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Your Fertility and Health Care Reform


by Rachel Lehmann-Haupt, Jan. 12, 2010

Missouri State Rep. Steve Hodges (D) has proposed legislation (H.B. 1305) requiring all insurance companies to provide coverage for infertility. While there are no recent studies on the financial impact of infertility due to a lack of research financing, a 2002 study in The New England Journal of Medicine found that people with mandated health coverage transferred fewer embryos.

The big question now is whether this bill – and a number of others proposed by different states – will push the country towards mandated national coverage in President Obama’s new health plan. So far, infertility coverage has not made it into proposed national health care reform, but any federal law that passes may affect existing state fertility mandates, according to Barbara Collura, the Executive Director of RESOLVE: the National Infertility Association. At a December, 2009 meeting in Washington, D.C. on “The Adequacy of ART Oversight,” hosted by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), Collura saw changes ahead, "Count on every state mandate being looked at," she predicted.

There is also current state legislation that poses threats to advanced reproductive technology. Supporters of this legislation fall into two camps: pro-life advocates who don’t support the creation of extra embryos and those concerned that insurance coverage will drive up costs and taxes.

Until national legislation is passed, Renee Whitely, the co-chair for the National Advocacy Committee for RESOLVE says, “You still have power. You can go directly to your employer to try to convince them, you can email your local state representative, and you can work on getting your congressman and senator to sign on to federal legislation in the senate and the house for the future.”

As the number of women trying to get pregnant in their 30s and 40s increases, so does the need for government help to make fertility and infertility care a vital part of women's health.


Rachel Lehmann-Haupt ( is a journalist and the author of In Her Own Sweet Time: Unexpected Adventures in Finding Love, Commitment and Motherhood (Basic Books, 2009).