( CNN) In an interview with “Good Morning America”‘s Robin Roberts for her new memoir “Becoming, ” Michelle Obama revealed that her two daughters, Malia and Sasha, were conceived utilizing in-vitro fertilization( IVF ). Malia, Obama's eldest daughter, was born in 1998, 20 years after the birth of the first IVF baby, Louise Brown, in a hospital in Oldham, England. In 1998, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, slightly over 80,000assisted reproductive technology procedures( ARTs) were performed in the United States. Two decades later, that figure has more than tripled. Virtually 2% of live births in the US are the result of IVF and other ARTs( including intrauterine transfer and intracytoplasmic sperm injection, or ICSI, in which the sperm is injected directly into the egg to consequence fertilization ). Over eight million childrenhave been born via IVF worldwide. A recent survey by the Pew Research Center foundthat 9% of women aged 35 to 44 reported that they or their partner had undergone fertility treatment.
Obama's disclosure that their children were the product of IVF is a welcome addition to this public conversation about infertility, one which will hopefully inspire some women and men to reconsider whether it could be a solution for them. It is inevitable that Obama's star power will help demystify this medical process. But what greater public acquaintance with IVF won't do is help the many women and couples struggling with infertility for whom the principal obstacle to parenthood is fiscal , not psychological. For too many, the price of IVF places the procedure out of reach. The spiraling costs associated with the “infertility industry” mean that the benefits of new assisted reproductive technologies( ARTs) are not equally available to all.
Professional females like Michelle Obama remain most likely to pursue IVF , not just because they have put their careers before childbirth and left it too late to have newborn the natural way, as the common cultural myth goes, but because they can afford to.( According to the CDC's most recent report
, less than one-third of ART treatments result from a diagnosis of decreased ovarian reserve, which tends to correlate with advanced maternal age, lower than the number of treatments performed as a result of male-factor infertility .)
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