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Misinformation by Public Figures is Holding the Infertility Movement Back

RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association is concerned that opinions shared by Paris Hilton, a public figure, about her IVF experience will negatively influence our ability to change public policies that help people access medically necessary treatments such as IVF. When people with a large public platform like Ms. Hilton share their opinion, it can be interpreted as accurate public health information, when in fact it is not. Misinformation, whatever the source, can negatively influence the way lawmakers, HR benefits managers, and insurance companies view infertility treatments.

According to Ms. Hilton says “I think it’s something most women should do just to have and then you can pick if you want boys or girls,” Hilton said. “The only way to 100% have that is by doing it that way.”

Here’s why this simple statement is inaccurate.

  1. “Most women” cannot simply walk into a doctor’s office and do IVF. Financial barriers are one of the main reasons women/couples can not pursue medically necessary fertility treatments. And women of color are twice as likely not to pursue treatments because of cost.
  2. You cannot guarantee twins and there is a host of ethical concerns regarding choosing the sex of the baby. There are cases where selecting the gender of the embryo is desired to avoid passing along genes of fatal or a life altering illness. A twin birth has a higher likelihood of medical complications for the mother and potential long-term adverse health outcomes for the resulting babies. If insurance companies think that IVF is being used to “design” families, we will not achieve increasing access through insurance coverage for the people who need it.
  3. Every day RESOLVE and our advocates fight against the stigmas associated with infertility. It’s an often misunderstood disease. Women/couples who pursue medically necessary treatments are called selfish, told to “just adopt”, and given other misguided advice. And the LGBTQ+ community, who also need access to build a family are fighting these stigmas and more. Ms. Hilton’s ability to walk into a fertility clinic, easily accessing IVF treatments and sharing how she’s purposely building the family she wants is nowhere near the reality of millions who need IVF to build their family.

As the largest and oldest non-profit fighting for everyone who struggles to build their family, we call on Ms. Hilton to help us share accurate health information; showcase stories of people who struggle to access medically necessary treatments; and remind lawmakers and insurance companies that millions of people struggle to build a family because of lack of access to insurance coverage.

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