Grassroots group tries to pass fertility legislation

Fertility Bill.PNG
Posted at 9:07 PM, Apr 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-23 22:07:34-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A group of women banded together to try to pass legislation to require insurance companies to cover infertility treatments.

Tennessee Fertility Advocates formed to try to help couples who were trying to overcome infertility issues. One of the members, Kara Edwards, said she realized there was an issue in Tennessee when she and her husband had trouble conceiving after marrying in 2009.

"Going into our battle, I had no idea insurance didn't cover it," said Edwards. "So, I remember calling our agent one day and saying here's what we need. We've been referred to a specialist and this is what we're going to need to do. We need to know what our deductible is and she said well, we're not going to pay for any of that."

The couple sought treatment on their own money for four years before finally finding success, but the treatments weren't cheap.

"For us, it was running up credit cards, it was taking out a second mortgage on the home that we did have. We didn't have the luxury of just writing a check to it. So, we had to be very thoughtful," said Edwards.

She vowed to her husband that they would make a foundation to raise money for others who were also struggling to pay for treatment to have kids.

Eight years later, she received a call from Tennessee Fertility Advocates to pursue legislation to make it easier for people to receive treatment.

They found legislators to sponsor a bill to require insurance coverage for infertility tests and treatments. It passed through several committees.

"Ninety-seven percent don't need the treatment I needed," said Edwards. "Ninety-seven percent just needed blood clotting medication or blocked fallopian tubes. It's something that's really not that difficult, but since it's coded under fertility, it's not covered. So, only 3% need the treatment that I needed."

Eventually, the bill was rolled for a year. Edwards said they're going to try to work with the governor on the language in the bill.

Many people who pursue fertility treatment transfer multiple eggs to increase their chances of pregnancy, but can also lead to complications.

Edwards said the intent of the bill is to have women transferring only one egg as it is the safest root for a mother using IVF. She said under the bill, it would cost 90 cents per month per member.