Childfree Living Is A Choice, Infertility Is Not
Childfree by Choice, What's the Issue?
What to expect when you're not expecting? That's the question.
That's a different question than what to expect when you're not expecting and still want to be.
Apparently it is now 1 in 5 women who are childfree as opposed to 1 in 10 women in the 1970's.
I'm full of questions. I think I like them more than answers because they provoke thought and thinking provokes dialogue.
How did I miss the book, "What to Expect When No One's Expecting" by Jonathan V. Last? It's a book I will be reading in the next month. Especially when a line in the Time Magazine article "The Childfree Life" refers to the selfishness of the American taxpayer who doesn't have children.
Interesting that this conversation swings back and forth between speaking about women and then the "American taxpayer". So women are selfish about not having children and therefore not paying taxes because of that? Is the author (Lauren Sandler) attempting to back off her statement that this is about women by using the gender unspecific term "taxpayer"?
Like I said, I'm full of questions. And I think a little riled up.
The article that was brought to my attention via Facebook (thank you Amy Demma!) has the date of Monday, August 12, 2013 on it. I assume that means it will hit the newsstand on that date. To be fair, I have not read the whole article. Given how riled up I feel all ready, that may not be a bad thing.
Here's what's upsetting me so far.
Infertility is Not a Choice
There's a statement in there about infertility, which I will quote directly here that particularly lights me up:
With fertility treatment widely available, not to mention adoption, even clinically infertile women have more options than ever to become mothers, which increases the possibility that any woman who doesn't will be judged for her choice.
Yes, fertility treatment is widely available. Yes, adoption is widely available.
Those are the short, easy answers though.
And we all know why.
You're not sure?
Here are a few answers. I've been working on a blog about costs for the LGBT community, for GayParentstoBe. Many of the costs that pertain to a same sex couple also pertain to a straight woman. And to be clear, what I've read in this article points directly to women (interesting that the cover is a photograph of a man and woman). Perhaps the rest of the the article (to be revealed on August 12) will address the childfree choices of men. Then I will have to eat some of these words!
Back to costs.
Yes, fertility treatment is widely available. Yes, adoption is widely available. If you are infertile. And if your infertility is the reason that you are "choosing" not to have a child. How on earth does having infertility translate into a choice?
Fertility Treatment Costs and Acknowledging Inequity
If you live in the endangered middle class or gasp, below it (bringing up the whole conversation about the elitism of infertility and fertility treatment), the adoption or fertility treatment costs can be crippling. Medical insurance coverage for the disease of the reproductive system is spotty at best, non-existent at worst. Some of us are lucky enough to live in a state where there are mandates that help with medical coverage. Only 15 states actually provide that type of coverage; that leaves an awful lot of us out there uncovered.
Adoption is equally expensive.
Not to mention time consuming, emotionally draining, hard on a partnership and more. These are not little things. There are tests and procedures and appointments that can be detrimental to keeping or advancing in a job or career, making it even more difficult to pay for the treatment for the child that you want.
OK. I am so way past riled up that I have steam coming out of my ears.
Yes, there are many men and women out there that choose to be childfree. For those of us who do not, but are affected by infertility, the answers are not quite as simple as they seem.
More on Monday. Stay tuned.
Lisa Rosenthal's Google+
About Lisa Rosenthal
Lisa has over thirty years of experience in the fertility field. After her personal infertility journey, she felt dissatisfied with the lack of comprehensive services available to support her. She was determined to help others undergoing fertility treatment. Lisa has been with RMACT for eleven years and serves as Patient Advocate and the Strategic Content Lead.
Lisa is the teacher and founder of Fertile Yoga, a program designed to support men and women on their quest for their families through gentle movement and meditation.
Lisa’s true passion is supporting patients getting into treatment, being able to stay in treatment and staying whole and complete throughout the process. Lisa is also a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, which is helpful in her work with fertility patients.
Her experience also includes working with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and The American Fertility Association (now Path2Parenthood), where she was Educational Coordinator, Conference Director and Assistant Executive Director.