Hopeful parents in Illinois are still waiting on Governor J.B. Pritzker to sign a bill into law that would expand insurance coverage for infertility treatments beyond women in heterosexual relationships.
House Bill 3709, introduced in February by State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview,) passed the Illinois Senate last month with a vote of 49-6.
Under Sen. Fine’s bill, coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of infertility would be 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.
The bill would also remove provisions in the state law stating that "infertility" means the inability to conceive after one year of unprotected sexual intercourse, or the inability to sustain a successful pregnancy.
Current insurance coverage requirements only protect infertility treatments for women under 35 who are unable to become pregnant after one year of trying, women over 35 who are unable to become pregnant after six months, and women who are not medically able to conceive.
Due to that specific language, many same-sex couples in Illinois have been unable to access insurance coverage for the fertility treatments that would otherwise help them start their family. Without that coverage, the high costs of assisted reproductive technologies can often be a barrier to parenthood.
If it’s signed into law, the bill would essentially allow male couples and singles to be considered “infertile,” for the purposes of accessing fertility-related insurance coverage.
Dr. Juan Alvarez, a reproductive endocrinologist and fertility specialist at the , said the legislation is huge for the state’s LGBTQ+ community.
“We’ve gotten marriage equality, and we all want the same things that everyone wants; a family,” Dr. Alvarez said. “Without insurance coverage, the expense of having a baby can be prohibitive for many LGBTQ people.”
According to Dr. Alvarez, the cost can range anywhere from hundreds of dollars for intrauterine insemination, to more than $100,000 if an egg donor, in vitro fertilization, and a surrogate are needed. He said a single round of in vitro fertilization can cost more than $10,000, not including medication.
Sen. Fine’s bill was one of more than 660 pieces of legislation that were sent to Governor Pritzker’s desk this session for final consideration. Since the 102nd General Assembly convened in May, Gov. Pritzker has signed 17 of those 664 bills into law.
At the moment, it’s unclear when Sen. Fine’s bill could become law, or if the governor might veto part or all of it. However, based on Pritzker’s record, it’s unlikely he will use his veto card; Out of more than 1,500 bills that have come across his desk during his time as governor, he has only vetoed 11.