On Monday, August 27, 2018, Illinois enacted a new law requiring health insurance companies to pay for freezing eggs, sperm and embryos for cancer patients!
Thanks to Governor Bruce Rauner, State Representative Robyn Gabel, the bill's initial sponsor, and all those activists, researchers, and supporters who made this possible!
Why the Fertility Preservation Law is Necessary
Researchers estimate that there are about 18 Illinois children and young people who are are diagnosed with cancer every day. Many patients who are diagnosed with cancer at a young age are devastated, and their parents are, too! Once these young people get over the shock of the diagnosis, then they start to hear about the treatments which often include surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation therapy--all of which is overwhelming.
These treatments may be life-saving, but these treatments may also leave them infertile. Fertility preservation for these patients was not covered by most insurance plans--until now!
Fertility Preservation Widely Available, Yet Out of Reach for Many Cancer Patients
There is a “white paper” in the oncology literature that emphasizes fertility and fertility preservation should be discussed with cancer patients prior to treating them with therapies that may render them infertile. Yes, this discussion is “a must” and is considered part of the standard of care.
Yet, the fertility preservation was not paid for by insurance. Insurers often did not cover egg freezing or embryo freezing prior to these potentially sterilizing procedures. Fertility treatments and storage of reproductive cells and tissue can be expensive! It was a frustrating state of affairs, because many patients could not afford to do fertility preservation.
Patients would be cured or in remission and feel better. When they considered starting a family, they would then find out that they were not able to. Some survivors have become depressed with the loss of their reproductive capacity.
Talk to a Fertility Specialist Before Treatment
Now, cancer patients should receive a fertility consultation to discuss fertility preservation PRIOR to surgeries, chemotherapy or radiation treatments that may make them infertile. Starting on January 1, 2019, insurance companies will be required to cover the costs of preservation of eggs, sperm and/or embryos for all of these patients.
However, if you are a young cancer patient with a new diagnosis, you can begin to explore your options now. Contact InVia Fertility Specialists today to make an appointment with one of our board-certified specialists. We are here to help you prepare for your future after cancer!