Looking through the Birth slides and some of the readings on the Early Life Matters content pages has opened my eyes to the vulnerability of parents to unneeded items and medical “necessities”. Firstly, medication; according to the National Women’s Health Network, “ART [assisted reproductive technology] is expensive (averaging $12,400 per cycle, with many patients requiring two or more cycles) and often is not covered by insurance, so it is natural for patients to seek a provider that can maximize their chance of success. Yet, a recent analysis of web content from 372 U.S. fertility clinics (out of a total of 381 clinics) suggests that the success rates being promoted are not based on reputable practices and/or standards,” (Walden, 2015). This shows that ART is neither an affordable nor a reputable practice that cannot be relied on, and yet thousands of families do. Secondly, according to the Birth Slides, a Cesarean Section is the most common surgical procedure in the United States with rates at about 31.8%. However, the rates are different based on hospital policies, not on health. Furthermore, the cost of vaginal birth and a Cesarean section are not the same, and while there is a plan to equalize the payment, one is not in place as of yet.
Keeping with the theme of unneeded vs. needed medical expenses, next to discuss is an article entitled “The Cord Blood Controversy”. In this article, many parents have chosen to freeze their child’s umbilical cord after birth in case of an autoimmune disease or genetic defect that could be cured with the stem cells from the cord. However, the problem with this is that not only does it cost a large sum of money, currently $1,000 to $2,000, it also may not be effective. If the infant has a genetic defect or a disease, the same defect or disease is likely in the umbilical cord, therefore rendering the stem cells in it useless to the child. In fact, to quote the article, “Both the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued statements in the late 1990s opposing the use of for-profit banks — and criticizing their marketing tactics,” (Moninger). However, it was stated that the umbilical cords may be donated to a public institution to be available for free for children who need stem cells. Lastly, we will revisit the Cesarean section topic. In the United States, if a mother has had a Cesarean section before, she will be denied a vaginal birth in the future. This is problematic because, as mentioned before, Cesarean sections are more expensive than natural births. However, according to the article “More women should have choice of vaginal birth after C-section, panel says” this information is untrue. In this article, and independent panel of women’s health experts say that “U.S. women should be given the option to have a vaginal birth after cesarean, stating that such births are reasonably safe,” (Roan, 2010). In other words, families have been forced to spend thousands of dollars on a procedure that they may not need which would impact them financially in a significant way. Families appear to be duped out of money from contraception to birth, and probably long after. Pre-parents and young parents need to look into all of their options for conceiving and birthing before making a decision. If they decide to visit a doctor, they should attempt to bring a list of questions so that they are able to get all of their answers at once and therefore spend less money. Everyone knows that being a parent is hard work and a lot of money, but many people do not realize that being a pre-parent can also be extremely expensive.
Moninger, J. (2017). The Cord Blood Controversy. Retrieved from http://www.parents.com/pregnancy/my-baby/cord-blood-banking/the-cord-blood-controversy/
Roan, S. (2010, March). More women should have choice of vaginal birth after C-section, panel says. Retrieved from http://www.latimes.com/health/la-he-0323-hosp-vbac-20100323-story.html
Walden, R. (2015, October). Direct-to-Consumer: Fertility Clinic Advertising on the Web. Retrieved from https://www.nwhn.org/direct-to-consumer-fertility-clinic-advertising-on-the-web/.