Infertility is defined as the inability of a person to get pregnant for one year of actual intercourse without using contraception. It is a good aspect of the technological world that needed or not; it just keeps on growing and developing with every passing day. Therefore, today we are blessed with some different medical procedures to address the plague of infertility such as assisted reproductive technology, artificial insemination, surgery and several fertility boosting medications. Several medical treatments can be employed by the patients to address their inability to conceive a baby. In vitro fertilization is an intense medical procedure to get pregnant in which the eggs and sperms are combined outside the womb in a scientific laboratory.
However, numerous factors delay and hinder the success of the medical procedures for such patients. These factors can be studied as the developmental issues from the life course perspective. The acceptance of the life course perspective has various implications for both the patients and the social workers. It offers the potential to enhance the integration of teaching and to prepare the social workers for carrying out their responsibilities in the twenty-first century, across both the developed and developing worlds. This case study is a particular example of the contemporary study of human development and aging about well-being and health.
For instance, in Jennifer’s case, her behavioral development about becoming a mother is of utmost importance. This fact cannot be ignored that she always desired to become a mother from her childhood. The life course perspective recognizes the importance of the timing of an individual’s life both regarding social age, mental age, biological age and spiritual age. As Jennifer did not rely on becoming a mother at a very young age and delayed her pregnancy till an age where she is now facing the difficulties of infertility. This situation has caused frustration and anxiety for her. Due to it, she became ready to go through the full procedure of in vitro fertilization.
As it is medically known and can be witnessed from the case study under discussion that infertility itself is a cause of stress in the patient. The procedure of in vitro fertilization boosts the levels of depression and stress in the patients as well due to its complicated process that includes complete menopause in the beginning and artificial hormones in the end. Therefore, it becomes a significant part of the deal for the social workers to address the emotional stress being faced by the patients facing infertility whether or not they are opting for the in vitro fertilization process.
The framework also talks about the inter-dependency of the people on each other. Therefore, it is inevitable for a social worker to interfere and let the patients dealing with the painful process on their own, know of all the possible and hopeful solutions the medical world has to offer them. In this way, the couples will get to know more than they ever knew. Having more options to choose from or to try one by one brings hope to the patients. Building up this hope and nurturing it as the strength of the population is what a social worker can do best in today’s time.
Similarly, economic stability and finances have played a pivotal role in the socio-emotional functioning of Jennifer and Allen. With a success rate of only thirty-five to forty percent, the in vitro fertilization is an expensive process to get pregnant. As it is stated in the chapter under discussion, in the particular case of Jennifer and Allen, it would have cost $16000 per cycle including medications. It does not include the preliminary diagnostic testing. The age of the patient is counted as a success factor for this particular medical procedure as well. For the age of Jennifer, she might need not less than two cycles of the fertilization process, and it means that it would cost $32000 for her to earn the thirty-five to forty percent chance of getting pregnant. If unfortunately, she does not successfully get pregnant in the first two tries, she would have to go for the third. It will sum up the medical bill up to $48000 which is a significant amount of money for any patient.
From her clinical practice, Jennifer has also heard of people spending up to $100,000 on the same medical treatment to bear the blessing of God in the shape of their child. Also, the State in which the couple is currently residing does not provide infertility treatment services covered under the health insurance policy. Therefore, the couple cannot benefit from such governmental health policies. It means that Jennifer and Allen have to at least spend $16000 out of their pocket to give the procedure of in vitro fertilization a try. They would need to borrow this amount of money from a friend or a close relative.
However, the couple decided to give the in vitro fertilization process a try. Before that, as Jennifer is a successful clinical psychologist, she took several corrective steps to support her decision. She tracked her basal body temperature, took various fertility supplements, used an ovulation microscope along with a high-tech electronic fertility monitor and used sperm-boosting supplements and lubricants during intercourse, but nothing worked the spark for her. Therefore, when she heard from a friend that the acupuncture process boosts the efficiency levels of the medical process for fertility, Jennifer took the therapy. It cost her $100 per week, and this cost is also not covered by her health insurance.
The couple then decided to go through the in vitro fertilization process for three times to try their luck to the maximum. However, if they do not get pregnant with their child even after the three tries, they will opt for the last option of adopting one. However, the emotional stress is not going to leave them at any stage of the process. Even going through the IVF process has its emotional and psychological costs. Jennifer has heard from her surroundings that the process physically and emotionally drain the patient. It is a complicated medical procedure, and the high stakes and artificial hormones tend to shatter the patient completely. But the couple does not want to leave any stone unturned during their remarkable journey of hope in getting pregnant and becoming biological parents of their child.
Going through such economic and emotional stress can destroy the relationships. Therefore, it is inevitable for the couples to stay supportive of one another during such a hard time of their lives together. It is also important for them to keep the lines of communication open between them so they can easily share opinions and discuss their problems to find the most suitable solutions by talking to each other. The social workers can be of adamant help at this point as it is also witnessed from the life course perspective. It attempts to understand the continuities along with the turns and twists of an individual’s life. It emphasizes on both the social and temporal aspects of public health. It looks at the behavioral, biological and psychological processes that operate across the life of the patient. It recognizes the influence of the past events on the current life of the individual.
The life course perspective also notices the importance of socio-historical and geographical locations in the human development. In most of the States of the United States of America, 15 to be precise, the government makes it mandatory for the health department to provide fertility services to the patients. However, the state in which Jennifer and Allen are residing does not cover fertility health services. This situation is not much favorable for a couple of them who is facing the plague of infertility and not economically much stable to afford the treatment on their own. Therefore, the federal/state government must make it mandatory all along the United States to provide equal health services to all of the residents.
Facing this situation, many couples tend to move to the states that offer greater medical facilities under the insurance policies. It is not favorable for every couple as shifting to another state and finding work and peace of mind there is not always the jackpot for everyone. Therefore, the federal and state governments must make it confirmed that all States are providing their residents similar and just medical facilities.
Furthermore, the governments must support the medical research systems to find more viable and robust solutions to the problems of infertility both in the men and women. The technology has been developing, and innovations have been taking place for the past few decades, but the speed is questionable. More and more people are facing infertility and its nightmares due to the busy schedules of their working lives. They just keep on delaying the pregnancies for as long as possible, and in the end, the natural system does not prove to be as effective as anticipated. Although humans are capable of making their choices within a system of constraints and opportunities and the life course perspective supports this element as well but researching and finding more technological solutions to the medical problem is a must, and it cannot be achieved without the government’s support because the same framework emphasizes on diversity in life journeys as well.