Black Women and Infertility: What You Need to Know Before Seeking Fertility Treatment



Even if you live in a state where fertility coverage is mandatory, there can be many unforeseen costs, such as doctor visits and lab co-payers, embryo freezing, and expenses related to conditions that may arise. may appear during treatment. Your doctor might also suggest services, such as embryo tests, where a few cells from a fertilized egg are examined for genetic abnormalities before being transferred to the uterus. Many of these services are not covered by insurance and often require more money than a patient might have.

There is also a lack of information on resources to help pay for IVF treatments. For example, not many people know that some employers, like Starbucks and Proctor and Gamble, will pay for multiple cycles of fertility treatment, the New York Times said. If you haven’t already, check with your human resources department or insurance to see what’s available to you.

In addition, communities like Fertility for girls of color provide education, awareness and encouragement to Blacks and other people of color with infertility. There are groups that can help you provide financial support for fertility treatment and other related resources. the Cade Foundation offers educational programs on different pathways to parenthood across the country. They also have grants to help families pay for adoption and fertility treatment costs.

What does self-advocacy look like throughout the process?

It bears repeating: you shouldn’t have to fight for your own life and dignity when trying to get pregnant. But, in a catastrophically unfair system, it is wise to “know the process of fertility treatment,” says Dr. Thomas. “When you know more about the subject, you are more likely to see warning signs and to stand up for yourself better when the going is down.” Some warning signs include being blamed for failures during treatment, an unreachable doctor, and aggressive pressure for specific treatments beyond standard care.

Even if things change quickly, feel free to speak up and voice your concerns throughout the process. “If you don’t understand a thing, don’t be afraid to ask, even if you think the question is ridiculous,” says Dr Thomas. He says helpful questions can include, “What should I expect between now and my next date?” “What does this mean in my blood test report?” “Are there lower hormonal protocols that would work for me?” “Do I need this additional procedure to improve my chances?” “What is the science behind this?”

If your doctor isn’t answering questions or making you uncomfortable, you don’t have to stick with a particular provider or practice, says Dr. Thomas. “Get a second opinion or see another doctor. It’s really essential to your success, ”he adds.

How do you explain your mental well-being?

One of the things I didn’t consider was how much my mental well-being would be affected during the fertility treatment. I was an overly optimistic patient, bringing my positive approach to a process over which I had no control. My loss and grief through each failed cycle was magnified by a deep sense of failure – in my culture no success meant nothing if a woman couldn’t conceive.

It turns out that infertility can cause anxiety and emotional stress. As SELF previously reported, a 2017 study published in Human reproduction found that 41% of 416 women surveyed suffered from depression in addition to their infertility. This emotional stress can be particularly acute in black families like mine, where the shame and stigma of infertility can be more prevalent. Getting pregnant can be difficult, even with assisted reproduction technology, and multiple failed IVF cycles can cause deep feelings of loss, grief, and shame. And, of course, the hormones you take during treatment can also alter your mood and lower your sex drive.


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