Tuesday, September 14, 2010

High Order Multiple Television

Last night I watched the episode of a new show called "Quints by Surprise." Although the quints were not a surprise, they came from IUI's. They seem like a very nice couple, but the husband complained and complained about money. It really bothered me.

TLC is also adding another show about a set of sextuplets. We all know about Kate and her eight. The WE channel also has a set of sextuplets. We also all know the disaster that is OctoMom.

Sigh . . . .

From an infertility advocacy standpoint, these shows are BAD news for us. I know many of us dream of having insurance coverage to pay for our treatments so we don't have to take out loans, work three jobs, put second mortgages on our homes and all the other things people have to do to attempt to have a baby. People already don't want to pay for that but when they see shows like this we are totally screwed. One IVF treatment is a teeny tiny drop in the bucket in comparison to the cost putting five or six (or really even three or four) babies through a NICU stay. Granted, most high order multiples come from IUI's, which is much cheaper than an IVF treatment. After all this publicity, WHY haven't there been some better medical guidelines put into place for IUI's? Why are these people still putting this out there when it makes infertile people look desperate and greedy? It's a huge peeve of mine. I'm not saying the people are desperate and greedy, it just appears that way when they willingly do the procedure and then go on television and complain about their money issues.

Having twins truly terrified me. I was scared that the babies would be in the NICU because they were multiples. The reason it was so hard for me to think of is because it would have been my fault completely (in my mind). Ocean and Ever were born at term and did not require a NICU stay, but it was just sheer luck that it happened like that. The guilt would have completely overwhelmed me. I felt the desperation myself. My RE said that these were excellent embryos and I really needed to think about it. My other RE said I also had a 75% chance of success with my three IUI's but he was wrong. I just didn't believe it, so I completely understand that none of these couples truly thought this would happen to them although they were willing participants. Unfortunately, the public just doesn't see it that way and the general public is a big reason why we don't have that coverage. Obviously another reason is because the insurance companies have no problem bringing this up and how costly it is or could be to other insured individuals.

I would love for us to have infertility coverage. Now that I know how beautiful parenthood is, I wish everyone that wants it can have it. I hate reading on my infertility message boards that people have been tapped out and can no longer try to be parents or afford to adopt (which is super expensive as well). It breaks my heart for them and it wouldn't be so hard if we had coverage for this. It also wouldn't be as big of a decision to not go through with dangerous treatments like unmonitored cycles, IUI's when many follicles are present, or even deciding to transfer just one instead of two embryos. Shows like the TLC shows are what many fertile or child-free people think about when they think of fertility treatments and it is definitely prohibitive when it comes to creating an understanding of what infertile people go through and why they do it.

If you are a long time reader, you know that I LOVE reality TV and it provides me with tons of entertainment. When I think about the message these shows are sending, it makes me kind of sad and they are far less entertaining.

What do you think about these shows?


  1. These shows can bother me too. I hate the complaining, etc. And I think they are shedding the wrong light on fertility treatments.

  2. Although the shows are fastinating, it does frustrate me that they never show the couple before the babies are born. The public never gets to understand the things you were explaining, how hard the decisions are, and how rare high order multiples really are. And they never explain the difference between IUI's and IVF's. Everyone just looks down on IVF, not realizing that (Octomom excluded) most of these high order multiples are from IUI's. And they don't show the agonizing decision that selective reduction must be and why these families chose not to do it.

  3. Amen sister! I am always fascinated yet so disappointed that this is the main way the general public learns about IVF and other infertility treatments. These shows bother me, but I understand why the parents do them because, honestly, how else are you going to make any money when you have 5-6-7-8 mouths to feed? I always feel bad for the kids too; there is just not time in the day to give each of them the amount of mommy & daddy time they each deserve (I'm not saying that applies to twins at all but 5+??).

    The insurance conundrum sucks too. It's ridiculous that infertility treatments are rarely covered - we really don't understand why PGD isn't covered when it kept us from having a child that would have cost our insurance company literally millions of dollars (treatments, specialists, wheelchairs, etc.). Too bad we don't rule the world. :)

  4. My husband and I were among the lucky few to have insurance coverage for fertility treatments when we did our IUI cycle that was converted to IVF, resulting in our daughter. What the general public seems to not see is that fertility coverage could actually reduce the amount paid by insurance companies over a child's lifetime.

    Case in point...we were doing our second IUI cycle when I overstimulated on the meds. I had 7 follicles and my RE felt it was too dangerous to do the IUI...despite male factor issues, there was the chance of higher order multiples. Because we had the coverage, we converted to IVF, and we have one daughter. Had we been self-pay, we may have taken the chance of doing the IUI. Had that resulted in higher order multiples, the insurance company would have been paying much, much more money for NICU as well as coverage for each child until adulthood than it did for our IVF cycle and our one child's coverage until adulthood.

    We have since moved out of state and no longer have the IUI/IVF insurance coverage. Unfortunately, with that coverage has also gone some hope for a sibling for our daughter. We may decide to do one IVF cycle self-pay since IVF worked the first time for us, but on the other hand, do we really want to take money away from the child we have for the child we may never have? But, that would be a totally different blog entry in itself.

  5. I watch all those shows. I look at it from the viewpoint they need them to provide for their children. The whole IUI thing kills me. How is it that these doctors aren't ethically/morally responsible when there are that many follies?? It's disappointing the lack of responsibility and education there.

    As for the insurance covering it, if I can play devil's advocate since I work for a big firm...it's technically up to your employer if infertility coverage is provided. Insurance companies offer it, your employer would have to choose to have it. I can tell you, most don't. Hell, I don't have it. We're fighting to be like states like NJ who have it mandated. I've considered moving just to get it!

  6. Honestly, I like the show "Quints by Surprise". Since I live in Canada, I'm not sure how the system works here but I know that health care is more expensive in the US. I'm glad that there are oppurtunities like IUI and IVF for parents that are not able to concieve on their own. Though I personally would not want to have quintuplets, I think every child is a blessing.


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