Happy Mother’s Day?

May 11, 2014Carole No Comments »

We have a lush pine-filled park  a couple of blocks from the house and I often hike the trails when I need to get outside and de-clutter my brain. I was hiking the trail today and I like to say “Hello!” or “Good Morning!” or “Good Afternoon!” or whatever to the folks I pass. Most people seem to really like this- maybe they are just relieved that I am not, apparently, dangerous. In fact,  I must look rather maternal, being of a certain age and well-padded. In any case, one of these friendly folks responded to my “Hello” with a “Happy Mother’s Day!”, which was sweet and I took it in the spirit intended.

But, then I thought- he doesn’t know that I am a mother.  It was just a lucky guess on his part. What if I was not a mother-but wanted to be? How painful would that happy salutation be? I guess it’s a lot like congratulating a well-padded woman on her pregnancy. It may not go well.

For those of you who are hoping to enjoy a Mother’s Day in the future, there is plenty of reason to be optimistic. IVF is many-fold more effective as a medical treatment than the first version offered to Louise Brown’s mother. Louise Brown was the first IVF baby born in the world. Today, we have seen the birth of over 5 million IVF babies!

Commenting on this remarkable milestone in 2012, Dr David Adamson, from Fertility Physicians of Northern California, USA, and Chairman of  the International Committee for Monitoring Assisted Reproductive Technologies), said: “It means that this technology has been highly successful in treating infertile patients. Millions of families with children have been created, thereby reducing the burden of infertility.
“The technology has improved greatly over the years to increase pregnancy rates. The babies are as healthy as those from other infertile patients who conceive spontaneously. The technology is available globally in many different cultures. The major barriers to access are economic, and societal in some situations. With these accomplishments as a technology, and with recognition of Professor Robert Edwards as a Nobel Laureate, IVF is firmly established now in the mainstream of medicine.”

Other ICMART data indicate that around 1.5 million ART cycles are now performed globally each year, producing around 350,000 babies. This number continues to rise. The two most active countries of the world are the USA and Japan, but the most active region by far is Europe.”

Our society is becoming more accepting of modern families in many configurations, which is a very good thing. Even if using your own sperm or egg is not working with IVF, there are other options.  Third party reproduction using donor egg, donor sperm, donor embryos or gestational surrogacy have vastly expanded the options for men and women suffering from infertility.

The major barrier to the use of IVF in the US is economic. As we slowly seem to be moving toward acceptance of the concept that health care is a right, not a privilege, we may one day see universal access to not only healthcare in general but also infertility treatment. Our families are essential to who we are as human beings and everyone should have the chance to build a family of their own.

Want to know more about how you can get involved to increase access to infertility treatments and infertility insurance? Check out Fertility Within Reach , a non-profit organization that is working hard to increase access to care for patients.


© 2014, Carole. All rights reserved.

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