Pa. is slow to support infertility treatment. A case for why this hurts all residents. | Opinion

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By Jennifer O’Mara, Steve Malagari and Sara Innamorato

In a world where approximately one in 10 people struggle with infertility, one would think that treatments would be affordable and accessible. But, unfortunately, this is not the case. At least not in Pennsylvania.

Infertility affects men and women equally, and average costs for successful treatments range from $18,000 to $85,000. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania insurers are not required to cover these expenses. With an astronomical price like this, couples may face tough life decisions like refinancing their homes or leaving the Commonwealth just to try for a baby.

During National Infertility Awareness Week, it is important to note that each of our neighboring states have infertility insurance laws. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania views starting a family as a privilege rather than a right. It seems like a problem that only affects those trying to conceive, but it goes deeper than that.

The 2020 census results show that Pennsylvania’s population growth is relatively stagnant. Since 2010, it has only increased by 2.4%. Yet nationally, the population grew by 7.4%. Why is it? Part of the answer to that question is that, frankly, other states have more to offer expectant parents.

Why is this important for anyone who has no trouble having children? If people are not inclined to live in Pennsylvania, it can create a domino effect leading directly to you and your willingness to stay here.

When just one person responds to the census, they bring over $1,000 in federal funding to Pennsylvania. These are public funds that we depend on to improve our infrastructure, provide quality social services, public transit programs and much more.

When middle-class Pennsylvania couples and young professionals who have been trying for a baby for too long drop out and move to New Jersey or Maryland to fulfill their dream of having children, they take with them more than their talent and their taxes. They also take valuable federal funding, as it is calculated on a per capita basis. If our share of those federal dollars were to decline, it would have a direct impact on our quality of life in our Commonwealth.

We need to encourage people to move or stay in Pennsylvania and raise their families there. House Bill 2142 would help with this.

Our legislation would require Pennsylvania insurance companies to cover fertility treatments. If passed, this bill would help break down barriers for all couples and residents looking to start a family without costing expectant parents tens of thousands of dollars before entering parenthood.

Starting a family shouldn’t be a game of chance. It shouldn’t just be an option for the wealthy or depend on where you work.

If you’re the only one out of 10 to get the infertility card, you shouldn’t have to go to bed, because the treatment is there. Let’s pass HB 2142 and make fertility treatment available to every loving home in Pennsylvania.

Jennifer O’Mara, Steve Malagari and Sara Innamorato are Pennsylvania State Representatives. O’Mara and Malagari serve suburban neighborhoods in Philadelphia. Innamorato serves a neighborhood in Pittsburgh. They are Democrats.

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