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New definition of infertility broadens to include LGBTQ+ community

The American Society of Reproductive Medicine recently broadened their definition of infertility to be inclusive of single and LGBTQ+ people.
New definition of infertility broadens to include LGBTQ+ community
Posted at 6:09 PM, Oct 31, 2023

A change in one definition could make a life-changing moment possible for a hopeful parent. In the Byers-Brennan home, it's loud, loving and busy.

Moms Emma Byers and Cam Brennan have two toddlers and a 5-month-old. Their family is still new and young, but the journey to get here has been hard and exhausting. 

The couple paid nearly $20,000 out of pocket for intrauterine insemination. After nine rounds, Byers gave birth to twins. 

For their third, Brennan still wanted to conceive.

"Our doctor told Cam, like, the likelihood of you conceiving this way is low. You'll need to move to IVF if you want to carry," said Byers.

"We weren't in a financial position to do that because it's close to $30,000 for one shot," said Brennan. 

In January 2023, a new law took effect in Colorado requiring large group commercial insurance plans to offer coverage for medically necessary fertility preservation treatments. 

It also inclusively defined infertility, to include the LGBTQ+ community and single individuals.

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Medical specificity is expensive too. IVF can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Egg, sperm, and tissue preservation can cost $5,000-$10,000.

Denver fertility specialist Dr. Cassandra Roeca says she's seen 50% more patients this year.

"Last year, this time, we're seeing about 30% infertility coverage. Now I'm seeing about 70% infertility coverage, a huge shift. It's truly life changing," said Roeca. 

Colorado could be a case study in what's to come. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine recently broadened their definition of infertility to be inclusive of single and LGBTQ+ people.

"Anybody who needs medical intervention in order to build their families ought to be able to get access to the care that they need," said Sean Tipton, the chief advocacy and policy officer at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

Advocates say it puts more pressure on large employers too, who often self-insure. 

"About 21 states plus D.C. have some sort of fertility insurance law. I would say only about eight of those are inclusive," said Betsy Campbell, the chief engagement officer at the Resolve: National Infertility Association.

As for the moms in Denver, their family is complete. Cam Brennan gave birth to their daughter in May.

"We are so lucky to be able to look at our family and know that it's complete, and we want that for whoever desires it," said Brennan.


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