Is IVF an essential medical procedure during a pandemic?

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Credit: NBC

The pandemic confronts patients and health-care providers with new ethical dilemmas. Is it too risky to pursue a fertility procedure when there’s a deadly virus going around? And might it divert medical resources from urgent covid-19 care? In a fast-growing and increasingly lucrative industry, those questions are now creating a schism that could last long after the crisis is over.

The [Fertility Providers Alliance, a group created to lobby against fertility suspension] quickly established its own covid-19 task force. In a letter that was leaked to a fertility activist and posted on LinkedIn, the task force’s members said they “refuse to acknowledge these treatments as ‘elective’ or ‘non-urgent’ for our patients.”

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And in the formation of the FPA, some see an attempt to introduce a new party to the conversation: investors, namely the private equity firms whose business model typically aims for returns within a set time frame.

If the influx of private equity money changed the conversation around fertility by increasing the emphasis on profitability, the pandemic is forcing us to reckon with age-old questions in a new way. To treat or not to treat? What is urgent? What is essential? And who, in the end, decides?

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