Health & Wellness / Life

Survey Says? What We Already Sort of Knew

Felanitx Feel free to put this in the things-I-already-knew-but-now-there-is-scientific-proof category: Lesbians typically do not use, at least not until lately, assisted reproductive technologies (ART) to have children.

We noticed.

More than five years ago, when my spouse and I sat in the doctor’s office we felt conspicuous. We never saw another lesbian couple during the entire two years of treatments. And I don’t recall seeing any non-white humans, either. And it wasn’t just my perception.

Heterosexual white women are two times more likely to use medical help to get pregnant than women who are in racial or sexual minorities. These findings were part of a large survey conducted by the University of Virginia. Only 1 percent of women who were identified as a racial minority, lesbians, or bi-sexual women indicated that they would seek the help of ART.

One of the biggest factors related to the low rate at which LGBTQ women sought assistance was the lack of insurance. But the other problem could be the brochures. Whenever we went to an appointment, we were surrounded by Barbie and Ken-like brochures of blond, blue-eyed women with even blonder babies touting the benefits of various (ART) drugs and cord blood banking. Mind you, it could have been the questions about my husband and the outright discrimination that also made us feel unwelcome, but I’m not one to leave a party that I wasn’t invited to in the first place.

Thankfully, at the time, I was working for an LGBT and family-friendly company that had a good insurance plan or we might have given up. But that is the exception, not the rule.

The LGBTQ community is under-served, broadly, by the medical community and health insurance providers. A study by the Center for American Progress that was conducted shortly after the Affordable Health Care Act found that even though health insurance was more broadly available, LGBTQ people were exceptionally disenfranchised.

  • One in three LGBTQ respondents lacked insurance coverage
  • LGBTQ respondents valued insurance but had had negative experiences with providers
  • LGBTQ also lacked awareness and had skepticism about new insurance programs

It’s actually a little bit comforting to know that I’m a statistic, because I feel a little less alone and a little more allied with others who have had bad experiences in doctor’s offices. But we haven’t really provided people with health coverage if the system is too homophobic to take part in it.

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  1. I bet if the survey had asked who the general public thinks uses ARTs, the results would have been drastically different. Thanks for the info.

  2. Vikki Reich says:

    I will admit I was surprised even though my own experience in clinics was the same as yours.

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