So what?

The Age trumpets “fears” of an “IVF overload”:

‘Socially infertile’ may cause IVF overload

DOCTORS fear fertility clinics will struggle to cope with a surge in demand and patients could face lengthy delays in treatment as hundreds of single women and lesbians seek IVF following changes to Victorian legislation.

Specialists expect that about 1000 women previously excluded from IVF because they were considered ”socially infertile” will access treatment each year following a change to the law on January 1. This will take the number of women seeking treatment in Victoria each year to about 7000, stretching facilities to their limit and putting more pressure on the state’s dwindling supply of donor sperm.

I hate that term – “socially infertile”, as if someone who wants to become a parent so badly that they’re prepared to undergo the trauma of IVF has to justify why. It’s like the old debate on whether being gay is “genetic” or “chosen” – why on Earth does it matter? The point is that it’s not wrong, and that no-one should be discriminated against because of it. Same with those who, for whatever reason, cannot become parents without the aid of a particular medical treatment – they’re not going to apply for it unless they need it, are they? The reason is “I want to become a parent and can’t do so without this medical treatment”. It’s not a cosmetic procedure people are choosing to undergo because it sounds like fun, now, is it?

It still makes no sense to me that IVF is only partly and inconsistently covered by Medicare – particularly in a country where we’re paying a “baby bonus” to parents who are lucky enough to be able to have a child by relying on only non-IVF medical assistance.

Sod police checks for these prospective parents – those who are willing to go through the trials of IVF are pretty much by definition committed to being parents. They haven’t accidentally gotten pregnant when they didn’t expect it. They’ve had to seriously work at becoming parents. If ordinary parents aren’t being forced to undergo police checks before being “allowed” to continue with a pregnancy, nor should IVF applicants.

So what if there are more Australians who want to become parents, putting a “strain” on the inadequate system – isn’t the former something we’re trying to encourage, and shouldn’t the latter be something we put some effort into fixing?

Advertisements

28 responses to “So what?

  1. No sympathy from me. Infertility is NOT a painful, life-threatening or disfiguring condition – and I can’t see how it can be justified in an already-overpopulated world. It certainly should not be Medicare-funded (especially when NECCESSARY services such as dentistry are not). People just have to learn they can’t have everything they want in life.

  2. I don’t really agree. IVF is always going to be an expensive, finite resource and although I don’t agree in discrimination based on sexuality or marital status public funding should be directed to those that can’t conceive because of medical conditions.

  3. I say scrap the baby bonus (an abomination of legislation) and redirect those funds to IVF, but no more. Let’s fix up the more pressing health issues (ie national dental scheme, hospital bed shortage) first.

  4. Infertility is NOT a painful..
    I do not agree Suzy, just because something is not physically painful, does not mean it does not cause tremendous emotional pain.
    I have a very close friend who is currently undergoing IVF to help her become a mother. She had a tragic loss of a pregnancy last year that, as a result required emergency surgery and a further reduction in her repoductive systems ability.
    For as long as I have been friends with her, she has always wanted a family. Seeing her family and friends all get pregnant and give birth waiting for her time.. Then to find out that she has a slim percentage chance to get pregnant naturally, joy of all joys she then finds out she is pregnant, loses the baby and becomes drastically sick herself…
    Put yourself in her shoes for one minute and think about how much pain she would be feeling..
    I don’t think just because her body does not work like it should, means she should miss out on the opportunity to fulfill a life-long dream.

  5. Either IVF is entirely covered (do we deny relevant access rebates to those who became paraplegic when jumping without checking billabong depth?), or not at all.
    I don’t think I would ever use IVF if I could not conceive naturally, but that does not mean that access should be cut off to others like me who would choose differently.
    (The stress involved saves Australia from huge cost, anyway. Unless I am mistaken, a few years ago many U.S. couples underwent studies to see how far people would go with IVF if there were no costs at all. Every round was entirely paid for by the study, and most didn’t go past two cycles.)

  6. Damn right, Annie.

    Frankly, I’d rather those people who are committed enough to undergo IVF became parents than many of those who are raising the next generation by default.

    Suzy – the “people just have to learn they can’t have everything they want in life” logic is fairly harsh when applied to medical treatments. I’m sure you wouldn’t limit personally going to the doctor – and expecting Medicare support – to a “painful, life-threatening or disfiguring condition”.

    And of course, I agree dentistry should be fully funded by the state – but that’s got nothing to do with this issue. It’s not an either-or.

  7. ” People just have to learn they can’t have everything they want in life.”

    Come back to me when you need a hip-replacement, knee reconstruction or other optional medical treatment, Suzy.

    “No sympathy from me.”

    Bear that in mind next time you’re looking for some. Karma, baby. What kind of person makes that kind of statement?

  8. It certainly should not be Medicare-funded (especially when NECCESSARY services such as dentistry are not)

    Personally, I agree that it shouldn’t be Medicare funded, but as Jeremy said it’s not an “either-or” scenario. Both can be funded, and dentistry certainly should, but there’s no need to polarise the issue like this.

    If IVF has to be subsidised, it should be done so for anybody who wants it bad enough. The purpose of IVF is to make babies, not just to make the straights happy. It’s not an easy process (as a couple of female friends of mine can attest to) so it takes certain dedication to get there, the sort of dedication that’s missing for a large proportion of “natural” conceptions.

    Since there are no checks on the emotional, physical, and financial capability of women who conceive naturally in the carpark of a nightclub to a stranger she’ll never meet again, there shouldn’t be checks on a loving couple unable to conceive for whatever reason — even if that couple both happen to be women, or even if it’s not a couple at all.

    All or none. No more of this discrimination based on the unachievable “ideal family” that the Christian church is more than happy to preach about but unable to achieve even in it’s own members.

  9. “putting more pressure on the state’s dwindling supply of donor sperm.”
    So now lesbians are being blamed for men not masturbating enough?

    At worst, people should be encouraged to adopt children rather than have IVF treatments.

  10. So the taxpayer has to foot the bill if someone who doesn’t want to become pregnant the natural way wants kiddies? I’m all for it if natural conception techniques don’t work, but not for people who can’t/won’t do it the way nature intended. Pay out of your own pocket for that.

    Oh – and I rather dislike this notion that parents who concieve naturally are somewhat less dedicated than those who go through IVF – talk about generalisation.

    “not just to make the straights happy” – you mean the biological underpinning of the human races history and continued existance?

  11. Chris Grealy

    What “makes no sense” is that in a world which is groaning under the pressure of overpopulation, vast amounts of money are being spent on IVF. A healthy animal has no difficulty at all in breeding, and in fact it’s what humans do best. The last thing the world needs is yet more babies.

  12. “So the taxpayer has to foot the bill if someone who doesn’t want to become pregnant the natural way wants kiddies?”

    They do. Oh – are you saying that using medical technology isn’t “the natural way”? Well, almost all parents rely on medical technology of some sort at some point during pregnancy, taxpayer-funded… if we’re doing that (and if we’re not, then we’re denying the poor proper medical care), then there’s no reason why an arbitrary line should be drawn at IVF.

    “Oh – and I rather dislike this notion that parents who concieve naturally are somewhat less dedicated than those who go through IVF – talk about generalisation.”

    There are many great parents who conceive without IVF. There are also many unwilling, reluctant, unprepared parents who conceive without IVF.

    There are no unwilling, reluctant or unprepared parents who go through IVF.

    ““not just to make the straights happy” – you mean the biological underpinning of the human races history and continued existance?”

    lol – you’re using the fact gays can’t conceive without some medical assistance as a justification to deny them that medical assistance? Nice.

    “What “makes no sense” is that in a world which is groaning under the pressure of overpopulation, vast amounts of money are being spent on IVF.”

    We’re not at a one-child policy in Australia yet.

  13. “No sympathy from me. Infertility is NOT a painful”

    Yeah, wanting a child and being infertile is a barrel of laughs…../sarc.

    “and I can’t see how it can be justified in an already-overpopulated world.”

    Whether or not Australia is overpopulated is very debatable.

    “It certainly should not be Medicare-funded (especially when NECCESSARY services such as dentistry are not).”

    Dentistry should be covered by Medicare IMO, as should fertility treatment. Don’t blame the infertile or those that require fertility treatment for the inadequacies of our politicians!

    “People just have to learn they can’t have everything they want in life.”

    As far as I’m concerned procreation is the meaning of life! What the hell else is it about? Pleasing sky fairies??? What Keri said, don’t ever whinge if you don’t get the medical services you think you deserve!

  14. Maybe we need some limits on IVF expenditure to allow for basic things like dental care. Still leaving IVF as a preserve of the wealthy seems a bit callous.

    Perhaps we could have a’ life lottery’. It sounds so much nicer than that other euphemism for rationing health care – ‘death panel’.

  15. “Death panel” isn’t a euphemism, but a dysphemism.

    IVF is a difficult one. Infertility is a medical condition that should be treated under Medicare. I’m just not sure that ‘social infertility’ is in quite the same category.

  16. Since we as a society seem to want to encourage parenthood – see the “baby bonus” – why wouldn’t we encourage parenthood by people so committed to the idea that they’ll endure IVF?

  17. I guess I see it as a medical ethics and resource issue.

    We treat popole with infertility as it’s a bodily dysfunction. Hopefully, that allows them to have a child. If not, we then offer a more intensive and expensive medical intervention in the form of IVF.

    If someone does not have a medical complaint, should we be offering complex and invasive medical procedures?? Especially when there are much cheaper and far less invasive options ( AI).

    Medical procedures for social issues have an inglorious past.

