We were struck by a story we read last month about an unmarried woman who says she was refused treatment at a fertility clinic in Grand Rapids, Michigan, because she’s single. According to WZZM13.com, “Alison Moon of Portage wanted to use donated sperm. But Dr. Douglas Daly declined to provide services because he feared being sued for child support, citing inadequate Michigan law.” A judge initially dismissed the case, the site reported, saying that doctors can choose who and who not to treat. But the lawsuit has now gone to an appeals court.
Fertility clinics aren’t the only businesses who may refuse to help single women have a baby: Last year Slate.com reported on a Maryland woman who was living with her male partner; the couple wanted to have a child and the woman’s health insurance did cover fertility treatment – but not for single women. Slate reported that Arkansas, Hawaii, Rhode Island, and Texas also mandate that insurance companies cover or offer fertility treatment, but only to married couples.
Like all forms of discrimination, this one can be hard to suss out – or it can be blatantly obvious, in the case of the reproductive endocrinologist who simply won’t take unmarried women as patients. These physicians and other providers may feel they’re doing a disservice to any future child, who will have just one parent. For the part of single women, while some want to have a child on their own, many, too, wanted a partner or spouse with whom they could raise a child, but have not found the right person and want to become a mother before it’s too late.
What do you think: Should single women be denied fertility treatment or is that a form of discrimination?