How Countries Around the World Handle Infertility
For those who want to become parents, there is nothing quite as devastating as facing one loss after another. Whether it’s a negative pregnancy test, a miscarriage or in most cases, both, a staggering one in six couples in the United States will experience fertility issues. What’s more disheartening is the high cost of fertility treatments is typically not covered by insurance, leaving those who are already suffering from the burden of coming up with an extreme amount of cash. Just how much? Estimates place a round of in-vitro fertilization between 10 and 12 thousand dollars. But that doesn’t account for the medications required to prepare the woman’s body, which can cost upwards of $2,000. Worst of all, most of the time, multiple IVF rounds are necessary to produce a healthy, successful pregnancy.
Though some companies—notably Facebook and Google—are beginning to include IVF and other fertility treatments as part of their employee benefit packages, most do not. This puts the United States far behind other countries that recognize the all-too-frequent hurdle that so many silently face. Here, a look at what other countries across the world are doing to help their citizens. If you are facing fertility issues, consider sharing this with your manager as a blueprint for how times should—and need—to change.
Even though much of Spanish culture and history is male-dominated and focused, they have been among the leaders in western Europe to normalize infertility. Unlike many countries, Spain has a plethora of eggs, since organ donation has been encouraged and accepted for generations. Since 2006, all women aged 18 or older have access to reproductive technology—including artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization (IFV). Women up to 50 are accepted by Spanish clinics, and they don’t discriminate against same-sex or single ladies, either. They also have 200 treatment centers—more than any other European country. Compared to the United States, the cost of IVF treatment in Spain is a steal, with the average cost around $7K—a low number compared to America’s $20K. Many neighbors in the EU, like France and England, come here to grow their families.
It’s the happiest country in the world, and perhaps one of the most advanced in providing infertility assistance for its residents. More to the point: it’s completely free. Full stop. They provide—at zero charge—assisted reproductive technology (ACT) to anyone who needs it. This includes IVF and artificial insemination, sperm mobility measures and basically anything you or your partner would need. Since 2006, ACT is not only limited to heterosexual couples but extends to same-sex duos and single women, too. It’s estimated that 8 to 10 percent of babies born in this Nordic country are through these techniques—a far cry from the less than two percent in the United States. Though Denmark has have seen a growth in single moms over the past decade, it boasts the highest success with IVF treatments — according to their data, so take it with a grain of salt — making it a destination for those who need assistance with getting pregnant.
Unfortunately, since IVF treatment in the United States is rarely covered by insurance—and is, well, stupidly expensive—many couples or singles will go into debt to have a child. Or, if they can’t afford it, they’ll forgo the process completely. However, one option may be traveling to Israel, where one cycle of private treatment is $6-7K. If you’re a local, you can have up to two treatments at no cost until the age of 45. The nation has 5,000 cycles per one million people—the highest in the world. However, there are limitations against same-sex couples, while single women are able to go through the process solo.
Through the Land Down Under isn’t quite as advanced as Denmark or Spain, it is still making the IVF process more affordable for its residents. Treatments typically inch toward $10K, but the Australian National System (i.e. their healthcare) covers more than half, bringing the total cost to a much more affordable number than in the U.S., What’s more, is what happens after the first round. If you fail to conceive, the following rounds are less expensive, since the country recognizes the financial strain.
Slowly, Canada is starting to offer options for those unable to get pregnant without medical assistance. Currently, Ontario is the most advanced of the provinces, as it covers one full round of IVF per female. In Quebec, Manitoba, and New Brunswick, there are various tax credits available to those who need fertility treatments, though cost ranges greatly per region and also factors in the couple or woman’s income. Though it may still cost thousands of dollars— even tens of thousands—these credits can still reduce the financial burden.
Bottom line? The United States still has a way to go in providing these services and treatments for couples or singles who struggle to conceive. If you are considering getting IFV or looking into it, speak with a travel agent who can help you navigate options available abroad.
Author Bio Lindsay Tigar is a travel and lifestyle journalist. Her work has appeared in Travel + Leisure, Vogue, USA Today and countless other publications. When she isn't collecting another passport stamp, she can be found scouring a city for the best coffee, going to a boxing class or falling in love with each stray dog she meets. A collection of her work can be found at LindsayTigar.com.