Lesbians Sue NJ Over Fertility Treatment Mandate

Only women who've proven infertility via '2 years of unprotected intercourse' covered
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 9, 2016 8:27 AM CDT
Lesbians Sue NJ Over Fertility Treatment Mandate
Equality flags fly in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, Tuesday, April 28, 2015   (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

When Erin and Marianne Krupa decided they wanted to start a family five years ago, they moved from North Carolina to New Jersey in search of a less conservative environment. Little did they know they were about to hit upon a state insurance mandate from 2001 that they say specifically discriminates against same-sex couples trying to conceive: In New Jersey, most women under 35 must prove infertility by having had "two years of unprotected sexual intercourse" before their insurance providers are required to cover fertility treatments, reports the New York Times. Soon after they visited fertility doctors, Erin learned in 2013 that she is infertile due to endometriosis and benign cysts on her uterus. But their insurance provider has denied coverage of most treatments the couple has gone through, which means they've spent nearly $50,000 so far in their quest to have a child. Now they're suing the state.

"It's completely discriminatory," reproductive endocrinologist Dr. Jane Miller tells WABC-TV. And while only two other women are joining the Krupas in the lawsuit, Shannon Minter of the National Center for Lesbian Rights tells the New Jersey Law Journal that "these denials are extremely common" and "we expect to see many more [legal challenges]." One of the plaintiffs' attorneys says that the law in New Jersey is especially discriminatory in its language about exposure to sperm through intercourse. New York and Connecticut, for instance, require exposure but don't specify how, while legislation in California and Maryland requires infertility treatment be covered regardless of sexual orientation. As for the Krupas, Marianne has since gone through her own fertility treatments, but has miscarried twice. Both women are still trying. (These two common surgeries may make women more fertile.)

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