To the Editor:
I usually enjoy reading the Code Blue articles for their first-person perspective, but I found the February 2005 story, "One Couple's Infertility Treatment Experience," out of place. The lengthy description of this couple's voluntary choice to subject themselves to multiple invasive and expensive medical procedures in the pursuit of a child that was genetically theirs came across as vain, self-absorbed, and self-pitying. That the unnamed author of this essay "endured...a home equity loan" and had to "struggle to get out of bed every day, let alone lead a productive life" was this couple's choice, and not a direct consequence of infertility. They could have just as easily chosen to adopt, become foster parents, or hire a surrogate. They could have then invested the $80,000 they spent on infertility treatment - twice the average income of a family of 4 in this country - for the college education of a living, breathing child trapped in the current child welfare system.
Dr Ognibene prefaces this story by stating she hoped it would make us better able to serve some of our patients. I, too, hope this would be the case, but not by indulging those who see infertility as an entitlement to already scarce health care dollars. Rather, it should focus our attention on those children already born who desperately need the resources that this couple found "lucky to be able to afford."
Samuel C. Blackman, MD, PhD Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston