My husband and I decided to undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF) after discovering that we are both carriers of the same genetic marker for an inheritable disease. Natural conception gives us a 1 in 4 chance that this disease could be passed onto our child. Conception via IVF will allow us to screen for the disease via preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) in an attempt to avoid it altogether. Once we decided to embark on IVF, the journey to parenthood seemed fairly straightforward…until it proved to be anything but!
Two years, three egg retrievals, five transfers, and six embryos later…this is our story of how we’re makin’ babies in Brooklyn.
The Bigger Story
Every year, hundreds of thousands of women around the world are undergoing forms of Assisted Reproduction Technology (ART) for a range of reasons that span from infertility issues, to same sex marriage, to cancer. Since 1968, over five million babies have been born from lab-assisted conceptions worldwide. A $4 billion dollar industry in the U.S., assisted reproduction treatments have resulted in more live births in this country than ever before and new medical advancements in this field are happening every year.
Yet despite this progress, conversations around this topic remain stigmatized, hidden, and even punishable, as social acceptance and basic affordability of this science lag behind its technology. Further, our current political administration continues to uphold laws and push new ones that make it increasingly difficult for women to have access to safe and affordable reproductive healthcare. Infertility healthcare – which ART is categorized under – remains completely uncovered or ungenerously capped by most insurance providers, rendering these services cost-prohibitive for the majority of people who need them most.
In sharing our stories and continuing this dialogue outside of the fertility forums, we can help this science shed its stigmatization and become more accessible, affordable, and acceptable to all. Thanks for reading this space.