It’s now official. Disney withdrew WABC, channel 7 from Cablevision affecting 3 million viewers in the New York Metropolitan area. My wife is distraught. Her favorite television shows; Brothers and Sisters, Desperate Housewives, Lost and others are no longer viewable on our TV sets. The Oscars is not available. She like so many others is frustrated and depressed at the prospect that she will be denied those pleasures that we have grown accustomed to expect.
My wife and I never truly experienced infertility. We had a workup for recurrent miscarriages and it took us over a year to conceive a healthy pregnancy in between our two boys and two girls. We were quite fortunate that we were not denied the joy of building our family that we had learned to expect while growing up, observing our own as well as our friends’ and neighbors’ families. It is a way of life that we understand as well as anything else that we experience throughout our lives.
When a couple experiences infertility, this expected right to the pursuit of happiness by creating one’s own family is denied. It is not deserved; the affected are innocent bystanders of a tragedy not of their own making. Someone afflicted with infertility might have just as randomly caught a cold or some other disease or condition. The difference is that if you unfortunately have any other condition or disease requiring medical treatment, the odds are excellent that you have insurance coverage for it. Infertility is not covered by most providers not because of ethical or religious reasons or even lack of sympathy, but instead because it costs money to the providers.
Cablevision and Disney are battling over a 40 million dollar increase to Disney. How I wish they would use the argument that they have increased costs to cover safe, cost effective fertility care like IVF; that they wish to provide for the right for their employees to have a family like they grew up seeing in Disney movies and on Cablevision. Senator Kerry, former presidential candidate interceded to try to negotiate a settlement so that my wife and others would not be denied their TV shows. Why can’t we get a similar hero to negotiate a settlement for coverage so that the infertile couple can get the treatment they need so they are not denied their families?
IVF is now cost effective and safe when used conservatively especially with our single embryo transfer program. We have a greater than 60% live birth rate per retrieval in women under 35. We can avoid multiple pregnancies by transferring one embryo at a time rather than expose a woman to a 35% multiple rate with ovulation induction and intercourse or insemination. Minimal stimulation IVF is a low cost alternative, $3900 at ECF that avoids hyperstimulation and allows for single embryo transfer. Why do politicians ignore the millions of infertile individuals and couples in this country and deny them the right to have their family that they grew up expecting as naturally as tuning into ABC and watching a favorite TV show?