Insurance companies to provide LGBT fertility treatment under new California law

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A new California law requires that insurance companies provide LGBT people with coverage for fertility treatment, including artificial insemination and egg donation costs. The law does not include in-vitro fertilization.

San Francisco assemblyman Tom Ammiano introduced the bill, AB 460, in February, and called denying fertility treatment to gay couples a violation of California’s non-discrimination laws. Previously, insurance company policies required regular, heterosexual intercourse with a married partner of the opposite sex for the duration of at least one year without conceiving a child.

Ammiano, whose partner died of AIDS in 1994, believes that medicine, including reproductive medicine, should benefit all those who desire it. Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 460 into law earlier this month, on October 8.

The text of the law states: “Coverage for treatment of infertility shall be offered provided without discrimination on the basis of age, ancestry, color, disability, domestic partner status, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation.”

Religious insurance companies are exempt, so as not to violate their religious or ethical principles.

According to Ammiano’s spokesperson, the bill requires any plan that covers egg donation costs for a heterosexual couple that could not conceive a child without a donation to be extended to gay couples.

Conservative radio talk show host Ben Shapiro announced he sees no point in the law, saying, “The way the law works, gay and lesbian couples would simply have to testify that they have been having sex for a year without producing a child to be considered ‘infertile,’ which is 100 percent of the time, since baby-making requires necessary components missing in homosexual activity.”

While homosexual couples cannot have children with each other biologically (except in the cases of some transgender or genderqueer people), the new law can assist those who opt for alternative methods of conception.

Cathy Sakimura, director of the Family Protection Project at the National Center for Lesbian Rights, is excited to see the new bill take effect. In a press release from eqca.org, she said, “We applaud the Governor and the Legislature for recognizing that same-sex couples, transgender people, and single women should have equal access to fertility services.”

The law will take effect in January 2014.

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