  18. Have IVF. just don’t expect me to pay for your lifestyle choice.

  19. Lifestyle choice? Can someone please explain to me how infertility is a lifestyle choice?

  20. “Have IVF. just don’t expect me to pay for your lifestyle choice.”

    Fuck that, If I’ve got to subsidise peoples private health insurance (which I do) then IVF ought to be free for whoever wants it!

    Really, if private health needs to be subsidised then maybe it should just be canned and the rich pay a higher rate of Medicare?

  21. questions…….

    What is ‘Socially infertile’ ?
    Does it mean that the woman could get pregnant if she wanted to in the ‘traditional’ way through intercourse but doesn’t because she is single or is a lesbian?

    Everyone says IVF is expensive.How much on average is IVF and if it is expensive why is it so expensive. What is the most expensive part of it?

  22. “Come back to me when you need a hip-replacement, knee reconstruction or other optional medical treatment, Suzy.

    Needing a hip replacement, etc. is not in the same category as IVF – living with a degenerating hip is painful – and such a comparison is disingenuous. A medically- infertile person can learn to live with their condition and find other means of fulfillment (they had to before IVF).

    “As far as I’m concerned procreation is the meaning of life! What the hell else is it about? Pleasing sky fairies??? What Keri said, don’t ever whinge if you don’t get the medical services you think you deserve!”

    WTF?? There’s more to life than breeding. (And I have had 2 operations for a medical condition through the public system and yes I am grateful for that.)

    The IVF procedure seems to be linked to genetic flaws and health problems.

  23. “WTF?? There’s more to life than breeding. ”

    OK, fair enough, as an animal who isn’t spiritual leaving my genes behind is the next best thing, or, I believe we have an instinctive desire to procreate, most of us that is.

    As an animal at the top of the food chain part of an intelligent species with oodles of accumulated knowledge why shouldn’t we make IVF available to anyone that desires. Cost is an issue but I’d rather my taxes poured into health care than say war?

  24. “A medically- infertile person can learn to live with their condition and find other means of fulfillment (they had to before IVF).”

    You can learn to live with anything if there’s no alternative, including a degenerative hip. As I said, if you make a call like “No sympathy here”, you’ll get none back.

    Oh, and from that article?:

    “But he says Professor Aitken’s “provocative” article overstates the problem since in the 20 years that IVF has been around, few long-term problems have arisen, despite thousands of children being monitored.”

    And stating that it “seems to be linked” is a distortion. One professor has suggested it, another has called that position – with no evidential proof to back it up, mind – “provocative”.

  25. You can learn to live with anything if there’s no alternative, including a degenerative hip. As I said, if you make a call like “No sympathy here”, you’ll get none back.

    Infertility does not cause physical pain. It is not in the same league as, say, a degenerative hip and I stand by that statement.

    Oh, and from that article?:

    “But he says Professor Aitken’s “provocative” article overstates the problem since in the 20 years that IVF has been around, few long-term problems have arisen, despite thousands of children being monitored.”

    And stating that it “seems to be linked” is a distortion. One professor has suggested it, another has called that position – with no evidential proof to back it up, mind – “provocative”.

    Seeing as the quoted professor is from the Fertility Society of Australia, he is not exactly unbiased, is he? (Google “IVF health problems”)

  26. “Infertility does not cause physical pain”

    Do you know what causes infertility? Almost all syndromes, diseases and complaints that render a woman infertile include some feature of pain. Walk up to a woman with, say, Endometriosis and tell her she’s not in pain. See what she says.

    IVF doesn’t cure them, but infertility related treatments or treatments considered fertility-boosters in infertile woman can alleviate the pain or discomfort.

    Just a question, Suzy. Since the complications included in almost every type of medical treatment can encompass negative outcomes, why is IVF any different?

  27. I’m a woman with endometriosis and I can’t begin to tell you how painful it is – oh wait, I can. It’s a bit like having someone put their hands inside your tum and just squeeze and bash your uterus and ovaries and bladder and bowel and then do it again, randomly, just for kicks. That’s just me though. For some it doesn’t hurt at all. And then again there’s the feeling of having a constant UTI or pain during intercourse. I can see how none of that could be seen as physical pain though. After all, what hurts me causes you no pain at all.

    Of course, my bad for getting bad genes and having bad luck should this little issue lead to infertility. Still, it could be a hell of a lot worse for me. I stand an ok chance of conceiving naturally – should I ever choose to – so far anyway. I feel far more for women with PCOS or those who have no attributable reason for their infertility.

  28. It’s that “I’m alright, Jack” attitude that shits me, too.

    The advances in modern technology in reproductive medicine are heartening to see, and do much to alleviate the pain of people suffering painful, debilitating illness’, like Endo, PCOS and whole raft of others that also have an infertility component.

    I just wish people would think before they yank funding away from people suffering MEDICAL conditions, and stop assuming that because you can’t see a problem, it must not be painful or hard to live with.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s