House Bill 537: Giving hope to families struggling with infertility

Published: May. 26, 2022 at 8:22 AM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - House Bill 537 is giving hope to families who struggle with infertility. It was originally drafted to mandate fertility treatment coverage like IVF, and the preservation of eggs or sperm before medical treatments. But, the bill was drastically changed on the house floor Tuesday, May 24.

“It would have a huge impact on not just me but anybody who’s struggling with infertility,” said Dede McKinley.

After six years of trying to start their family, Dede and Kyle McKinley are now turning to IVF.

They were hopeful House Bill 537 would provide some relief from the high price tag of the treatment. But, that all changed Tuesday.

“The bill is about to change dramatically with these amendments. What the amendment will do now is take out the IVF portion of the bill. It will no longer include IVF,” said Rep. Paula Davis.

The bill now mandates coverage only for fertility preservation for those undergoing medically necessary treatments that may affect their infertility. For example cancer patients undergoing chemo or radiation.

“Patients who are diagnosed with cancer and are about to go through chemotherapy which will render them sterile, it covers the ability for them to freeze eggs or sperm,” said Dr. John Stroment.

A prior draft of the bill included coverage for one round of IVF for people like McKinley, who are struggling to conceive.

“In 2021, because there’s no insurance coverage right now in Louisiana, we spent a little over $8,000 alone on infertility treatments,” said McKinley.

Not only is the process costly but it also takes a toll on their mental and physical health.

“So not only do they have the stress of not being able to conceive, and so they’re trying for a year or two or five, and they’re not able to conceive, but now they have to save thousands of dollars or go into debt, for just the chance of getting pregnant,” said Dr. Stroment.

Now, the McKinley’s are no longer included in the bill and must bear the burden of the costs.

“A common illness is covered but not infertility. I think is just insane. Because I can’t control that my body doesn’t react and respond like it should,” said McKinley.

A representative with the Louisiana Right to Pro-Life told 7News that the amendment to remove mandating coverage of IVF has changed their stance on the legislation.

“This week Rep. Paula Davis amended House Bill 537 to remove provisions mandating insurance coverage and tax-payer coverage of In-vitro Fertilization (IVF). Louisiana Right to Life is neutral on the legislation,” said a representative from the group.

Another opponent of the bill is the Catholic Church. We reached out to the Lake Charles Diocese for their stance on the bill with amendments.

“The Catholic Church cares deeply for couples who struggle with infertility,” said a representative. “To protect the sacredness of human life and the methods from which life is created, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that “Techniques that entail the dissociation of husband and wife, by the intrusion of a person other than the couple are gravely immoral (CCC 2376). Working through the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Diocese of Lake Charles is monitoring the progress of HB 537. The Diocese continues to offer support and prayers for married couples experiencing infertility, as we work to promote treatments that are fully in accord with God’s plan for human love.”

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