LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) – House Bill 537 brings hope to families struggling with infertility. It was originally drafted to make coverage for fertility treatments like IVF and egg or sperm storage mandatory before medical treatments. But, the bill was drastically changed on the house floor on Tuesday, May 24.
“It would have a huge impact not just on me, but on anyone struggling with infertility,” Dede McKinley said.
After six years of trying to start a family, Dede and Kyle McKinley are now turning to IVF.
They hoped House Bill 537 would provide some relief from the high cost of treatment. But everything changed on Tuesday.
“The bill is about to change drastically with these amendments. What the amendment will do now is remove the IVF part of the bill. It will no longer include IVF,” said Rep. Paula Davis.
The bill now mandates coverage only for fertility preservation for those undergoing medically necessary treatments that may affect their infertility. For example, cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
“Patients who are diagnosed with cancer and are about to undergo chemotherapy that will make them infertile, this covers the ability for them to freeze eggs or sperm,” said Dr John Stroment.
An earlier version of the bill provided coverage for a round of IVF for people like McKinley, who are struggling to conceive.
“In 2021, because there is no insurance coverage right now in Louisiana, we spent just over $8,000 on infertility treatments,” McKinley said.
Not only is the process costly, but it also harms their mental and physical health.
“So not only do they have the stress of not being able to conceive, and so they try for a year or two or five, and they’re not able to conceive, but now they have to save thousands of dollars or go into debt. , just for the chance to get pregnant,” Dr. Stroment said.
Now the McKinleys are no longer included in the bill and must bear the cost burden.
“A common illness is covered but not infertility. I think it’s just crazy. Because I can’t control that my body doesn’t respond and react the way it should,” McKinley said.
A representative from Louisiana Right to Pro-Life told 7News that the amendment to remove mandatory IVF coverage changed their position on the legislation.
“This week, Rep. Paula Davis amended House Bill 537 to remove provisions mandating insurance coverage and taxpayer coverage of in vitro fertilization (IVF). Louisiana Right to Life is neutral on the legislation,” a representative for the group said.
Another opponent of the bill is the Catholic Church. We contacted the Diocese of Lake Charles to find out their position on the bill with amendments.
“The Catholic Church cares deeply about couples struggling with infertility,” a representative said. “To protect the sanctity of human life and the methods from which life is created, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that ‘techniques which bring about the dissociation of husband and wife, through the intrusion of someone other than the couple, are gravely immoral (CCC 2376). Working through the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Diocese of Lake Charles is monitoring the progress of HB 537. The Diocese continues to offer support and prayers to married couples experiencing infertility as we work to promote treatments that are fully in accord with God’s plan. for human love.
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