A new bill making its way through the California state legislature would require insurance companies to cover the costs of surrogacy for gay and lesbian couples that wish to have children.
The bill, SB 729, would require health insurers in the state to cover the cost of fertility treatments, which are currently optional, or only available through certain companies’ benefits programs. In addition, as the text of the bill explains, “The bill would revise the definition of infertility, and would remove the exclusion of in vitro fertilization from coverage.”
One provision in the bill, written by State Sen. Caroline Menjivar (D-Burbank), expands the definition of “infertility” to include: “A person’s inability to reproduce either as an individual or with their partner without medical intervention.” It adds that “coverage for the treatment of infertility and fertility services shall be 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.” And it bars policies that exclude the costs of a “surrogate that enables an intended recipient to become a parent.”
Insurance companies are reported to disagree with the bill because of its higher costs. Conservative groups are also said to oppose the bill — though supporting couples, including gay couples, to have babies could also arguably encourage a culture of child-rearing that is distressing as birth rates continue to fall in the United States.
An organization called Men Having Babies boasted that the bill will “remove financial barriers” for gay men who wish to rent a woman’s womb to have a child who has the DNA of one of the males in the relationship.
The group states on its website, “Central to our fight for more equitable access to parenting options is what we know from our combined experiences: The anguish and yearning that same-sex couples and singles feel due to their inability to reproduce without medical intervention is equal to the anguish of heterosexual couples who suffer from ‘medical infertility.'”
According to the Free Beacon, the opposition to SB 729 comes from California business and insurance groups who claim that it will raise insurance premiums by more than $330 million a year. Others point to the erosion of the traditional family structure.
“Under this bill, most insurance plans would be required to provide in vitro fertilization services based on someone’s relationship status or sexual orientation,” said Emma Waters with the Heritage Foundation. “For single men or male same-sex couples, this means they would need to access a surrogate to carry their child. So the bill is outlining what adults have the right to, but nowhere does it address the needs of the child or safety concerns regarding the child either in IVF or in gestational surrogacy.”
“This bill seeks to further erode the father, mother, and child nuclear family and make everyone in society pay for it to further a make-believe cause named ‘fertility equality,'” said Greg Burt, director of the California Family Council. “The reason healthy singles and same-sex couples can’t reproduce has nothing to do with infertility; it has to do with biology.”
SB 729 would not affect any “entity that enters into a contract with the State Department of Health Care Services for the delivery of health care services pursuant to specified provisions.”
In California a bill is being forwarded that will define a man not being able to have a baby as infertility, and will require health insurance providers to cover his surrogacy.
This will once again cause insurance providers to raise rates on the working class… pic.twitter.com/UAs0unw1dG
— 🇺🇸Travis🇺🇸 (@Travis_in_Flint) June 11, 2023
This could get incredibly expensive. Surrogacy in California, with existing demand (not accounting for surge of demand brought about by this law) is around $100-150k. Getting/paying egg donor, IVF and embryo transfer could exceed $25-50k. You’re talking $125-200k per.
— Houman David Hemmati, MD, PhD (@houmanhemmati) June 11, 2023
"Babe, get dressed. This letter just arrived. You've just been drafted into the 4th California Surrogacy battallion." https://t.co/OhrQ6AkfIM
— Cornelius (@CornilisRye) June 11, 2023