Discrimination

Lesbian couple sue New Jersey over mandate that women must “prove” infertility

An embryologist works with a glass pipette and culture dish for IVF procedures in a hospital fertility lab. (Chris So/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

A lesbian couple is suing the commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance over a state insurance mandate that says women must demonstrate infertility by going through “two years of unprotected sexual intercourse” — a requirement that the women say unfairly discriminates against their sexual orientation.

Erin and Marianne Krupa moved to Montclair, N.J. five years ago to start a family. After meeting with a fertility doctor in 2013, however, Erin learned that she was infertile due to Stage 3 endometriosis. But when Erin tried to receive fertility treatment, she was denied by her provider, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, because she hadn’t “proven” her infertility.

The Krupas, along with two other women, allege that the insurance mandate violates a state requirement that most major insurance companies cover fertility treatments for infertile clients. The plaintiffs are also seeking damages for the cost of treatments they were forced to pay out of pocket, including artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization procedures.

Erin went through three cycles of artificial insemination — each unsuccessful. After undergoing in vitro fertilization, a procedure more expensive, and invasive, than artificial insemination, Erin managed to become pregnant. The pregnancy, however, was ectopic and had to be terminated through doses of chemotherapy. After a complication, Erin was landed in the hospital.

Following the turn of events, Erin’s doctor contacted Horizon once more and this time the insurance provider offered the Krupas four cycles of in vitro fertilization. After three failed attempts with Erin, her wife, Marianne, used the last of the insurance money to become pregnant — tragically, Marianne would miscarry twice. All together, the Krupas said they have paid about $50,000 in treatments since they began trying to start a family.

The New Jersey government has proposed two bills to change the definition of infertility so that it would include a determination of infertility by a physician. Thus far, neither bill has managed to move beyond the committee stage.

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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