by: Nicci Johnson
Posted: Jan 19, 2021 / 07:21 AM CST / Updated: Jan 19, 2021 / 07:21 AM CST
A North Dakota nonprofit wants to expand insurance benefits for those who suffer from infertility and is pushing lawmakers to pass legislation this year.
So far, 19 states require or have passed infertility insurance laws, with six of them passing new legislation since 2018 and Tara Brander, founder of Everlasting Hope wants to add North Dakota to that list.
Everlasting Hope was formed by Tara Brandner when she was struggling with infertility herself. Now she wants to help others.
Tara says, “Currently as is in North Dakota once you have that diagnosis, all treatment, oral medications, injections, ultra sound and lab work is not covered by insurance. It’s completly out of pocket for patients.”
One reason for infertility is genetics. 30-year-old Minot woman Kaydee Peterson was born with a genetic disorder called Turner Syndrome. This creates infertility due to underdeveloped ovaries and non-viable eggs.
Kaydee says, “Part of our infertility journey is having to get cardiac approval in order to try to achieve pregnancy.”
She says she got cardiac approval one and a half years ago and since then, they’ve been paying off debt just to save a minimum of $10,000. That’s the cost of just one IVF treatment and they’re close to reaching that goal.
Kaydee says, “It’s an extra hurdle but it will be worth it.”
She says the cost of fertility treatments is one of the biggest barriers to starting the process of IVF using donor eggs.
That’s why organizations like Everlasting Hope are hoping a bill at the State Capitol will become law. House Bill 1147 would make sure state employees have access to insurance coverage for infertility and fertility preservation with hopes to expand it to more North Dakotans in the future.
Tara says, “Infertility is the only one I have met so far where I have patients or myself have encountered not having any coverage or access to my healthcare plan for my disease.”
Kaydee says everyone deserves the option to grow their family, and they want that chance too.
The biggest thing both ladies say there are thousands of people who suffer in silence from the disease of infertility but the good news is they don’t have to face it alone.
Last week Friday some personal stories were shared in front of an interim committee. And Brandner says next they will go before another House committee.. and she says things are looking hopeful.