Media Release
November 18, 1999


Louise Kennelly
David Taylor

Most Americans Believe Health Care Coverage Should Include Costs of Infertility Treatment, According to a Peter Hart Survey

Washington DC Most Americans believe insurance companies should cover costs associated with infertility treatments, according to Peter Hart Research findings released today.

In one of the first US surveys conducted to capture attitudes and perceptions surrounding infertility in the U.S., the number one reason for supporting coverage was based on the belief that all infertile couples, and not just those who can afford appropriate treatment, should have access to it.

Most Americans would counsel a couple facing infertility to first seek medical intervention, before adopting children or accepting life without children. New methods of infertility treatment are widely viewed as positive developments with beneficial effects, according to 60 percent of survey respondents.

Nevertheless, there remain concerns regarding medically assisted conception techniques that are more likely to result in multiple births, with 49 percent of respondents viewing assisted reproductive techniques somewhat less favorably or much less favorably in light of that potential outcome.

A majority of respondents show a lack of knowledge regarding specific treatment techniques such as in-vitro fertilization, wherein eggs are removed from a womans ovaries, fertilized and transferred into the uterus -- the procedure best known for producing test-tube babies. Once familiar with the procedure, the use of guidelines in limiting the number of eggs implanted in the uterus is supported by respondents as a means of avoiding multi-births.

Survey respondents show a remarkable accuracy regarding certain aspects of infertility, deemed a devastating situation.  For example, the survey results indicate that most Americans realize infertility is caused equally by men as women and that about one in ten U.S. couples encounter infertility problems. American women of reproductive age constitute the demographic most highly aware of issues surrounding infertility.

The survey, conducted between October 28 and November 1, 1999, among 1,016 US adults, was commissioned by the Bertarelli Foundation, the first international foundation to provide a global forum on infertility. The foundations first global conference will be held at the National Institutes of Health, November 19-21, 1999, where experts will address the issue of Improving the Treatment of Infertility Towards Avoiding High Order Multiple Gestation.

               In conjunction with the release of the survey data, Geraldine Ferraro was announced as a director to the board of the Geneva-based Bertarelli Foundation,  which includes world-renowned leaders in reproductive health. Im pleased to help direct a foundation committed to promoting and improving understanding of the many dimensions of reproductive health, said Ferraro, who made history as the first woman vice presidential candidate of a major party and has long been a leader on women and family issues.

Among some groups, there is a very high awareness of the challenges surrounding infertility and the extent to which it may affect people they know. Other demographic groups are not as attuned to the problem. Most women of child-bearing age say they know someone experiencing infertility, 53 percent in fact. Only 31-33 percent of male respondents of all ages say the same thing, Ferraro noted. Obviously we have a way to go in educating the public on this important social issue which impacts so many families.

The Bertarelli Foundation was established to humanize the social and scientific faces of infertility and its treatment. It recognizes infertility as a disease that can be treated in an ethically acceptable manner with safe and effective medical procedures. The Bertarelli Foundation was established in the Canton of Vaud, Switzerland, in April.