Connolly, Duckworth Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Expand Access to IVF, Other Assisted Reproductive Technology
Legislation would require Federal Employees Health Benefit Program carriers to cover assisted reproductive technology, including IVF
Today, to mark National Infertility Awareness Week, Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) introduced bipartisan legislation to expand and protect access to in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and other assisted reproductive technology (ART) that millions of Americans need to have children, including Senator Duckworth who relied on IVF to have her two daughters. The bipartisan Family Building FEHB Fairness Act would require Federal Employees Health Benefit (FEHB) Program—the largest employer-sponsored health insurance plan in the world—carriers to cover IVF and ART and would give OPM one year to implement its requirements from the date of enactment. The legislation is co-led in the House by Congresswoman Nancy Mace (R-SC), Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL).
“Federal employees, like every American, should have the right to start and build a family,” Connolly said. “Yet right now, the FEHB program – our nation’s largest employer-sponsored group health insurance program – offers only limited and inconsistent coverage for assisted reproductive treatment. This must change. The Family Building FEHB Fairness Act presents an opportunity for the federal government to lead by example by modernizing the FEHB program and embracing high-quality ART coverage to become the employer of choice for millions of talented Americans looking to serve their country and start a family.”
“With Roe v. Wade thrown out by the Supreme Court and Republicans actively working to roll back basic reproductive freedoms, many Americans—including those who may have trouble getting pregnant—are understandably worried about their access to IVF and other assisted reproductive technology that they need to start or grow their families,” said Duckworth. “Without the miracle of IVF, I wouldn’t have my two beautiful baby girls. And so, today, I’m proud to introduce bipartisan legislation with Congressman Connolly that would help make sure others like me have access to IVF and other assisted reproductive technology through the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program—the largest employer-sponsored health insurance plan in the world—so they can have the chance to experience all the joys of parenthood if and when they want to.”
“Every individual deserves the opportunity to build a family on their own terms. Starting and raising a family is one of the greatest things a person can do, and it should not only be accessible to those who can do it naturally,” said Mace. “The introduction of the Family Building FEHB Fairness Act is a step towards ensuring federal employees have access to the necessary resources to make their dreams of parenthood a reality.”
“I represent the nearly 700,000 residents of the nation’s capital in Congress, a district with a high proportion of federal employees,” said Norton.“Like all Americans, federal employees should have broad access to coverage for reproductive treatments like IVF, and I’m proud to co-lead this bipartisan bill that would expand access to assisted reproductive technology to federal employees.”
“I fought for years to expand reproductive care for veterans, and it is only right that this benefit be extended to our federal workforce through Federal Employee Health Benefit (FEHB) plans. I utilized IVF to conceive my twin son and daughter, and I know firsthand about the difficulties so many families face in having children.” said Wasserman Schultz. “I have and will continue to champion the expansion of access to infertility treatment, and I am proud to join my colleagues to introduce the Building Family FEHB Fairness Act.”
In August 2022, Rep. Connolly and Sen. Duckworth wrote to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to urge the agency to require FEHB carriers to cover ART services and treatments. OPM has made incremental progress since then, but much more remains to be done. Only 19 FEHB plans currently offer some level ART coverage, and these plans vary greatly in terms of which specific services and treatments are included.
“We applaud Representatives Gerry Connolly and Nancy Mace and Senator Tammy Duckworth for introducing the Family Building FEHB Fairness Act and giving federal employees a chance at family, said Barbara Collura, President/CEO of RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association. “RESOLVE serves the family building community, and we hear every day of the barriers to family building for far too many people. As the largest employer in the U.S., the federal government serves as a leader in taking care of its employees; with passage of the Family Building FEHB Fairness Act, those last barriers to accessing medical care for family building will be removed. Let’s not delay in getting this bill passed for all American families.”
“The time for accessible fertility treatment is now, and the Family Building FEHB Fairness Act is the final step to ensure that Federal employees have comprehensive reproductive health insurance coverage. The legislation would require Federal employee health benefit plans to include assisted reproductive treatment benefits, including IVF. The OPM has made great strides in mandating increasing coverage for fertility over the past few years, which I personally appreciate, but there is one more step to go. Congress must pass this bill to secure comprehensive fertility benefits for all federal employees so that they are supported in building the families that they chose. We applaud the introduction of this bill and commend Representatives Connolly and Mace, and Senator Duckworth, and their staff for their leadership,” said Michael Thomas, MD, President of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
Text of the legislation is available here.