I recently alluded to my location privilege, as I called it, in a post where I detail how many other same-sex couples we know have had or are having babies. But to briefly expound on the issue: seriously, I don’t always realize or appreciate just how lucky I am to be living in Chicago.
First, when we started TTC, we went to a fabulous clinic that specializes in helping LGBT couples have babies. Yes, they have one of those in our city. Their mission is to facilitate “the empowerment of women and trans* people by providing access to health care and health education in a respectful environment where people pay what they can afford.” They have a sliding pay scale so that even those without health insurance that covers certain things (such as fertility treatments or gender transitioning) can afford to live the life they want to live. They “started the first Alternative Insemination (AI) Program in the Midwest for lesbians, bisexual and queer couples, single women of any sexual orientation, and trans* people.” They are therefore used to working with women who have no known fertility issues except the obvious lack of sperm, which means that they fully support drug-free attempts at IUI and ICI. For the first time in my life, I was proud that I could pay full price for their services, since I knew that my ability to do so was helping subsidize someone less fortunate than I.
I’m not trying to brag about how amazing it is that we had access to such a facility, and were assisted by wonderful professionals both physically and emotionally. I just want to make sure I am always cognizant of and grateful for my own location privilege. Having had this experience, it’s sometimes hard for me to imagine that same-sex couples in other states (and countries) face uncomfortable or discriminatory situations when they try to seek doctor-assisted reproduction, even though it has been shown to be more effective (and therefore, sometimes more cost-effective) than trying at home. Often, they are forced to go to fertility clinics that forgo intervention-free IUIs/ICIs and convince the couple to go straight to medicated cycles or even IVF (I know several people for whom this was the case). They are coerced into following this harrowing and, frankly, un-fun process because that is the “protocol.”
I don’t know what to do about this. I’ve never been the greatest activist. But I am curious: are their health care facilities like mine in your state? What options did you (if you are a single mother by choice or same-sex couple) have in terms of getting pregnant? What course did your doctor(s) recommend?