Md. Lawmaker Wants Lesbians To Have In Vitro Fertilization Benefits

Penny Starr | March 24, 2015 | 11:43am EDT
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Maryland State Delegate Terri Hill, a Democrat, has introduced a bill that is working its way through the General Assembly that would require state-regulated health insurance plans that cover pregnancy-related benefits to include benefits for in vitro fertilization for lesbians.

In vitro fertilization as seen under the microscope. (AP)

Current law includes language that says the sperm used for in vitro fertilization has to come from the husband of the woman using the treatment to become pregnant, according to a Mar. 18 article published in the Baltimore Sun.

Delegate Terri Hill, the bill’s chief sponsor, said the bill is necessary to make Maryland law consistent after the passage of The Civil Marriage Protection Act in 2012 that legalized same-sex marriage in the state.

"We're concerned that we correct the law to reflect Maryland's state on marriage equality," Hill told The Sun. "It was about making sure all Marylanders are treated in an equitable fashion."

State-regulated health insurance plans that offer pregnancy-related benefits have been required to cover the costs of in vitro fertilization for traditional couples since 2000.

Maryland Delegate Terri Hill (D), who has introduced legislation that would require health plans to provide in vitro fertilization benefits for same-sex couples. (Photo: Terri Hill website)

The new legislation states in synopsis: "Prohibiting insurers, nonprofit health service plans, and health maintenance organizations from excluding benefits for expenses arising from artificial insemination procedures performed on a married policyholder or subscriber or on the dependent spouse of a policy holder or subscriber; requiring benefits to be provided when the patient and the patient's spouse are of the same sex; altering the guidelines and standards to which medical facilities performing specified covered procedures must conform; etc."

In an analysis of the bill, it states that the legislation "modifies conditions on coverage that require certain infertility by requiring coverage if the patient and patient's spouse are of the same sex."

The Sun article featured a lesbian couple, Fiona Jardine, 29, and Jo Arnone, 57, who are using the procedure but are paying the cost because their insurance plans do not cover it. The article does not say which woman will be impregnated.

The Sun also reported that Dr. Michael J. Levy, founder of Shady Grove Fertility Center, testified at a Senate hearing that about 5 percent of the 10,000 patients served by his large regional chain are lesbians.

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