too risky?
- If embryo freezing is prohibited, what will happen to women who experience hyper-stimulation during an IVF cycle and for whom the medical recommendation is to freeze and not transfer the embryos right away? Will they have to transfer the embryos and risk harm to their health?
- Will patients be prevented from donating their frozen embryos to research after they complete infertility treatments?
- Will patients’ medical records be subpoenaed to ensure that no one violated the embryos’ constitutionally guaranteed right to life?
- May women who live in states where personhood laws pass travel to other states for IVF, or would their embryos still be restricted by the law of their home state, such that they could not obtain treatment elsewhere? Would they be forbidden to move any currently frozen embryos to another state to continue their treatment?
- If infertility patients in personhood states cannot afford to live in another state during treatment, will they simply have to forego the dream of having a family?
Thursday Thirteen is played by lots of people; there is a list here. I've been playing for a while and this is my 291st time to do a list of 13 on a Thursday.