A bill has been introduced into the US Senate and House of Representatives, which, if passed, would significantly widen access to fertility treatment.
Under the Access to Infertility Treatment and Care Act, private insurers and government-run healthcare plans for federal and military employees and would be required to cover infertility treatment without raising premiums. Fertility preservation for medical reasons would also be guaranteed.
'Infertility is a common medical condition, but few health insurance plans cover its treatment,' said Senator Corey Booker, who along with Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro introduced the bill. 'This bill will change that, and help alleviate the financial burden that so often accompanies the pain of infertility.'
Many health plans do not currently cover fertility treatment. A recent study found that almost half of employers with over 500 employees did not provide insurance covering infertility services, nor did 25 percent of companies with 20,000 or more employees.
The bill had received support from RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, American Society for Reproductive Medicine, Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys, American Urological Association, and the Alliance for Fertility Preservation.
A similar but more comprehensive bill is also making its way through the New York state legislature. The Fair Access to Fertility Treatment Act has been approved by the Assembly on 15 May but still needs to be passed by the State Senate before becoming law.
If passed, the act would guarantee coverage for IVF for couples who cannot conceive after 12 months, or where one partner is diagnosed as clinically unable to impregnate or conceive.
It will also remove restrictions on who can access IVF, based on age, disability or family composition.
'It's time to give people the benefit of the best treatments available when they want to have a family, without discriminating on the basis of marital status, sexual orientation or other personal characteristics,' said state assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, who is sponsoring the bill.
The act would also ensure that insurance covers fertility preservation services for cancer patients, or those undergoing other fertility-threatening treatments.