In this article, we shed some light on the implications surrounding maternity and pregnancy with a disability, as well as provide advice to prepare aspiring and soon-to-be mothers, to explore the different options Assisted Reproductive Technologies offer.
According to the World Health Organization, disability is related to the interaction between individuals with health conditions, affecting personal and environmental factors.
Usually, when we talk about disability we think of wheelchairs. However, it is important to highlight that, disabilities are heterogeneous because they can manifest in diverse forms.
This leads to different impediments such as
About 15% of the world's population, lives with a disability. In the case of the US, 26% of adults have some type of disability. And 1 in 4 women has a disability.
“Almost everyone is likely to experience some form of disability – temporary or permanent – at some point in life.” (OMS, 2021)
In spite of the progress in the matter of equity over past decades, the unawareness of society about the situation of millions of people living with a disability is still prominent, leading to stigmatization and discrimination.
Disabilities have different signs and symptoms, their own limits, and therefore, a wide range of needs. Even though they are all diverse, every person who lives with a disability has the right to access healthcare.
Article 25 of The UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities established that people with disabilities have the right to receive the highest quality of healthcare services without discrimination.
One out of four women live with a disability in the US, and the desire to achieve motherhood can become complex in contrast to the experience of other able-bodied women. Maternity is a reproductive human right and women with disabilities are free to exercise their rights and receive gynecological care without discrimination from the healthcare system.
As we previously mentioned, disabilities can manifest in many forms. Therefore, it is common that the condition wouldn't affect the fertility of the patient. In other words, in most cases, people with disabilities have functional reproductive health.
Nonetheless, people with spinal cord injuries, that have quadriplegia or paraplegia, would not be able to conceive.
In that way, the best solution is assisted reproductive technology by any of these:
Thanks to medical advances and new technology in Assisted Reproduction, it is possible to achieve the dream of motherhood for almost anyone that wishes to have a baby.
We share some recommendations that could be useful for a pregnancy living with a disability:
-Book “The disabled woman's guide to pregnancy and birth” by Judith Rogers
-Testimonials of Ingenes blog
"My experience with Ingenes was very calming all because of the staff, they were welcoming and made you feel at ease with everything."
Ingenes McAllen, TX.