Lesbian couples sue over sexual orientation discrimination in New Jersey fertility treatment coverage
New Jersey is one of 15 states in the United States that requires most major insurance companies to cover fertility treatment patients deemed medically infertile. But the mandate includes language that excludes non-heterosexual patients from receiving coverage.
“I’m not sure if there was a lot of thought given to the implications of what this would cause and how many New Jerseyans it would exclude,” medical director of the Reproductive Science Center of New Jersey Dr. William Ziegler told The New York Times. “It’s a double standard. It discriminates against same-sex couples because they don’t have the biological equipment to have a baby the way a heterosexual couple does.”
The New Jersey mandate states that in order to receive fertility treatment coverage, women under 35 must be able to medically prove their infertility by failure to carry a pregnancy to live birth or failure to conceive after “two years of unprotected sexual intercourse.”
This specific language does not take into account the rights of couples in non-heterosexual relationships and the treatments they must pursue in order to conceive.
Lesbian couples such as Erin and Marianne Krupa are seeking legal action to change the wording in the mandate to include “determination of infertility by a physician.” This language would make coverage included in the insurance mandate more inclusive for non-heterosexual patients.
Dr. Zeigler also commented that the issue of insurance coverage generally has long weighed on the fertility specialty. The consideration of insurance coverage for fertility treatments regardless of sexual orientation now adds an extra layer to the issue.