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Fertility Preservation After a Cancer Diagnosis: the New Quick Guide You Need

Did you know cancer treatment often results in reduced fertility?

Cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or surgery, may affect an individual’s fertility or ability to have biological or genetically-related children. This is called iatrogenic infertility.

Fertility preservation is the process of saving or protecting eggs, sperm, or reproductive tissue so that a person can use them to have children in the future.

Many insurance companies currently deny coverage for any medical care related to infertility, saying it is not a covered benefit. Infertility is defined as “not being able to conceive after at least one year of unprotected sex,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Insurance companies do not distinguish infertility from iatrogenic infertility.

This leaves many people diagnosed with cancer without a way to pay for fertility preservation options.

Infertility Treatment Laws

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, “15 states—Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas and West Virginia—have passed laws that require insurers to either cover or offer coverage for infertility diagnosis and treatment. Of those states, thirteen have laws that require insurance companies to cover infertility treatment and two states—California and Texas—have laws that require insurance companies to offer coverage for infertility treatment.”

But infertility treatment only covers options after someone is infertile. How can someone try to protect their fertility options before going through cancer treatment?

That is where fertility preservation comes in.  Check out our new Quick Guide to Fertility Preservation, which explains the different options and their costs, as well as financial assistance options.

What About Fertility Preservation Laws?

Currently, no federal law requires insurance companies to specifically cover fertility preservation, but some states have passed laws to require coverage, including Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, New York, and Rhode Island.

Curious if your state has a fertility preservation law or proposed legislation? Check out this resource.

Think there should be fertility preservation laws in your state? Get engaged in advocacy.

Samantha Skelton
ss@triagecancer.org