The ‘Gay Infertility’ Myth

Infertility and Incompatibility are not the same thing.

By Nancy Flory Published on April 26, 2017

On April 22nd, USA Today published an article titled “The Psychology of Infertility.” The article highlighted three couples who could not have children. The couples chose to have a child through in-vitro fertilization (IVF), adoption and surrogacy. While music played in the background, the couples talked about the trouble they had conceiving. There was only one problem: One couple was made up of two men. “We don’t have a uterus,” they explained.

Got it? It seems that two men can’t conceive a baby! And their problem, we’re told, is one of infertility. Really. Dan and Will Neville-Rehbehn had to spend thousands of dollars to find a breeder, that is, surrogate, to bear them a baby. The men “contributed” the sperm, according to the companion story.

Twenty years ago, their video would have been a skit on Saturday Night Live. Now, it’s a news story on USA Today. And that news story is doing its darnedest to fob off on readers the “gay infertility” myth.

Infertility and Incompatibility are not the same thing.

Not the Same

Infertility and Incompatibility are not the same thing. Most insurance companies get this. That’s why they refuse to perform infertility treatment with same-sex couples. Both men, and both women, in these pairings can be quite fertile. That is, each one could have children with someone of the opposite sex. The fact that no one can conceive a child with a person of the same sex isn’t infertility. It’s a basic fact of biology.

The heartache that compatible (that is, male-female) couples endure is just not the same problem as two men or two women trying to “conceive.” It’s like comparing the fact that someone can’t flap his arms and fly with someone who is paralyzed. To identify the problem of infertility with a universal fact of biology is an insult to couples really struggling with infertility.

Insurance Companies are Right Not To Pay

And at least on the surface, some “gay parent” activists admit as much. Still, they continue to fight against it. One frustrated attorney railed against insurance companies that refuse to pay for infertility treatment for same-sex couples. She wasn’t even happy with those that pay for treatment after lesbians have undergone testing for infertility. “[Lesbian couples] will never be treated ‘equally,’ there will always be an additional financial burden to prove they are infertile,” said Emily Hecht-McGowan, Esq., the chief policy officer at the Family Equality Council. “To expect a lesbian couple to get pregnant on their own — it’s not going to happen.”

Well, she’s right about that.

United Healthcare refused to treat a lesbian couple because it defined infertility as an “inability to achieve pregnancy after 12 months of unprotected heterosexual intercourse.” According to the New York Times, the couple said the “subtext of the United Healthcare policy is that a lesbian could get pregnant by having sex with a man, she just chooses not to.”

Well, yes. If a woman chooses not to have sex with a man, she will not conceive. That doesn’t mean she can’t conceive. It means she has chosen not to do the one thing that would allow her to do so.

Required Infertility Testing is Reasonable

Shannon Price Minter, the head of the legal division at the National Center for Lesbian Rights, complained that it’s unfair that lesbians must be tested for fertility before treatment. “To me,” she complained, “the central injustice is that when a person has a known condition that precludes them from becoming pregnant, such as a woman who has had her ovaries removed, there is no requirement to go through a period of unprotected intercourse before being recognized as requiring fertility treatments. …”

That’s not a riddle. You only undergo testing when you don’t know the medical problem. In her example, the woman already knew she had her ovaries removed. Why would she test to see if they were working?

In contrast, a healthy lesbian may or may not have a medical issue. Therefore, doctors test them. It’s reasonable for an insurance company not to pay for costly infertility treatments when there is no medical problem.

Against God’s Design

Healthy men and women who are in a same-sex relationship do not, by and large, have a medical issue that precludes them from conceiving. There’s no “infertility” problem. They don’t have faulty reproductive organs. They’re just not using them as they’re designed. That is, in the way that can even lead to conception.

Individual gay people may be infertile. But “gay infertility” is a myth. USA Today just hopes you won’t notice.

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