Somewhere near where you live, a couple will discover this week that they are infertile and that if they want biological children of their own, they are going to need in vitro fertilization (or IVF). According to treatment protocol, the woman will need to take powerful medicines to ramp up her production of fertilizable eggs. One monthly cycle of this treatment will run around $12,000. But most couples require more than one cycle to achieve their goal of carrying a child to term. In other words, this couple could easily be looking at a bill exceeding $30,000 or $40,000.
And did I mention that this money could all come out of their own pockets?
Because not all insurance companies pay for in vitro fertilization.
No worry though. Their infertility physician informs them about a company he has worked with that specializes in infertility loans. He even offers to have his office staff help the couple fill out the necessary paperwork. Thanks to this assistance, the couple secures the loan and, with luck, will soon be rewarded with a healthy baby.
First, a confession: I like to watch reality TV. Not all reality TV, not often. (I wish I could say, as I would about a junky magazine, “I saw it at the hairdresser” or “ . . . while I was waiting in line at the supermarket.” But no — I sit in my living room, turn on the TV, and choose the station. I take full responsibility. Though I do also use the time to fold laundry.)
The show I’ve gotten hooked on lately is called “Giuliana and Bill.” Giuliana and Bill are on TV because they are famous for being on TV — she as a host of E! News and he as a winner of “The Apprentice.” Their eponymous reality show, about the ups and downs of their marriage, is a marvel of glitzy minutiae. Giuliana and Bill are just like us, only with a lot more Hermès accessories. They bicker; they smooch; they argue about what to have for dinner; they host New Year’s Eve in Times Square. It’s “reality” — life’s big and little moments, carefully staged to seem breezy and spontaneous. But what has hooked me on the show this year is that “reality” has suddenly collided with reality: Giuliana’s diagnosis of breast cancer.
Giuliana and Bill started as a show about newlyweds who wanted to have a baby. But the couple wrestled with infertility, and an IVF pregnancy ended in miscarriage. Before proceeding with another round of fertility treatment their doctor insisted on a mammogram.
Breast cancer was diagnosed last October; and after Giuliana’s lumpectomies failed to produce cancer-free margins, she and Bill had to decide what to do next.