Denmark

Rest Assured: You've Got (Infertility) Insurance (Tuesday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. I mentioned Denmark yesterday. Any country whose people are named after a gooey breakfast treat is okay by me.) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. How the good infertile people of Denmark are on the eve of losing their access to free fertility treatments.

Once people have to pay for the expensive treatments,  I wonder what will happen to their number of children born via assisted reproductive technologies. Right now, the numbers are high: 8-10 percent of all total births in Denmark. That makes it almost, sort of, commonplace. I wonder if it's just a normal part of conversation over there.

"Wow, I can't believe you were conceived at the Haagen Dazs lab! I spent the first two weeks of my life in that lab! Who was your embryologist? Small world!"

"Did you buy the yearbook? I'm 21;  Class of '89."

"I went to the ten year reunion. All of the moms had to drive us. I mean, you know, we were only ten...We all had to wear pictures of what we looked like back then. It was pretty embarrassing. I didn't recognize many people. It's amazing how much people change in ten years. At least we didn't have to wear name tags--except the multiples. Baby A  I knew from second grade but Baby B was in a different class."   

"You don't mind needles? I hate needles. Oh right, you didn't have ICSI. Man, did that hurt like a son of a .... A little pinch, yeah right. They got me right in the ear lobe. It's still sore when I wear earrings."  

"Do you find that extremely cold weather doesn't bother you? If it's like -196 degrees Celsius outside, I don't even need a sweater."

I'm afraid that we in the U.S. still have a long way to go before we'll be able to discuss our infertility issues and outcomes so openly.  And maybe money is a part of it. But it makes no sense. We run to let everyone know we spent $60,000 on a shiny new car, but would be ashamed to tell you we spent that much trying for a shiny new baby.  

Of course we're also living in the Country where fifty-six year old celebrities have twins "naturally"... only in the U.S.... and People magazine.

Listen, I gotta go. All this week I'm working on my open enrollment insurance at work. I have to decide whether my husband should have health insurance next year or power steering in his car and tires with tread on them.  I'd better check if the insurance covers skidding off the road and into a ditch. I probably should also renew our AAA while I'm at it.

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

Rest Assured: You've Got (Infertility) Insurance (Monday)

People in Denmark are apparently tripping over each other in a mad rush to get to fertility clinics. At the moment, fertility treatments are free of charge: Part of the Danish healthcare system. In January, goodbye and good luck. No more free. That unfortunate beautiful country must look like a one day sale at Macy's on December 23rd... or even worse.  Now that we're heavily into November and the "Buy one IVF get the second one... and the first one... free" deal  is about to expire in Denmark in a mere month and a half  (Merry Christmas and a Happy New year), I'm envisioning the one and only consignment sale I ever attended. Shoot me. Never again.

My husband and I walked in holding in our hands nothing but each other's hand. How naive we were.

People (mostly women I must say) came rushing in with boxes, containers, tubs... anything that could hold and transport  massive quantitites of other people's crap.  The doors opened at seven. And they're off!

These people came crashing through as though they were running into a burning building to corral their children and pets, cram them into the tub and whisk them away to safety.

One woman pushed past me. She had just cleared off an entire rack, sight unseen, and was hurriedly transporting the entire mess to a safe haven: A private spot on the hallway floor nestled between a water fountain and the toilets. Here she could scrutinize each item to see whether she actually wanted to purchase it or generously leave it in a heap on the floor under the dripping fountain for someone else to sift through.

As I strolled over to the water fountain, I turned it on, took a sip, letting it run over as I spoke to the hoarder on the floor below: "I'm from New York. Believe me. If I wanted that MF shirt. I'd have that MF shirt."

 (Feel free to think "MF" is a rap star turned shirt designer if you like".) 

Anyway, all I'm saying is: I hope Denmark, because of a change in law and the urgency of the infertile, isn't turning into one big, obnoxious, desperate mess of a consignment sale. Their biggest fertility center usually has to turn away about twenty percent of its prospective patients because they can't handle the demand. Now it's up to forty-five percent. Anybody who applies now will probably be out of luck for the free care. 

I was outraged to hear that the treatments, come January, will start at two thousand Kroner. Until I did the exchange rate and realized it was $367.87  in U.S. dollars. But of course the prices only go up from there.

Still, I can't think of anything during my fertility treatments that cost $367.87. Maybe the consultation.

So this week we're going to take a look at insurance coverage here in the U.S. as it affects infertility diagnosis and treatments. Only fifteen states presently require any coverage... and you might be surprised at the vague and sometimes peculiar criteria. We'll discuss...

Listen, I gotta go. It's open enrollment time for the company health insurance and I have to decide whether I should have dental coverage or  pay my mortgage. At least if I decide on the dental coverage, I won't be the stereotypical homeless person with no teeth.

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.