I moved to Israel nearly ten years ago and it was a news item.The article is not entirely accurate. My first trip to Israel was after 10th grade and as part of a trip run by Young Judaea not Akiba. I went to college at both Columbia University and The Jewish Theological Seminary. My father’s name is spelled with only one ‘l’ and with an ‘a’ not ‘e’. In any case, it is more or less accurate. It seems that a decade ago I was most concerned with missing the US and my family and friends:
“I’m sad to leave my family,” Appel said. “But my hope is that I will have created a home there, a sense of community and family, and that I will be making a difference in Israeli society.”
Today most of what I had hoped for has come to fruition. My brother and his family now live in Israel, I work in education, I met a charming fellow who became my life partner and I have made some wonderful and deep friendships. As for Israeli society, that is the topic of another blog by someone who is far more gifted and brave than I.
Perhaps the greatest testament to my acculturation to Israeli society is that I have developed a love-hate relationship with this country. It annoys me to no end that Israelis are incapable of waiting patiently for their turn in a line – it is for this reason that I do all my grocery shopping online – or that nothing is ever anyone’s fault. I find myself disappointed by many of the realities in this country when I consider all of its potential (a sentiment often expressed by my teachers in high school about me!) Ten years later, I remain here, because this place is my home and because I hang onto optimism about the future – or at least I try.
Despite my rant, Israel deserves some serious props when it comes to the issue of infertility treatment. This is not to say that it is perfect but I have had a very good experience so far. To begin with the National Health Insurance Law offers its female citizens who are 51 and younger coverage for infertility treatment for two successful pregnancies. This is true regardless of a woman’s marital status, although I am fairly certain that some clinics will only perform IVF on couples who are legally married (but I could be wrong). Tommy and I did have to provide a copy of our marriage license before we could start IVF. There are support organizations for single and even religious women who wish to become mothers without a partner. The laws are also quite progressive when it comes to same sex couples. There is even fertility tourism to Israel.
Female Israeli citizens receive their coverage and treatment through the health insurance provider that they choose but the companies are more or less the same. Everyone knows that these treatments can be quite costly in most parts of the world, which is why it is remarkable that in Israel citizens receive these treatments at reasonable prices. For example, a drug that would cost me $300+ for one injection in the US, comes to 80 Shekel (about $20) with the coverage that I receive. In the US coverage varies according to state and that seems arbitrary to me. I can only imagine how much more difficult this process would be if trying to get pregnant were to become a financial strain.
Beyond the policies and finances of it all, my encounter with the nurses and doctors who deal with infertility has been comforting and encouraging. There is sensitivity to the process and the emotions that it involves, as well as a willingness to go the extra mile for us and our care. Mostly, it is comforting that every conversation ends with the words, “good luck!” I feel that they are helping and supporting us in achieving our goal. Throughout this process a kind and positive attitude has made all the difference.