The Governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner signed a new bill into law on August 27, 2018 that is being hailed as a victory for reproductive rights. The measure is expected to benefit individuals and couples in their reproductive years who want to protect their future ability to have children after cancer treatments or treatments for certain other diseases. Illinois’ new law, which is the fifth such “oncofertility” law in the country, will ensure people facing chemotherapy and other medically-necessary treatments that could leave them infertile will have insurance coverage to assist with the expenses of fertility preservation measures including freezing their eggs, sperm and embryos.
By requiring insurers to cover these fertility treatments for patients facing cancer and certain other serious illnesses, Illinois is helping its residents add to or complete their families with additional biological children in the future, even if their medical care leaves them infertile. Of course, Illinois residents already had access to freezing their eggs, sperm, or embryos before the law. However, the expense of such treatments often made these types of fertility treatments unattainable. That was especially true for families already facing the additional expenses and financial uncertainty that can come with a diagnosis of cancer or another serious illness and treatment program. The new law could potentially benefit thousands of families; according to the Illinois Department of Health, an estimated 5,800 Illinois residents in their reproductive years are diagnosed with cancer every year.
The bill was opposed by insurance industry groups who raised concerns about having to spread the cost of oncofertility treatments among all consumers, however at least one major insurer – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois – supported the legislation. Several other states have introduced similar bills. This type of legislation ultimately represents a win for fertility rights organizations, individuals, and families.
If you are interested in growing your family via surrogacy, egg or sperm donation, please contact us today. Our firm provides comprehensive legal and counseling services for those using assisted reproduction with a third party. The Surrogacy, Egg Donation, Sperm Donation and Embryo Donation contracts that we prepare for our clients are comprehensive and thorough. We help guide parents through the finalization of their parental rights, which can seem daunting and confusing.