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Throwback Thursday- Gay Infertility - Discrimination and Insurance Coverage for the LGBTQ+ Community Blog Feature
Lisa Rosenthal

By: Lisa Rosenthal on April 9th, 2013

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Throwback Thursday- Gay Infertility - Discrimination and Insurance Coverage for the LGBTQ+ Community

LGBT Family Building | fertility insurance | Infertility Coverage

Throwback Thursday- LGBTQ+ Insurance Discrimination

Gay Infertility   Infertility Insurance Coverage IssuesThere was a demeaning news story on gay infertility and gay fertility and why no LGBTQ+ person should be allowed to have children, much less insurance coverage for medical treatment necessary to have a biological child. Originally published in April of 2013, I remember the heat of my outrage to this day- it wasn't a little story, it was major news. On the heels of the New York State bill, in April 2019, to remove discrimination language with their new insurance bill (now including IVF), it's a relief to see a change for the better.  

Gay Infertility

Here's what was written 6 years ago.

Gay infertility?

I refuse to give it any legitimacy other than to discuss how it is even an issue or how the term came about.


I will say that it's about a bill that was filed in the California legislature (AB 460) by assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco). 


“Coverage for the treatment of infertility shall be offered and provided without discrimination on the basis of age, ancestry, color, disability, domestic partner status, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation.”


That's the amendment to a law that all ready exists that Assemblyman Ammiano feels is discriminatory.


It begs an interesting question. 

What Is Infertility? Considering Definitions

What is infertility? The usual accepted definition of infertility is the inability to become pregnant after one year of correctly timed sexual intercourse.


OK. But that definition does apply only to cis gender straight couples. Because we do understand that LGBTQ+ people, having unprotected sex, still cannot become pregnant as it takes a sperm and an egg to conceive a child. Is a gay couple automatically considered infertile? Do they have to wait a year to have infertility treatment, according to their insurance coverage? Do they ever get to have insurance coverage? And then the question is, should they be able to have infertility insurance coverage? 


LGBTQ+, Biological Children, Parenthood and Fertility Treatment


It's a slippery slope. Very, very slippery. While you may agree that a queer couple should have the right to have children, do you also agree that you should have to help pay for it, in terms of insurance premiums? 


I would agree with that. I would be happy to pay extra for that type of infertility coverage. That seems sane and reasonable to me. But that's just me. I don't know how you feel and it's unusual in this blog for me to come right out and say what side of the issue that I'm on.


Today's blog is a bit of a departure that way. 


It's unfortunate, perhaps, that all of these extremely sensitive decisions can't be left to the people involved who are trying to create a loving family. It seems as soon as money is involved, especially money being used to help create LGBTQ+ families, that  everyone feels entitled to a much bigger say in what should happen. And if you, as a tax payer, are paying more taxes, aren't you entitled to a bigger say?


Very slippery slope. Especially when you consider all the things one's taxes are used for that no one has asked our opinion about, much less gotten our permission. 


This is not an easy question or set of questions. There is biology and the strictest definition of infertility. Gay infertility? Is that a redundant question? Is one automatically infertile because they're gay? 


I don't know. 


Infertility Insurance: The Nuances of Coverage for the LGBTQ+ Person


I don't know if who qualifies for infertility insurance coverage automatically becomes my business because my premiums will be higher to help pay for "gay infertility". I don't get to choose whether a woman carrying a downs syndrome affected baby has to terminate the pregnancy because that child will have more medical costs. That is certainly not up to me. No question for me, at all. And that is only one example of an identifiable syndrome that can be identified that is costly from the moment of birth. 


Nor is my opinion asked about any other disease groups. I don't get asked whether I want higher insurance premiums because of cancer or any other malady that I don't happen to have or feel that I should or shouldn't support. That's not how medical insurance works.


And being gay is not a disease. I'm very clear about that. It does create a biological challenge to having a child.


And therein lies the problem. Should insurance companies cover gay men and lesbian women, as well as transgender people? And should we, the public, have a say over that, anymore than we do about any other medical issue that is currently covered?


I'm completely out of the closet when it comes to this one. I say yes, medical insurance should cover LGBTQ+ people who are trying to conceive. I'm standing up and speaking out on this issue because I believe that creating a family should be a right available to all people.


What do you think?



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About Lisa Rosenthal

Lisa has over thirty years of experience in the fertility field. After her personal infertility journey, she felt dissatisfied with the lack of comprehensive services available to support her. She was determined to help others undergoing fertility treatment. Lisa has been with RMACT for eleven years and serves as Patient Advocate and the Strategic Content Lead.

Lisa is the teacher and founder of Fertile Yoga, a program designed to support men and women on their quest for their families through gentle movement and meditation.

Lisa’s true passion is supporting patients getting into treatment, being able to stay in treatment and staying whole and complete throughout the process. Lisa is also a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, which is helpful in her work with fertility patients.

Her experience also includes working with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and The American Fertility Association (now Path2Parenthood), where she was Educational Coordinator, Conference Director and Assistant Executive Director.