OK, so aside from Trump (just lost a few of my readers there!!) the USA has got a few things wrong. As I sit here in the UK on a short work trip back to my home country I realised the USA got a few things wrong, very wrong particularly when it comes to infertility. Let me explain.
But before I do, have you ever heard of a ‘shit sandwich’ as a method for giving feedback to someone? Briefly, a shit sandwich is where you tell someone something positive, then something negative, then something positive again. It helps make the negative more palatable. So here is my shit sandwich.
Things the USA has got right!
Parking for FREEEEEEE! (or very cheap and you never need change if you do need to pay). It’s very easy where I live in Virginia to drive somewhere, anywhere random, and not have to worry about whether or not I have change for parking, or limit my time somewhere because I only had 2 quid on me at the time. True fact.
Portion sizes in restaurants. I can buy one meal and have a second meal for free because the portions are soooo big…it’s expected that all leftovers are taken in a ‘doggy bag’. It is deemed rude not to take a doggy bag! So I always order something that will taste good the next day.
Friendly customer service. Any American reading this disagreeing with me on this point, just come on over to the UK and return a shirt you recently purchased because you changed your mind. Good luck with that one!
Things the USA has got wrong.
Poor healthcare coverage for infertility. In 2012 a survey showed that 46% of people with infertility did not have ANY form of healthcare insurance coverage. And I am willing to bet that of that 46% that do, the majority of insurances will only cover testing and minimal treatment options. Infertility IS a DISEASE. Why is still perceived as ‘optional’?
IVF for wounded Veterans. The coverage runs out in September 2018. WHAT??? WHY??? In 2016 congress passed a bill that allowed the veterans agency to provide cover for IVF for wounded….for TWO YEARS ONLY. WTAF. I mean what monster could have not passed this indefinitely – these people have literally gone to war for their country and can’t now build their family because their deployment caused made them infertile. What is your beef?????
Introduction of Personhood Bills to declare when a person becomes a person without understanding the implications. Wait. A personhood sounds pretty reasonable? Well on the face of it, agreeing when a person becomes a person sounds like a good thing. I am NOT going to debate here about personhood bills, but I will say that there are huge implications on infertility treatment if any of these bills pass. Most people would believe that these bills aim to create a constitutional framework that would make abortion and embryonic stem cell research illegal. I am not debating these issues here, they are separate. But such legislation endangers IVF with many uncertainties over what the implications are for embryos that are created from the IVF process. severla questions that have unclear answers if personhood bills were passed include:
- Would women who have ectopic (tubal) pregnancies after IVF be able to receive life-saving treatment, or would the embryo’s legal rights have to balanced against hers? ITS A HARD DECISION TO MAKE WITHOUT THE LEGAL ISSUES AS IT IS…if you have been following me for a while you will know that I went through this and had to terminate my pregnancy of unknown location, suspected ectopic.
- If one or more microscopic embryos from an IVF cycle do not develop normally in the lab or fail to result in live births after transfer (all natural events), could the physician, lab, and/or patient be criminally liable? Except for the embryos transferred in all my three IVFs – ALL BUT ONE of my embryos arrested. That’s a whole lot of potential legal implications under personhood bills.
- Not all frozen embryos thaw successfully. Could embryo freezing be prohibited as too risky? I’m relying on my little one frostie, but there is a 50-50 chance it won’t survive the thaw.
- Will patients be prevented from donating their frozen embryos to research after they complete infertility treatments? If we decide not to use our embryo or I died we agreed to donate our frozen embryo to research.
- There are many more questions, you can read about them here on Resolve’s website here.
Things the USA has got right Pt II
Okay, so I will end this shit sandwich with something positive.
Open and progressive Ameicans. I have found an amazing online community who are largely Americans who are willing to be open and share their story to break down the stigma and barriers about infertility. The charity Resolve is also prevalent in the community, bringing people together to fight infertility related issues and provide support to sufferers. When I come back to the UK I sense a lot of reservedness when it comes to infertility ,whereas I don’t find it quite that way in the US. For that I am grateful that America is breaking down boundaries with their openness around the subject of infertility and that it is a disease that affects 1 in 8 couples.