Hope for Infertility and the Holidays

A Time to Believe

The holiday season can be a difficult time for people who are trying to conceive.  Seeing other happy family members and friends with children can make your heart hurt, when you’re wondering if you will ever have a child of your own.

But the holidays are a season of miracles and hope, and there are reasons to be hopeful now.

From Darkness to the Light

Many faiths center part of their beliefs or traditions around the winter solstice, when the days are shortest and nights are dark.  Often these traditions center around the triumph of light over darkness as the days slowly begin to lengthen.  Hanukkah, Christmas and Diwali all have light as part of their message.  The message of the holidays is that miracles can happen, and hope is available to all.

Extension of Insurance Coverage

Many people struggling with infertility in the state of New York can look forward to having insurance coverage for fertility treatment in 2020, depending on the size of their employer.  Large group insurance providers will be required to cover up to three rounds of IVF for those couples unable to conceive after 12 or 6 months of regular unprotected intercourse or donor insemination, depending on the age of the female. This includes single women and same-sex female couples. It does not cover small group employers or self-insured groups.  But the new law is expected to cover an estimated 2.4 million New Yorkers who did not have coverage in 2019. California and New Hampshire are states considering a mandate, with legislation pending.  Seventeen other states currently require at least some coverage of fertility treatment.

Improved Treatment and Outcomes

IVF success rates have stayed about the same in the U.S. for the last decade, but there has been a reduction in the number of twins and high-multiple births.  This is good news for anyone considering IVF treatment because of the reduced risk to both mother and child of premature birth and lower-weight babies.  The consensus among experts is that elective single embryo transfer (eSET) is the new standard of care.  Recent studies have established that among women who have a good chance of success with IVF, success rates are similar with eSET to those with two or more embryos transferred, and the number of multiple births greatly reduced.

Managing Hope and Uncertainty During the Holidays

If you’re dealing with infertility during the holiday season, be kind to yourself.  Try to limit your exposure to events and people that make you feel sad.  Decide how much of your infertility journey you are willing to share, and with whom.  Being prepared can make holiday events less stressful.  And try to find joy in the small moments and pleasures of the holiday season.  Take a deep breath, be in the moment, and you may be surprised by a feeling of hope.