“The bill also provides for coverage of fertility preservation services when a medical treatment, such as cancer treatment, causes iatrogenic infertility. Iatrogenic infertility is defined as infertility resulting from surgery, radiation, chemotherapy or other medical treatment affecting fertility…At Columbia University Medical Center we have robust oncology and stem cell transplant programs, but our patients regularly face financial barriers in trying to maintain options for their reproductive future…Fortunately, there are ways to preserve a patient’s reproductive future, but unfortunately many of these methods are not covered by most health insurance policies and are cost prohibitive for many families.”
“Sickle Cell Disease is an inherited genetic condition…. It is particularly common among those whose ancestors came from sub-Saharan Africa, Spanish speaking regions in the Western Hemisphere, Saudi Arabia, India and Mediterranean countries, such as Turkey, Greece and Italy. To date the only curative therapy is bone marrow transplantation from an unaffected donor. While it is imperative to receive chemotherapy as part of the transplant, there are complications associated with the process. One of the biggest side effects that are associated with the chemotherapy used for transplant is infertility.
As more and more patients are being offered bone marrow transplantation for sickle cell disease, one of the primary reasons that families do not proceed is because of the risk of infertility. With the high doses of chemotherapy used, the likelihood of infertility is quite high. After a person is cured of sickle cell disease, their life expectancy becomes that of the general population with numerous opportunities available to them including an improved quality of life, better education and the ability to raise a family.
Since outside funding is not an option for fertility preservation costs and insurance rarely covers the amount, most patients are forced to forego this option.
I implore you to consider improving coverage for fertility preservation in this patient population. As more and more children are cured of sickle cell disease and living longer in adulthood, they deserve the chance to create a family, similar to their unaffected peers.”
“In 2014, approximately 500 men and 900 women ages 18-45 began treatment for cancer at MSK. About 50% of these patients received treatment that poses a risk of infertility. Since the inception of the program, they have counseled over 2,000 patients, 69% specifically about fertility preservation. Although many patients want to pursue fertility preservation, financial costs pose a significant obstacle, preventing many from accessing this technology. MSK believes that having cancer should not preclude someone from having biological children. Passage of the Fair Access to Fertility Treatment Act would enable our patients and others across New York State to have access to these important services.”