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Few states cover fertility treatment for same-sex couples, but that could be changing

Published by Stateline. Read the full article.

More states consider broadening policies, and a new definition of infertility might help.

Elizabeth Bauer was working out at the gym one morning last August when she got a phone call from her fertility nurse. It was a call that Bauer and her wife, Rebecca, had long been waiting for.

Elizabeth dialed in Rebecca so they could listen together: They were pregnant.

The Washington, D.C., couple decided before they got married three years ago that they wanted to have a child. Both wanted to play a biological part in the pregnancy. So, they used a process called reciprocal in vitro fertilization, through which eggs were retrieved from Rebecca and fertilized with donor sperm to create embryos. Then one of the embryos was implanted in Elizabeth’s uterus.

Elizabeth, a 35-year-old elementary school teacher, and Rebecca, a 31-year-old nonprofit consultant, had health insurance, but it wouldn’t cover the roughly $20,000 procedure, so they had to pay out of pocket.

But beginning next year, insurers providing coverage in D.C. will have to pay for IVF for beneficiaries, including same-sex couples, who can’t conceive on their own. Only seven states (Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey and New York) have similar mandates. However, a new definition of “infertility” could prompt other states to follow suit.

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