The Coalition to Help Families Struggling with Infertility represents a broad range of groups and individuals from across New York with the collective goal of passing the Fair Access to Fertility Treatment Act, so all health insurance in the state covers the latest and most effective fertility treatments like in vitro fertilization (IVF) and fertility preservation. These common sense reforms would help thousands of New Yorkers have the baby of their dreams, since the out-of-pocket costs associated with fertility treatments make it impossible for many people to access them.
#FAFTA would help the one in eight couples in New York who are of childbearing age and can’t have a baby because they cannot get pregnant or sustain a pregnancy. More than 12% of all New Yorkers that are of childbearing age suffer from the devastating disease of infertility.
Infertility is a disease of the reproductive system that affects men and women equally and is recognized as such by the medical community, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). In the years since New York passed requirements for insurers to cover basic fertility treatments, more effective medical treatments have been developed. As a result of these new, advanced treatments, a much larger number of families have the possibility of experiencing the joy of parenthood.
These same advances have sharply reduced the number of pregnancies resulting in multiple births (twins, triplets or more). Reducing multiple births results in healthier babies and significantly lower costs. Indeed, according to one study, the national savings from fewer multiple births would be over $6 billion a year, making it likely that New York state could potentially save tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars a year by requiring IVF coverage.
Affected people and families know that successful fertility treatments can change a lifetime of major heartache into a lifetime of joy. As legislators, our representatives can help make this dream a reality.
The problem for middle class and lower income families is that while these fertility treatments work extraordinarily well, they are often not covered by insurance, and the out-of-pocket costs for medical treatment makes them unaffordable for many. Here in New York state, insurance coverage has been on the books for years, but it is coverage that addresses old treatment – last century approaches from decades ago – and has not kept up with the times.
New York’s neighboring states of Connecticut and New Jersey, and other states ranging from Illinois to Hawaii, already provide insurance coverage for IVF. Studies have shown that this coverage has impacted insurance costs by a few dollars per member per month, or less.
It is time for New York to join its neighbors and provide access to fertility treatment for all.