Jun 26, 2024 | Press Releases

Nunn Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Improve IVF Access and Affordability

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Zach Nunn (IA-03) today introduced bipartisan legislation to protect access to fertility treatments, including invitro-fertilization (IVF), for millions of Americans. The Helping to Optimize Patients’ Experience (HOPE) with Fertility Services Act, which is co-led by U.S. Representatives Lori Chavez-Deremer (OR-05), Debbie Wasserman Shultz (FL-25), and Susan Wild (PA-07), would require private health insurance plans to cover infertility treatment – helping alleviate this enormous financial burden.

“As a father of six, I’ll never have a more important title than ‘Dad.’  It breaks my heart that some folks struggle to start their families. Infertility used to be the end of the story, but now we have tools, like IVF and other fertility treatments, to help families grow,” said Rep. Nunn.  “The commonsense HOPE with Fertility Services Act will ensure anyone struggling with infertility can start or expand their family.”

Infertility affects millions of Americans in the United States at some point in their life. Nearly 700,000 women in Iowa experience infertility according to RESOLVE, a leading infertility advocacy group. Difficulty conceiving can be caused by a variety of factors such as age, health conditions, and more. Some couples experience unexplained infertility, where tests reveal no obvious causes of infertility.

“Every year, thousands of babies are born in the United States thanks to IVF. Unfortunately, there are many more couples out there struggling with infertility who want to have children but can’t afford the procedure. I’ve been working on legislation to address this issue since last year, gathering feedback from my colleagues to build a strong coalition of bipartisan support. I’m proud to officially introduce the HOPE with Fertility Services Act, which will help more Americans start or grow their families and experience one of the greatest gifts and joys in life,” Rep. Chavez-DeRemer said. “As a proud mother of twin daughters, I’ll keep working across the aisle to improve health care access and affordability for women.”

Modern medicine can help couples start their families through IVF and other fertility treatments. In 2021, 86,146 infants born in the U.S. were conceived through the use of IVF. More than 800 babies in Iowa were born with the help of IVF or similar treatments.

“Infertility is a disease that impacts millions of Americans – and one that crosses all gender, racial, religious, or socioeconomic lines. I personally struggled with infertility and felt the life changing impact of IVF firsthand when it helped me become a mom for the first time, to two beautiful twins,” said Rep. Wasserman Schultz. “I am proud to co-lead the HOPE with Fertility Services Act. This bipartisan legislation to expand access to infertility treatments through private insurance plans will give hope to and remove worry for women who struggle with infertility. As a breast cancer survivor, I know the difficult realities that come with a diagnosis and necessary treatments, and how that impacts the ability to conceive. And for many survivors with genetic mutations, access to IVF is a godsend as it can end the genetic cycle of generational increased cancer risk.”

Despite the fact that fertility is a common challenge for couples across the country, many insurance companies consider treatments that help couples conceive, like IVF, an “elective” procedure and cover very little, if any, of the care. A single IVF cycle can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000. Only 16 states require insurance to cover some portion of infertility treatment, and typically the coverage is not comprehensive.

“I’ve seen firsthand the heartbreak, fear, and anger individuals experience while dealing with infertility, and I firmly believe as legislators we need to be doing everything in our power to ease that burden,” said Rep. Wild. “By treating infertility like any other medical condition, therefore requiring insurance to cover fertility treatments, the HOPE with Fertility Services Act will lower the costs associated with IVF and help more hopeful parents achieve their dreams of having a child. I’m proud to co-lead this bipartisan legislation, and I’m pushing for its swift consideration on the House floor.”

Infertility can cause anxiety and emotional trouble for couples – including depression. Infertility can feel like an extremely lonely journey, especially for women who are reminded daily of their struggles. Adding the burden of paying for treatment just compounds these problems. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, or ERISA, sets the minimum standard for insurance coverage. As of right now, it doesn’t include any minimum standard for infertility care.

The bipartisan HOPE with Fertility Services Act amends ERISA to ensure three causes of infertility are covered by private insurance plans, including: 

  • Infertility due to a diagnosed disease or physical ailment that prevents the bringing of a child to full-term live birth;
  • Unexplained infertility, such as a couple who cannot conceive after trying for at least 12 consecutive months; and 
  • Infertility or anticipated infertility due to a course of treatment for another ailment such as undergoing chemotherapy for cancer. 

“As the largest patient advocacy organization focused on increasing access to family building options, we know that the number one barrier for people who struggle to build their family is lack of comprehensive insurance coverage for medical treatments like IUI and IVF. The HOPE with Fertility Services Act will remedy this barrier by amending ERISA plans, which covers most private insurance in the U.S. We applaud this bi-partisan legislation and urge the House of Representatives to show their support for our community by passing this pro-family legislation,” said Barbara Collura, President/CEO, RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association.

“In an era of political polarization, we are thrilled to see bi-partisan legislation to enhance access to fertility care. We are grateful to Representatives Chavez-DeRemer, Nunn, Wild, and Wasserman Shultz for being able to find common ground on this important topic. We hope their example will inspire their colleagues to move this bill quickly to final passage,” said Elizabeth Ginsburg MD, President-Elect of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

“Americans for IVF fully and enthusiastically supports the HOPE with Fertility Services Act. This pro-family and life-affirming legislation will correct an injustice that has gone on for far too long of insurance companies failing to cover infertility treatment for Americans whose bodies do not allow them to have children at no fault of their own. Infertility is a disease like any other disease and should be covered by insurance just as they cover other diseases. At a time when the birth rate in America is at an alarming decline, we need legislation like this that will bring more babies into the world, now more than ever,” said Dr. Kaylen Silverberg, M.D., Advisory Board Chair.

Text of the bill is available here.