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KPCC AirTalk: IVF Is Expensive. Should Insurers Be Required to Cover Costs in California?

KPCC program AirTalk recently featured Jessica L. Chan, MD, an assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Cedars-Sinai, discussing the emotional and financial toll in vitro fertilization (IVF) can take on hopeful parents. The expensive treatment has received attention lately as California state lawmakers debate a bill that would make health insurers cover IVF and other infertility treatments. 

Infertility is less visible than other diseases, but it affects an estimated 10% to 15% of couples, Chan told AirTalk host Austin Cross. "The diagnosis of infertility can put a lot of stress on the couple's relationship," Chan said. "Most couples and individuals don’t expect to come to a doctor’s office to achieve the family they dream of. When they end up in my office, it takes a considerable toll."

Chan said that her patients also must cope with the stigma surrounding infertility. "A lot of these couples and individuals suffer in silence, which leads to an elevated risk for mental health issues such as depression, anxiety that we see a lot with our patients," Chan told Cross.

The bill currently under consideration by California lawmakers also would expand the definition of infertility and who qualifies for health insurance coverage of fertility treatments, a change that Chan said is important. "Allowing same-sex couples to achieve [the] families that they desire [and] single parents by choice would expand coverage and access to treatment for those people as well," Chan told Cross.

Click here to listen to the complete interview from AirTalk.