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Money No Longer the Main Factor in Fertility Treatment Accessibility

November 6, 2017
Katie Visco

Social Acceptance More Important Than Economic Factors in Fertility Treatment Availability It's no secret that it can be a huge hassle going through fertility treatments. It costs money, time, and now, apparently, social acceptance. Time to look into more than just money when it comes to sealing the deal for those pricey procedures.

  • New research says money is not the only determinant in fertility treatment availability
  • Biggest factors include social and cultural norms
  • If it's viewed as socially positive, you are more likely to give it a go

Is Money All You Need When It Comes to Getting the Fertility Treatment You Desire?

New research says money is not the sole determinant

Fertility struggles are so common that one out of every eight couples experiences them. Due to it being such a common occurrence, many have and continue to turn to assisted reproductive technologies, or ART. Much like in the United States, usage in Europe does vary according to location, and now researchers are looking into why. 

Is it purely economic resources that allow a couple to have access to these advanced and expensive treatments? A wealthier and healthier economy would surely increase a country's usage numbers for ART. While this may be true, only now have studies been formed to address demographic and cultural factors as well. The results say that these influences are just as important as the state of the economy.

Where You're From Says What You Do

Biggest factors include cultural and social norms

What your peers are doing would make you more likely to undergo ART than having the ability to afford it. That's at least what this new Oxford study is saying, insisting that you are most likely to have access to specialized treatments if it lies in your cultural norms to do so. This is why we can see such a discord in usage numbers when looking at two countries with the same economic status. 

For example, the Czech Republic had over 10,000 ART cycles per million reproductive women in the country. Comparably, considerably wealthier countries like Italy and the UK had only 5,400 and 4,900 cycles per million women. What is the difference between the two countries other than economy? Since it's not just money, it has to be something else, and researchers insist it is cultural acceptance.

You'll Love ART if it's For the Greater Good

If viewed as socially positive in your country, you're more likely to give it a go

Cultural acceptance also means cultural adoration. The stronger the positive views of ART are in your region, the higher the usage rates are. If you live in Scandinavia, the perception is that of a public and justified good, so the government takes it upon itself to make services widely available for all incomes levels and communities. 

Religion is also a very influential factor that can positively or negatively impact fertility treatment usage rates. For example, majority Protestant nations can claim a 25% increase of ART involvement by its followers. 

Culture, society, and religion are just as important drivers as economy, finances, and health care. If you recognize the stigma that assisted reproductive technologies has for couples or countries with high income levels only, don't be fooled. Affluent resources are not necessary to access specific fertility treatments as long as you reside in a society where it is culturally acceptable to pursue. If by any chance you think you might not be, don't throw in the towel so quickly.


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