Access to Fertility Services & Socioeconomic Barriers
Lack of access to healthcare is truly one of the biggest injustices of our time.
As an Ob/Gyn resident at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, I had the privilege of serving some of the poorest and sickest female patients in Los Angeles County. As the majority of our patients have gone years under the medical radar, hard lessons were learned about the medical issues arising from lack of access to healthcare; including advanced stage cancer, increased rates of high risk pregnancy and neonatal complications, as well as high rates of undiagnosed fertility problems. Sadly, when it came to treatment of those fertility problems, egg-freezing and in-vitro fertilization were simply not options for these women due to high cost.
In the US, individuals in the African-American, Latino, Muslim, and Asian communities may have religious or cultural stigmas against being labeled “infertile” or needing assistant with fertility, have prior bad experiences or unfamiliarity with the healthcare system, may have language differences that might dissuade them from seeking care or communicating their needs effectively with their healthcare providers. Physicians might also carry unconscious biases against these populations with respect to who deserves to be a parent or who deserves treatment, including single women, single men, same-sex couples. Additionally patients sometimes cannot afford travel to fertility specialists which are already in short supply, or afford to take time off work for the frequent monitoring visits required for egg freezing and in-vitro fertilization.
For those individuals who are childless, not-by-choice, lack of fertility options can have a significant impact on their mental health, socio-cultural status, and quality of life. This is why, at Kindbody, we believe that the ability to build a family is a basic human right, and furthermore, that we as a society have an obligation to acknowledge, understand, and break down barriers to access so as to empower individuals to build the family they desire.
So where do we start?
At Kindbody, we are breaking down economic barriers by offering high quality egg-freezing and IVF about 30% less than the industry average. We do this by leveraging technology to create clinical efficiency, contract directly with employers to cut out the middle man, take most major insurances, and work with fertility financing programs to further lower treatment costs.
We also make it easier than ever to see a specialist. We offer mobile and virtual visits which you can book online. We also have extended office hours, 8-6pm Monday to Friday, and 9am – 3pm Saturdays, at our brick-and-mortar clinic locations, and partner with clinics all over the country to provide care where there is no clinic.
Our online patient portal also makes communication simple and easy. Patients are able to upload records, see results, make and cancel appointments, send messages directly to billing and nursing. Via the portal, patients also get step-by-step guidance on when and how to administer medications, a to-do list of what labs or imaging studies to get next, and a calendar of important upcoming appointments and treatments. Patients are also able to message us 24 hours a day via their online patient portal.
We are also multi-lingual and multi-cultural, and our staff receive cultural competency training to acknowledge and address unconscious bias. We are sensitive to the fertility needs of our patients regardless of marital status, gender identity, or sexual orientation. We see and treat male, female and non-binary patients, and do not need outside labs or referrals for blood draws and semen analyses, as these are done right in our offices.
Regardless of who you are, what language you speak, where your family comes from, who you pray to, who you love, or where you live, at Kindbody, we believe that you have a right to make a family if you want one. Make an appointment with us by phone or online to discuss your options. We are here for you.