CHICAGO - Young cancer patients now have new options when it comes to parenthood.
Before patients undergo potentially sterilizing treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation or surgery, they can choose to preserver their sperm or eggs. However, that practice is not usually covered by insurance.
A new law (HB 2617) signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner amends the Illinois insurance code to require coverage of egg or sperm preservation, a well-established medical practice that gives hope to patients who receive life-saving cancer treatment that they can one day have their own children.
“Thousands of young Illinois adults of child-bearing age are diagnosed with cancer each year,” Rauner said. “With this legislation, we give them a way to overcome the burden of high out-of-pocket expenses for egg or sperm freezing so they can preserve an option to have a family in the future.”
The Oncofertility Consortium at Northwestern University was one of many health care providers who supported the precedent-setting legislation. Illinois is the third, and by far the largest, state in the U.S. to enact a law requiring insurance coverage of fertility preservation. Only Connecticut and Rhode Island have similar laws..
“Fertility preservation options like egg and sperm banking are widely available but so often not considered a covered service as part of a patient’s insurance plan,” program manager for fertility preservation at Northwestern Medicine Fertility and Reproductive Medicine Kristin N. Smith said. “HB 2617 changes that and allows patients to make decisions based on medical need, not their bank account. Young adult patients now have access top-notch care and our state is a leader in reproductive health care in the country.”
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