By Bill Parry
With time running out on the current legislative session in Albany, state Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria) rallied with fellow elected officials, advocates and families in the state Capitol Wednesday calling on fellow lawmakers to pass her Fair Access to Fertility Treatment Act. Simotas’ bill requires health insurance policies to provide coverage for in-vitro fertilization and fertility preservation treatments.
“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.”
In addition, 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.
“Over many years I’ve personally delivered hundreds of babies,” CNY Fertility Center Founder and Director Dr. Robert 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 treatments for cancer and other diseases that can destroy their fertility. I know firsthand that modern up-to-date treatments make a big difference. People have babies they couldn’t otherwise have. I urge New York legislators to pass legislation to update New York’s decade’s-old law on infertility treatment and require health insurers to offer it.”
The bill also provides a clear 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. 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 damage reproductive health.
“This legislation has the potential to save millions of dollars in long-term health care costs, since patients would no longer be forced to rely on higher risk medical procedures,” Simotas said.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr