A recent survey of LGBTQ+ adults shows a growing interest in family-building, with 41% expressing interest in assisted reproductive technology. Dr. Mark Trolice of Fertility CARE: The IVF Center urges health insurers to help fulfill those dreams.
A new report published by the Family Equality Council reveals a strong interest in parenting among U.S. LGBTQ+ Millennials compared to previous generations; 77% of those aged 18 to 35 already have or are considering having children, 63% in the 36 to 54 age group and 33% of those aged 55 and older.(1) Among all LGBTQ+ prospective parents, 41% are considering assisted reproductive technology (ART) such as intrauterine insemination (IUI), in-vitro fertilization (IVF), or surrogacy.(1) Dr. Mark P. Trolice, Director of Fertility CARE: The IVF Center, supports LGBTQ+ patients looking to start or expand their families, and he calls on lawmakers and health insurers to extend equal rights and ART access to aspiring LGBTQ+ parents.
Following the 2015 Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality, advocates projected an increase in the number of LGBTQ+ families.(2) The Family Equality Council survey found that 48% of LGBTQ+ Millennials are currently planning to have children, compared to 55% of non-LGBTQ+ Millennials.(1) While only 5% of existing LGBTQ+ families used assisted reproductive technology, 41% are considering using it to start or grow their families.(1) Yet they are more likely to face obstacles than heterosexual couples; the authors of the Family Equality Council report noted that “insurance policies are rarely created to meet the needs of LGBTQ+ family building, and discrimination against LGBTQ+ prospective parents by agencies and providers remains widespread.”(1)
“Assisted reproductive technology expands family-building options for same-sex couples and allows them to have biologically related children of their own,” explained Dr. Trolice. He is a longtime advocate for LGBTQ+ parenting rights and insurance equality, and Fertility CARE: The IVF Center is committed to providing compassionate care to all patients, regardless of sexual orientation or marriage status. Reproductive treatments for gay and lesbian couples can vary depending on whether the prospective parents are male or female but are similar to the choices available to single men and women.
Lesbian couples may opt to have one partner donate the egg and the other carry the pregnancy, which would involve IVF; if one partner will fulfill both roles, IUI or IVF may be used. In either case, they would use donor sperm from a friend or sperm bank. Gay couples require an egg donor and a separate gestational carrier. During the IVF process, the prospective fathers may choose to fertilize the egg with the sperm of one or both partners through a procedure known as intracytoplasmic sperm injection, or ICSI.
With a growing number of fertility clinics welcoming same-sex couples, prospective LGBTQ+ parents can avoid the discrimination some have previously faced from healthcare providers and adoption agencies.(1) However, the cost of ART remains a challenge not only for those whose health insurance does not cover fertility treatments but for those whose healthcare plans require proof of infertility and/or mandate six to 12 cycles of IUI to be paid out of pocket before coverage for reproductive assistance kicks in.(2, 3)
A single round of IUI can run between $300 and $1,000,(4) or upwards of $1,500 with donor sperm,(3) while IVF can cost tens of thousands of dollars.(3) One study found couples who undergo an IVF procedure spent on average $15,435 more than those who underwent IUI.(4) A USA Today article noted it can cost a lesbian couple $20,000 to $30,000 just to get pregnant, while a male couple could be looking at six figures including a surrogate to give birth to their child.(2)
That’s why Dr. Trolice is a vocal advocate of fair and equal health insurance policies for infertile and LGBTQ+ couples. “Parenthood is a closely held dream for many couples, and employers and insurers have the power to make that dream a reality through equal and inclusive healthcare plans,” he asserted. “The goal of a fertility specialist is to present patients with treatment options that offer the best chance of a successful and healthy pregnancy, while taking cost and time considerations into account.”
He says that allowing doctor and patient to determine the optimal course of treatment, and pursue IVF as appropriate, can help improve health outcomes and reduce the likelihood of multiples and genetic conditions, thereby lowering overall costs for employers, insurers, and parents alike. For his part, Dr. Trolice aims for openness and transparency by publishing IUI and IVF costs on the Fertility CARE website. He also works with couples on payment options and can refer them to financing companies that offer fertility treatment loans.
As the director of Central Florida’s most successful IVF program, Dr. Trolice is recognized as an expert in reproductive health and fertility treatments. He is frequently invited to share his insights through news and talk show interviews, print and online publications, and conference presentations. He and his team are committed to empowering patients with best-in-class reproductive care and educating them on all available options. To that end, Fertility CARE: The IVF Center hosts an extensive collection of patient resources—including videos, podcasts, and informative articles—at http://TheIVFCenter.com.
But what else can be done financially to prepare hopeful couples? Margie Archer, Financial Advisor at Wells Fargo has supplied Instinct with these economic thoughts.
Family planning tips:
- Revamp your budget. Raising a child isn’t cheap, and with added expenses comes a new budget. Make sure that you adjust your budget early to accommodate child care costs, medical costs, additional food, diapers and clothing.
- Prepare and update important documents. When welcoming a child into your family, it’s important to consider estate planning strategies such as creating or updating a will, executing a power of attorney and creating a trust for your child.
- Review your insurance needs. With a growing family, insurance is important. Review your health insurance coverage and talk with your health plan administrator about the effective date of coverage upon birth or adoption. It is also a good idea to consider life insurance in the instance one or both parents die unexpectedly.
- Save up for school. College might seem years away, but kids grow up fast! With the cost of college continuing to increase, it’s a good idea to start saving early. Even putting just $50 in a savings account can help provide a solid foundation for your child’s future education.
- Understand the new tax benefits. Having a child comes with many tax benefits that you may be eligible to claim. Chat with a financial advisor to learn how a child may provide you with tax benefits.
Ae you ready to have a family? How have you prepared?
About Fertility CARE: The IVF Center
Fertility CARE (Center of Assisted Reproduction and Endocrinology): The IVF Center provides patient-centered, evidence-based, and individually customized reproductive care in a comfortable and compassionate setting. This Central Florida IVF clinic is the most successful facility of its kind in the Orlando area, and consistently earns 5-star patient ratings in online reviews. Established in 2003 by founder and director Dr. Mark P. Trolice, it is the only fertility clinic in the country to offer both male and female testing, evaluation, and treatment. Today, the practice encompasses the Center for Male Infertility, headed by a fellowship-trained male reproductive specialist; the Mind/Body Institute, overseen by a licensed clinical reproductive psychologist; and the IVF Laboratory of Central Florida, led by a Board-certified, high-complexity laboratory director. Fertility CARE: The IVF Center offers a comprehensive range of infertility tests and treatment options as well as genetic testing, egg freezing with fertility preservation, egg donation, embryo cryopreservation, surrogacy, and other services. For full details, visit http://TheIVFCenter.com.
About Dr. Mark P. Trolice
Mark P. Trolice, M.D., is the founder and Director of Fertility CARE: The IVF Center. He also serves as Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN) at the University of Central Florida College of Medicine in Orlando and Medical Director of the Egg Donor Program at Cryos International, the world’s largest sperm donor bank. Dr. Trolice is Board-certified in OB/GYN and reproductive endocrinology and infertility (REI), and he is a Fellow of the American Colleges of Obstetrics and Gynecology (FACOG), Surgeons (FACS), and Endocrinology (FACE). Renowned as Orlando’s most successful fertility specialist, Dr. Trolice and his wife battled infertility for over 10 years before adopting their children. This journey gave him unique insights into patients’ struggles and is included in his forthcoming book on infertility from Harvard Common Press. Dr. Trolice is a sought-after expert with dozens of broadcast and print appearances in addition to national acclaim as one of America’s Top Doctors® and repeat recipient of the American Medical Association’s “Physician’s Recognition Award”. In January 2019, he launched his “Fertility Health” podcast interviewing nationally renowned experts on vital topics in reproductive medicine. Learn why he has earned the trust of patients and physicians alike: http://marktrolicemd.com.
- Family Equality Council. LGBTQ Family Building Survey; January 2019.
- Miller, Susan. “LGBTQ Families Are on the Cusp of Dramatic Growth, and Millennials Lead the Way”; USA Today; February 6, 2019.
- MacMillen, Hayley. “The Fertility Divide”; Medium; September 13, 2018.
- Mullen-McWilliams, Kelly. “How Much Does Artificial Insemination or IUI Cost? A Fertility Expert Explains the Numbers”; Romper; October 4, 2017.
h/t: familyequality.org , Wells Fargo