Paying For Fertility Treatment

Rachel Lebowitz, who is 28, seems unflappable about being a new mother even though she just had triplets and her first-born children, only 22-months old, are twins. She became pregnant using fertility drugs.

"My husband and I always wanted a large family. We didn't think we were going to get five kids in two pregnancies," she says.

A growing dilemma is who pays for such pregnancies. Although Lebowitz had insurance, most plans don't cover fertility therapy so couples have to foot the bill alone. It's a process that can cost as much as $10,000 a try, and doctors say many can only afford to take just one gamble, reports CBS News Correspondent Heather Murphy.

"A couple may say, 'I have five eggs developing, I am paying for this out of pocket, I can only do one cycle because of the costs. I will take the chance of having multiple pregnancies,'" says Dr. Robert Stillman, a fertility specialist.

For those who take that chance and suddenly end up with huge families, the hospital bills alone can run in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Fertility doctors say one way to bring down the number of multiple births is to have health plans cover treatments. Then, they argue, couples wouldn't have to face the fear of all or nothing, because they'd have more than one chance to conceive.

Thirteen states have passed laws that require some insurance coverage but so far there is no proof that's made a difference in hospital delivery rooms.

Dr. Merrill Matthews, a health insurance policy analyst, warns that by adding fertility treatments, health plans will cost more for everybody.

"It makes it more expensive and many people simply can't afford that," he said.

But what society can't afford is the runaway success of this technology. What used to be almost impossible is now almost easy. So the question becomes: who gets control over how many babies are be born and pays for them - the parents, the fertility doctors or the insurance companies?