5 Surprisingly Outdated Problems Infertile Couples Face

#2. The Medical System Hates You

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When it comes to helping out infertile couples with medical costs, America's usual method is to tell you that there's an angry bald eagle right behind you, wait until you look, and then run away. In most states in the U.S., insurance companies are not required to cover any kind of fertility treatment. To put this in perspective, Medicare offers coverage of vacuum-powered dick pumps and inflatable dick implants for seniors with erectile dysfunction. The government thinks it's important to subsidize Gerry and Myrtle's geriatric crotch-rubbing, but not to ensure any coverage for Joe Middle America, who wants somebody to throw a baseball back and forth with.

Even the states that do require insurance to cover treatments often specifically exclude in vitro fertilization (IVF), a procedure that helps women with blocked Fallopian tubes to conceive and which, without coverage, usually costs infertile couples around $12,000 per cycle. Because of this, in most of America, fertility treatments (and especially IVF) are procedures that are done mostly by people who are able to throw the equivalent of a new car at a doctor every time they want a chance at a kid.

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"Welcome to the club! Enjoy your sweet, sweet fucking. See you next month!"

The worst part of this insurance brushoff is that it has created a vicious public-image cycle. Treatments like IVF are often perceived as something that only obnoxiously rich people do, like owning a butler, or riding snowmobiles around on their mountains of cocaine. And of course these treatments are mostly for the rich, because the lack of insurance coverage means that average people can't afford them. But the IVF/money connection has been around for a long time, and people have this idea in their heads now, and why should taxpayers or insurance companies pay for a vanity-based luxury like that?

Part of this misconception is there because ...

#1. It's Still a Crazily Taboo Subject

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In our society, being unable to reproduce your genetic material is a subject that's kept tighter to most people's chests than their sexual attraction to Olympic mascots. Over 60 percent of infertile couples hide their condition from people close to them, and that number seems to include a lot of celebrities and public figures. Natural pregnancy in a woman older than 40 is rare without copious amounts of modern medicine, and natural pregnancy after 45 is approaching "albino unicorn" territory. Yet there's a whole slew of middle-aged celebrities popping out babies like it ain't no thang. As pointed out in that last link, a lot of them are clearly undergoing extensive medical treatments, using donor eggs and even surrogates to conceive children, and a lot more are adopting because of infertility. But the standard thing to do is to keep quiet about one's baby-manufacturing problems, which means that the general public ends up believing that these famous 40-something women are either adopting children for reasons completely unrelated to infertility or miraculously conceiving babies the old-fashioned way.

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"Nope. No help conceiving at all."

I'm not saying that celebrities are obliged to talk publicly about their medical issues; if an actor comes down with Lyme disease or kuru or whatever, then it's up to him whether he decides to share it with the world. But it would be nice if more celebrities did make the decision to talk about it. Up until now, it's been rare for any public figure to publicly admit that their uterus doesn't work right or that their sperm motility is low. Maybe it's because so many celebrities make money off their sex appeal, and they think the information will make them lose popularity because all their fans have some sort of deep evolutionary desire to mate with them.

But the thing is, a lot of other medical issues used to be as misunderstood and taboo as infertility is today. Decades ago, just telling people that you had cancer was about as socially acceptable as carrying around your excised tumor in a jar and showing it to them, especially if the cancer involved embarrassing body parts like the breast or prostate. Then public figures started coming out of the cancer-closet and talking about their own malign crotch growths, and gradually the stigma almost disappeared. Maybe if more famous people started talking about their problems with baby-forming, the same thing could happen here. Only one way to find out, right? Yep, I'm talking about proof of conception through celebrity sex videos.

C. Coville is not famous, but does have a Twitter here.

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