Infertility, Infertility Advocacy

Hollywood gets it wrong, again!

March 30, 2013

I recently watched an episode of Chicago Fire, where one of the characters wants to become a single mother and is contemplating an insemination.  She says that she can’t afford the $10,000 price tag for insemination.  I almost jumped out of my chair when I heard this.  There’s no way, no how that an IUI would ever cost $10,000.  Another HUGE Hollywood misrepresentation.

This one really bothers me because I can imagine someone sitting around watching this show, knowing that they’re having trouble but not knowing what to do about it.  Then, they hear that an insemination is $10,000 and are shell-shocked with the price.  It might deter them from ever seeking medical intervention because they are ruling it out thinking that a basic treatment would be so expensive.   This frustrates me to no end.

Here’s my letter to the Chicago Fire producers:

To Whom it May Concern:

I just watched the recent episode of Chicago Fire where Shay was contemplating an insemination with Severide.

While I appreciate that you are showing alternate ways to have a family, you have misrepresented the cost.

The character on the show stated that it would be $10,000 for an insemination. This is grossly higher than the actual cost. The actual average cost in the United States is $865. See this page for more details.

There’s no way an insemination would ever cost $10,000. $10,000 would be a more accurate figure for IVF.

My problem with this misrepresentation is that the thousands of Americans suffering from infertility who watched this show will now think that this first-step treatment is unattainable for them due to the cost.

They may not even pursue anything further, thinking that they can’t afford it, so why even bother with the next step.

This just further perpetuates the misinformation out there about fertility treatments.

I highly recommend that you consult with someone that truly understands infertility and assisted reproductive technology the next time you choose to include things of this nature on your show.

Thanks,
Whitney

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  • Jessica

    I watch that show and twas thinking the same thing when they said that the IUI would be 10K! I mean, sure, the donor sperm must cost something, but not that much. Crazy talk. Good for you for writing them a letter!!

  • Marcie

    I have a lot of experience with IUI cycles and its cost. However, I do not know a thing about how much the donor piece would cost given that Shay’s portrayed situation is very different than normal.

  • Jessica Tennant

    Fabulous letter! I am also often frustrated by how infertility is portrayed in the media and how misconceptions are often strengthened, not busted by magazines, TV shows, movies, and books. I never thought to write a letter! 🙂

  • Autumn

    Also, insurance coverage is mandated in the state of Illinois. There are a couple of loopholes, such as moral objections (as an employee of a catholic hospital I can tell you all about that one), and self funded plans, but Illinois has the 3rd best infertility coverage in the country (I don’t know how to cite it, but that information is from Resolve). It’s fairly likely that her insurance would cover IUI.