June 15, By Jason Cohen
Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas is calling on her fellow legislators to pass a state law that would require in-vitro fertilization to be covered by all health insurance policies.
The Fair Access to Fertility Treatment Act was introduced by Simotas in the Assembly and Senator Diane Savino in the state senate in January.
The measure was recently voted out of the Assembly Ways and Means committee and is now awaiting a vote by the full Assembly. The bill is still in committee in the state senate.
The law would also mandate coverage for fertility preservation services for cancer patients and others whose necessary medical treatments, such as surgery, radiation and chemotherapy could damage reproductive health.
Additionally, the bill repeals discriminatory restrictions for coverage that are based on age, disability, medical dependency or personal characteristics such as marital status or sexual orientation.
“When people struggle with infertility they are dealing with a heart-breaking medical condition,” Simotas said. “So it is unconscionable that in-vitro fertilization, which is the gold standard of treatment, is so expensive that it’s out-of-reach for couples wanting to have children. 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.”
According to the Center for Infertility Justice, it is estimated that one in eight individuals or couples have trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a full-term pregnancy. Yet nearly half of individuals affected by infertility lack insurance coverage for the necessary treatment. Compared to other treatments covered under New York law, in-vitro fertilization results in fewer pregnancy complications and high-risk births.
The bill also provides a definition of infertility as a disease characterized by the incapacity to impregnate or the incapacity to conceive, as diagnosed by a physician or the failure to establish a clinical pregnancy after 12 months of regular, unprotected sexual intercourse.
Dr. Robert Kiltz, founder and director of CNY Fertility Center, claims that this bill would help many couples and urges officials to pass it. The center has been open for 20 years, with locations in Albany, Rochester, Syracuse and Buffalo and has delivered more than 10,000 babies.
“Over many years I’ve personally delivered hundreds of babies,” Kiltz said. “Two things I know, one the immense joy and happiness a new mom or dad has when there has been infertility and now they have their new baby. Second, over these years there has been a huge improvement in the science of helping bring a new baby into the world for people who have the disease of infertility or have to have treatments for cancer and other diseases that can destroy their fertility.”