"I have been writing this screenplay on and off again after the birth of our first child Megan (with the help of infertility treatments), in 2009. As emotionally difficult as our infertility journey was at times, I became aware of how much more difficult the journey had been for others (e.g. multiple miscarriages). I also learned that infertility is relatively common and on the increase as couples wait until later in life to get pregnant while at the same time nearly all pop culture gives us the sense that it is easy to get pregnant. Furthermore, stories are almost always about men resisting their wives’/girlfriend’s desire to start a family, which works for drama and comedy but greatly misrepresents men, and especially men going through infertility. Lastly, and importantly, infertility treatments are expensive and insurance coverage varies widely based on where you happen to live. Thankfully we could afford the level of treatment we needed, but I thought it would be a social injustice if a couple couldn’t have a child because they couldn’t afford treatments. All in all, I felt like this was a story that I needed to at least try and tell once it had rooted itself in my head." Hiag Avsharian
The short film “Pulling The Goalie” is a story about infertility struggles, but there’s much more to it when it comes to the conversations the movie raises with its story. Indeed, the most important aspects of infertility is knowing your paths and choosing the one for you, being able to cope with the mental health struggles and being a support system for each other. While facing the problem, every couple should choose a suitable path. But there are other issues that are not touched upon in current pop culture. As the movie brings out, almost 80 million people in the United States and Canada are directly or indirectly affected by infertility. We see depictions of mental and physical struggles caused by infertility and its treatments, but never about the financial struggles that come with it, especially for couples who are not in a financial state to afford all procedures. Choosing to get infertility treatment raises the question of affording all expensive services and medications.
This is what the current financial spectrum of infertility treatments looks like.
All of this data raises the question, why should insurance cover infertility treatments?
Infertility is a disability
First of all, infertility is a medical condition considered to be a disability. It leads to significant drops in the quality of life for both males and females. Some people debate around this, stating that there is a difference between access and insurance coverage. But while making the treatment affordable for more people, access to it will dramatically rise.
It is too expensive to be accessible
Healthcare accessibility is one of the most significant concerns currently, and this concern is more than reasonable. According to the data, only 4% of people with infertility need high-level technological treatment; the rest can behave positive results by taking medications and changing lifestyles. What does that mean in terms of cost? For instance, clomiphene, one of the primary drugs used in infertility treatment, costs $20.000 for one cycle. Medications that normalize the pressure in the blud cost approximately the same and are covered by the insurance.
In this context, one might disagree with comparing clomiphene and lisinopril, saying that lisinopril is necessary for life. At the same time, infertility is not a matter of life and death, and therefore should not be covered. Insurance should be for more than simply preventing death.
Financial difficulties can impact mental health
The financial difficulties caused by infertility issues can cause psychological distress, emotional breakdowns, and unstable mental conditions for both partners. Not being able to seek treatment because you cannot afford it financially can be not only discouraging for the couple but it can also raise such psychological responses like shock, anger, frustration, lack of self-confidence, and control over emotions.
So, even though the issue is not fatal, it can still be attributed to a high level of mental health issues. Infertility treatment insurance can help alleviate the suffering for couples and individuals facing the problem. This is a side of infertility struggle not talked about enough but financial struggles are very much real in most families and should have more awareness. As a movie inspired by my own struggles with infertility, I found it necessary to address this issue and raise more awareness and conversations around this subject.
“Pulling The Goalie” became my inspiration to move forward and create a movement that will support the issue and make a change. It might be a long way to achieve this, but it takes little effort to become part of this movement and make a change yourself. We are currently done with the shooting and are in need of financial support to finish the production of the movie. If you can, please donate here and help the initiative. You can also contribute by simply subscribing here and/or sharing on social media.
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