Cancer Ever After

Musings on Infertility, Adoption, Parenthood and Cancer

The Lottery

on 12/31/2014

“If I win the lottery, I will…” My husband and I occasionally dream about winning the lottery. In fact, we had this conversation just last night. What struck me during that conversation is how much I’ve changed over the last six or seven years. When we first met, our lottery wish list consisted of vacation homes, traveling the world, and enjoying ourselves. I always had a list of exotic places I wanted to go and a laundry list of locations where we would buy luxurious vacation homes if we were to win.

Last night, my lottery wish list was very different. If I win the lottery, I want to help others who can’t have children. Yes, I want to put money aside for my children’s college first, and enough to be able to retire (there are selfish items that still top the list- I’m not that nice!). But if I win, I want to be able to help others have their dearest wish–a child. If I could cure infertility I would. Infertility is a mean-ass bitch. And having gone through infertility, I would like to make both infertility treatments and adoption affordable for others.  Resolve (www.resolve.org), the national infertility association,  has several articles on the impact that finances play in treatment costs, a phase that almost all infertile couples hit. For the majority of infertiles, their family-building options far outstrip their ability to afford those options.

This is one of the hardest parts of our infertility. We had a very positive prognosis for treatment. Once we found the correct specialist and diagnosis, we were given an 80% chance of success. The only roadblock was affording what insurance wouldn’t cover, and we were lucky that my insurance covered a good portion of the costs. We also looked closely at adoption and surrogacy at that time, because we had two miscarriages under our belts and knew that my body didn’t handle pregnancy well. We even had a couple of family members offer to be a surrogate, but the costs for adoption were between 35k-45k and surrogacy was over 50k (even with a known surrogate). In the end, our treatment for a medical problem was not determined by the doctors’ recommended course of treatment, it was dictated by what we could afford.

This is the true rub of infertility. Even though it is a medical condition and has a medical cause, it’s not seen as a medical condition in a lot of peoples’ eyes. This is what I would change if I could. A lot of great groups advocate for favorable legislation and insurance coverage. Even more advocate for adoption assistance programs and tax credits. It’s a great start, but I think if infertility doesn’t touch you personally–through a very close friend or family member–it’s easy to brush it off as a nonissue. I know we are one of the lucky ones. We have our girls, which is an amazing miracle.

And now we have this opportunity to adopt. In a lot of ways, I feel like we’ve already won the lottery–twice.

We’ve won at the lottery of life.

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