Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Infertility Is a Disease — Let’s Treat It as One

By Erika Munch, MD
San Antonio obstetrician-gynecologist, reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialist

As a reproductive health physician, I hear all sorts of explanations for why people haven’t been able to conceive — most often from patients themselves, who have gotten advice from the internet or from well-meaning but uninformed relatives.
“Sweetie, you just need to try a little harder. And relax! It’ll just happen!” 
“It’s because you had that bad Pap smear that one time. Now it’s caused a problem.” 
“He went around with too many girls when he was younger. No wonder things aren’t happening now.”
Would you tell your diabetic Aunt Thelma she should just relax and see if her blood sugar goes down? Or blame a cancer diagnosis on neglecting to write a thank-you note?

Infertility isn’t a mystery. It’s a diagnosis. It’s a real one that affects about one out of every eight couples trying to conceive. And we ought to treat it as the disease it is — with timely diagnosis and access to effective treatments.

It starts with awareness. If you haven’t been able to conceive after trying for six to 12 months on your own, speak up. Make sure your doctor listens! If you know there might be an issue because of your medical history, seek medical advice sooner rather than later. Listen to your gut, and ask YOUR physician — not Dr. Google, and not “Dr.” Aunt Thelma.

And it continues with activism. Unlike other states with more expansive coverage, Texas is a “mandate to offer” state. Meaning: State law requires group insurers to offer fertility treatment coverage for purchase, but does NOT require employers to purchase that coverage or make it available to their employees. Some employers do cover this for their employees, but unfortunately, many do not.

If infertility benefits are not offered by your company, ask why, and begin the conversation! Often employers are just as unaware as Aunt Thelma of how common infertility really is and the simplicity and cost-effectiveness of available treatments. Using resources from (a nonprofit organization that provides support and advocates for people facing infertility) show your organization that several top companies provide this coverage for their employees in their holistic approach to building a pro-family, productive work environment.

Doctors and patients are united in this front. Infertility is a treatable disease, and we are here to help support your journey to parenthood.

And one day, maybe Aunt Thelma can come babysit.

No comments :

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...