Effort to expand insurance coverage for infertility


“Infertility is a disease, and we need more ways in which we can combat it as a disease,” said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Florida Democrat and co-sponsor of a “family building” bill that requires insurance companies to cover the cost of infertility treatment. At a Capitol Hill briefing last week advocates from Resolve: The National Infertility Association said that the complex, emotional, and sometimes controversial subject of infertility needs to be fully covered by health insurance.

Infertility affects one in eight couples, but Wasserman Schultz noted that only 15 states require insurers to cover health care services associated with infertility. A Senate companion bill has been introduced by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).

Another goal presented by Resolve’s Executive Director Barbara Collura is to secure $1 million to fund a “national action plan” on infertility that is currently being developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Maurizio Macaluso, chief of CDC’s Women’s Health and Fertility Branch, noted that a CDC white paper on infertility revealed that too little is known about infertility causes.

According to the government, 7.3 million women ages 15 through 44 have “impaired fecundity” which prevents them from conceiving or maintaining a pregnancy full term. About two million married women are included within that group. Infertility is generally defined as failing to conceive after 12 months of sexual activity without using contraception.

Two of the known leading causes of infertility are Chlamydia and gonorrhea which both scar reproductive tissue. Cases of gonorrhea are increasing rapidly and are of great concern. Diabetes and obesity contribute to infertility as well. Additionally the idea that women can wait til they are in their forties to bear children also contributes to poor results. Women have fewer eggs to fertilize and the ones present which are viable are startlingly few. “Time is not your friend,” said Dr. Rafat Abbasi, chair of the gynecology department at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda.

Source: Washington Times, Medical News Today


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