Economy Stressing Infertility Treatment Cost

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Economy adds emotional stress for couples who need costly infertility treatment. Couples face agonizing decision to start their families now or wait for turnaround in economy when considering fertility treatment.

As if the challenges of the economic downturn are not bad enough, couples who face infertility are embroiled in debate about whether or not to seek treatment now or wait for better days ahead, according to Eugenia Gullick, PhD, a licensed clinical psychologist whose subspecialty is the evaluation and psychological management of infertility. She treats patients at Reproductive Endocrinology Associates of Charlotte.

“The fact of infertility challenges even the most robust marriages, but coping with treatment financing can be a wedge issue for many couples, especially those in their late 30s whose fertility is on the wane,” she said. Although 12 percent of American couples struggle with infertility, only 20 percent of American employers provide infertility coverage, according to RESOLVE: the National Infertility Association.

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Gullick said many who need costly infertility treatment aren’t sure if they should invest in starting their families now or wait until the economy improves. To make matters worse, research indicates that women with the most marital stress require more assisted reproduction cycles to get pregnant than those who reported less stress in their marriages.

“When getting pregnant is difficult, the disappointment and grief often brings conflicts in coping styles and problem-solving to light.” Patterns of handling emotions such as anger, grief, loss, depression, inadequacy, shame, guilt, and anxiety, compounded by sexual frustration related to clinical aspects of treatment usually provoke unexpected and understandable stress,” she said. “Add the uncertain financial realities of this economy and you have a recipe for significant marital anguish.”

However, Gullick remains most optimistic for couples who participate in counseling to improve their communication and decision-making skills, learn new techniques for stress reduction, and develop greater ease coping with negative feelings. “Counseling eases the emotional isolation and helps couples work as a team and make decisions together, which lends them some sense of control and renewed confidence in their marriage,” said Gullick.

Because patients should never have to choose between ensuring a secure financial future and receiving high-quality reproductive care, REACH helps patients finance their infertility treatment through the Attain IVF Program, a risk-refund program. Three out of four participants who complete the program take home a baby. Patient information is available by phone, 800-374-850 or online.

Written by Whitney Anders

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