As women age, their chances of having a baby without medical help decreases. Until this year, insurance companies did not have to pay for fertility treatment for woman over the age of 40. A group of lawyers argued that it was discrimination and the state agreed with them.
“It's every single day in your pregnancy is a journey,” 40-year-old Tara Constanzo said. “I just can't imagine what it's going to be like when she's here.”
Constanzo said she is excited to experience the joys of motherhood for the first time.
“We're hopeful. We feel so blessed that we have one,” Constanzo said. “If we're able to have more, great. We're just very grateful and happy for the future as well.”
Constanzo said she was able to get pregnant using In vitro fertilization while she was still 39 years old and was even luckier that it took on the first try.
Her insurance covers two rounds of IVF. But, if it hadn't worked on try #1, she would have been forced to pay for fertility treatments out of pocket until this year.
“We've had a requirement for years that insurance companies cover fertility treatments for women, but there was a cap in the legislation that said you can't get it over age 40,” Constanzo said. “But a group of lawyers came out and argued that this was age discrimination. The fact is people's fertility changes, everybody is different, and really it should be up to the doctor whether or not IVF or other fertility treatments are appropriate. Really not up to the legislature to make that determination.”
The state insurance department decided the cap was actually age discrimination and for new or renewed policies after Jan. 1, 2016, the cap is gone.
That's not the only hand state lawmakers want to have in fertility legislation.
State Rep. Matthew Lessor wants insurance companies to step up even more. He's been proposing legislation for years that would require them to cover fertility preservation for cancer patients.
It's a cause that hits close to home.
“Four years ago, I was diagnosed with cancer,” Lessor said. “Actually got the call when I was on the floor of the house that they had determined that I had cancer
Lessor had his sperm frozen, but for a woman to freeze her eggs, it could cost $10,000 or more.
“There are two things that can happen,” Lessor said. “One that's a large financial burden on a young woman, but if they don't have the money they can either delay the treatment, or choose a different treatment that's not right for them that's actually dangerous.”
The bill has yet to pass, but Lessor said he has a lot of support from fertility advocates in the state. He's now cancer free and getting married this year.
For Constanzo, she's already planning to add to her family and now with the over 40 mandate lifted, her insurance company will cover another round of IVF and her friends over 40 will get the same chance.
“As we age, we just a little extra nudge and that's why it so powerful that they lifted this mandate,” Constanzo said. “I have so many friends that got married later in life that will now have the opportunity to try out and get a chance to have a family like my husband and I.”
For more on "infertility awareness week,” click here.
Copyright 2016 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved