After their health insurance plan rejected their bid to have a child through in vitro fertilization (IVF), husbands Corey Briskin and Nicholas Maggipinto filed a lawsuit against the City of New York, which could set a new legal precedent for gay male couples who want to form their family through surrogacy.
On this episode of GWK the Podcast, host David Dodge talks to hopeful dads Corey and Nicholas and their attorney Peter Romer-Friedman about the husbands' groundbreaking lawsuit, and how it could enshrine the rights of queer male couples who want to be able to afford children through IVF.
According to their lawyer, Corey and Nicholas' lawsuit shows that New York City "categorically excludes gay male employees from receiving in vitro fertilization benefits under the City’s health plan," while affording the same benefits to heterosexual couples, singles, and lesbian couples who can show that repeated unprotected intercourse or IUI attempts didn't work.
"The basic requirement to be able to go through the IVF treatment and get it reimbursed by these health plans... is that you have to show that you're infertile," Peter explains on GWK the Podcast. "In the case of gay men, we know they are technically infertile because together they can never produce an embryo, but New York City doesn't address that, [it] has a gap."
Because of this "gap" in the law, Peter said the husbands' city-based insurance plan denied their attempt to have a potential surrogacy journey covered.
Corey and Nicholas say they're feeling confident they'll win their case against the city, and will be granted the same rights as other gay male couples trying to build a family through IVF. Then, they hope others like them can more easily follow the surrogacy path.
"It just seemed so horribly unfair that the person who works in the next office over from me, who has an opposite-sex spouse and wants to have a child and ultimately realizes they'll need to have IVF coverage, would have no problem getting that coverage... Even a same-sex female couple," Nicholas said. "It just felt so unfair, and continues to, and it's only exacerbated by the fact that the City of New York won't change its policy."
When asked why they chose to go to court over an issue that many gay men and couples have faced surrounding health insurance and IVF, Corey said they knew the buck had to stop somewhere, and with Peter on their team, they decided it had to stop with them.
"When we learned of our attorney and the work he's done in this space previously, it just seemed like we would've been doing a disservice to so many had we decided... that this is a fight that is too much to take on," Corey explained. "It's certainly been hard to receive the negative feedback, but it feels really great when we get support... Even from strangers who can't fathom that in 2022 we can be living in this... 'Bastion of liberalism' here in New York City, but we're being denied this benefit. It's shocking."
Hear Corey and Nicholas tell their own story, with the help of Peter to break down the legal jargon of their case, on this week's episode of Gays With Kids the podcast, available below, on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever podcasts are found.
Thanks to this episode's sponsors; Mosie Baby, find out more about at-home insemination kits at MosieBaby.com and use code GWK10 for 10% off. And Little Spoon; go to LittleSpoon.com and enter code GWK50 for 50% off your first order of organic baby, toddler and kid food.