For people who need to resort to ART to conceive, becoming a parent is expensive. (Same thing for adoption, whether international or domestic.)
I’ve written before about the role of money, but I want to take a slightly different tack today. This morning on NPR there was a segment on the cost of IVF. The reporter rightly raised this question: why should your access to parenthood be conditioned on money? People with money can pay for ART and become parents while people without money cannot.
This seems like a fair question. And it’s a striking one–obviously your ability to conceive via intercourse is not conditioned on money. But if for whatever reason a person/couple has fertility issues, then money matters.
But when you think about it, your ability to actually raise a child–and to raise a child with some level of security and comfort–is somewhat dependant on access to resources. Children–no matter how they are conceived–are expensive. So maybe the answer to the “why does it depend on money” question is that in this country these days an awful lot depends on money. That being so, why shouldn’t this?
The point of the story, however, was that some people are trying to address the economic inequities. There’s a program–INCIID–that offers fertility scholarships.
That’s one approach to the high price of parenthood. Let me just note two others. Here’s a story about how Germany is about to start paying for couples to do IVF. Germany has an aging population and a low birth rate–it needs more children. And state subsidies are one way to advance that end.
And then there is the insurance question. Should medical insurance pay for IVF? If so, for which people? And why? Is it because it is a medical? Is it a necessary one? Is it ever necessary to be a parent? The insurance question is a huge one and will likely always stay a subject of some controversy. At present some insurance in some states does pay for IVF while some does not.
There’s no clear answer to any of this. ART will always be more expensive than conception via intercourse and so questions of access will remain. For the moment I just wanted to flag these different approaches.