Someone extremely powerful must have read my recent article, Why Being a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist Inspired Me to Freeze My Eggs…And to Tell You All About It (link to article), because I have an exciting update about fertility treatment. I know, I know…I’m not that vain…I definitely know this law’s not about me. My blog alone can’t take credit for the Department of Financial Services of New York State’s decision, but a girl can dream.
I am happy that many important conversations ensued, both publicly on Facebook and privately, and I am grateful to the many women who shared their personal experiences. The more we discuss and share, the more we can support each other and normalize this process. I am thrilled to report that our voices are being heard and incredible changes are underway.
As of January 1, 2020, the New York State’s budget mandates that large group insurance plans (a group consisting of more than 100 employees) cover up to three cycles of in vitro fertilization for patients with a medical diagnosis of infertility. The definition of “infertility”, according to the Department of Financial Services is “a disease or condition characterized by the incapacity to impregnate another person or to conceive, due to the failure to establish a clinical pregnancy after 12 months of regular, unprotected sexual intercourse or therapeutic donor insemination, or after six months of regular unprotected sexual intercourse or therapeutic donor insemination for a female 35 years of age or older. Earlier evaluation and treatment may be warranted based on an individual’s medical history or physical findings.” The new phrase included this year is “therapeutic donor insemination,” which finally provides coverage to same-sex female couples and to single women, two demographics that were excluded in years past.
The new law also mandates coverage for “medically necessary” egg or sperm freezing procedures. These fertility preservation procedures are deemed “medically necessary” for patients at risk of iatrogenic infertility, or infertility resulting from an unrelated medical procedure (ex. chemotherapy, radiation, endometriosis surgery, or sexual reassignment surgery). The fertility preservation coverage under these circumstances applies to even small group and individual plans.
Insurance companies can require prior authorization, so if you are considering exploring this option, please contact your insurance company to inquire into their specific requirements.
True, certain groups won’t be covered under these laws (ex. women who elect to freeze their eggs without medical necessity and IVF treatment for individuals who do not have a large group employer). So yes, we still have more work to do. But overall, this is massive progress. The new, more inclusive laws are a giant leap for womankind. I look forward to the opportunity to share more positive updates on women’s sexual health and reproductive rights as they develop, hopefully sooner rather than later.