Thursday, April 25, 2013

Thursday Thirteen

This is National Infertility Awareness Week. My husband and I tried for years to have a child. It is a concern that I hold close to my heart and I feel for those women who want a baby but cannot have one.

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.  (
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). (
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
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.
11. In 2013, infertility websites indicate that there will be legislation introduced in every state that could negatively impact access to family building options. That includes personhood legislation, which generally undermines access to safe and reliable infertility medical treatments.
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? 
13. Websites that deal with infertility issues:;

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.


  1. Some important issues dealt with here in a very informative way.

  2. so far as 12. leave it to humans to make even a f^ck complex.

  3. I think infertility is on the rise. Ditto to what Pearl said.

  4. Your post brings back a lot. I remember trying to get pregnant. How I thought it would never, never happen and then how excited I was when I finally did. What a roller coaster ride. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Wow. #12 is alarming. Sounds like some of the legislation our North Carolina General Assembly has been ramrodding through.

  6. This is one problem I didn't suffer at all. My son was conceived two months after my dh and I agreed to try, and that mostly because I had to convince my dh to really give it a try. My dd was conceived on the first try. And yet when I didn't want to conceive, I got away with a lot. Yeah, lucky. I know.

  7. Our daughter is an embryologist at one of the top fertility centers. Too bad we didn't know then what we know now. I don't suppose you are still interested.....

  8. I agree #12 is mind-boggling. Very informative post. Happy T13!

  9. This is rather timely, as I'm considering a character who might have to deal with this issue. This has given me quite a lot to think about if I choose this aspect for her to work through. Thanks for sharing!

  10. It does seem to be on the uprise. #12 just blew me away. I don't have words.

  11. Reading #12 gave me a headache. I am personally pro life but politically very, very pro-choice because I believe in the separation of church and state ... and want to avoid legislative messes like this.

  12. Number 8 is an interesting and sad fact. We've already seen an impact in number 11, with reduced funding for organizations like Planned Parenthood. Most people do not realize all that they offer, or how important they are to a community. Sorry didn't catch this last week--I had some computer issues last Thursday.


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