Reproductive Health for All

I like to think most of us are feminists.  That word is a bit loaded, but if we define a feminist as someone who believes in equality of genders and works to promote the health and well being of women, I hope most of us are feminists.  I consider reproductive health a feminist issue.

 

It’s always baffled me that reproductive health is considered separate from overall health.   Several countries and many insurance plans fund all parts of health EXCEPT reproductive health.  For example, in several countries health care is funded fully except contraception , abortion and fertility care. Why did we decide to pull out reproductive health from other parts of health?  A cynic would say it was because reproductive health mostly involves women.

 

There is a positive story here though, as some companies are starting to cover reproductive health, including IVF and egg freezing.

 

Facebook, Starbucks, Johnson & Johnson, Apple, Amazon are some of the large companies covering all parts of reproductive health, including IVF and egg freezing for their employees.

 

Nearly half their work force is female and the majority of them are of reproductive age. Plus many of their consumers are female. Covering IVF and egg freezing makes sense. Coverage for IVF and egg freezing is often heralded as a “perk” but it should not be separated out at a “perk,” like we don’t separate out coverage for hernia surgery or blood pressure medication.  Coverage for reproductive health should be standard.

 

While I think every company should fund reproductive health, and certainly those who benefit directly from the work of women and their money.

 

I’d like to see companies, and governments alike, walk the talk of supporting women and their health - all parts.

 

Dr. Beth Taylor MD, FRCSC
Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility