It's National Infertility Awareness Week again. My husband and I, like many other couples, suffer from infertility. 1 in 8 couples do, or 7.3million in the U.S. alone. This week I won't be posting on here about NIAW, but I will be posting on my FB and continuing to try and educate my family and friends about this disease. Despite how long we've been down this road, many still don't get it. There is always this break in communications, or an uninterested ear, maybe a disconnect, I don't know. I do know that I'm going to keep talking though. I may not be talking about our current struggles, but I will be talking about all our struggles- what we as the community face everyday.
There are many issues about infertility that bother me. Like many of you, financially it is a major burden. This isn't the worst of it, but over and over it comes back up and gets in my face. When you're coughing up $500 a month, or $3k for one cycle, it's impossible for it not to get in your face. It's such a gamble, and I am not the gambling type. Yet here I am, throwing $500 down on the table for a 25% chance of winning big. If this year doesn't work, we'll have no choice but save and save, and then turn around and throw a whole months wages down on one cycle. An entire months wages... that isn't so easy to come by. And you know what? Some people have to risk more than that.
Why is it such a burden? Because insurance refuses to cover us. Because there are no government mandates here to protect us. Oh, yeah, my state has limited mandates... for diagnosis. But it's a joke. The moment I was diagnosed with PCOS, they left me hanging. No further diagnostics. And my insurance weaseled their way out of even covering that bill! The bottom line is that our insurance companies believe that our disease isn't worth it for them. That our ability to conceive and desire to have children is not their problem.
In my years trying to become a parent, I was forced to make decisions I didn't want to because of my coverage status. I had to take risks then, and even now, I don't like. I have to take treatment options that aren't as good, aren't as proven, or as successful. I have to take medications that aren't as helpful, or as strong. I have to take breaks in order to save money, and I've had to make the decision to walk away completely before.
Having coverage doesn't guarantee anything, and I get that. Even with coverage, there are co-pays and there are caps/limits. But that's why we need mandated coverage for everyone. Because most of us are getting screwed here. Insurance shouldn't be able to deny us coverage for a disease just because they don't feel like it.
There is so much more involved with infertility than just crappy insurance and financial burdens though. There is the emotional weight, the lead in your heart, the jealousy, the agony, the bitterness- constantly living in survival mode. I survived it once, and I have my son, but my heart still hurts. Not like it did before, but it still aches. I still find my heart catch in my throat, and tears spring up from nowhere at times. I still have a hard time when things happen so easily for others, because you know what? That wasn't me, and it won't ever be me. Yes, I get jealous. I get bitter. And I get sad. Something that was supposed to be so easy and natural was taken from me. It was unexpected, and yeah, it still hurts.
Infertility is cruel disease, and it's almost always unexpected. It's hard to talk about sometimes, and it's often closeted. I wish that we didn't have to do the things we do, but at some point this became the new norm. And while I hate that, this is the hand I was dealt. I can either keep gambling, or hold. I can keep educating and advocating, or remain silent. There is no right or wrong here, I can understand why some choose to stay silent. It is a hard road. But I will say that if we never speak up and out about this, then nothing will change. If we never take a risk, we won't get anywhere. If we don't tell our story, who will?