$20,000 is a lovely round number, the kind that is easy to imagine. The kind of number that can change lives.
- It is 2000 antimalarial bed nets.
- It is 57 fully-funded microloans.
- It is four times the annual operating budget of the nonprofit that initiated the project I premiered last week.
- It is more than the remaining balance on my student loans.
- It is 9 months’ wages.
- It is greater than the per-capita GDP* of all but the wealthiest nations.
- It is the estimated cost of one cycle of IVF, according to the RE I saw last year.
To some degree any discussion of ART for me is academic. My insurance won’t cover anything but testing–so while my husband and I could likely swing a couple of natural-cycle IUIs, anything else is going to be beyond our reach. Short some kind of sea change in our circumstances, I am never going to be able to come up with that $20,000.
I am not poor. On a global scale I am almost unimaginably wealthy, and for that I am grateful. I am humble–I didn’t do anything to deserve this privilege, and I give back what I can. I am confident that if I were to have a child, my husband and I would raise him or her with love, care, and adequate means. But I don’t have $20,000.
Does that mean I don’t want a child badly enough? If I have to stop short of IVF, does that mean I didn’t really try? And if I know going in that I can’t afford to use the RE’s best tools, why am I going to see him?
*Measured by purchasing power; I am aware that per-capita GDP is a difficult thing to pin down and that there are several ways of measuring it, giving sometimes very different results. That’s why I didn’t give a specific number of countries. Any statisticians or economists who can help me think through this? It’s something I would like to understand better. So far my understanding of economics comes mainly from reading Jeffrey Sachs and Paul Krugman with limited comprehension.