December 2011 eNews
The Family Act Needs Your Support!
by Barbara Collura, Executive Director
RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association
For most Americans the diagnosis and treatment of infertility is not covered by their health insurance. Some states have an insurance mandate, but less than 10 states have a comprehensive insurance mandate that really makes a difference. In the Washington, D.C. area, Maryland is the closest state with an infertility insurance mandate.
Given that most of us have to pay out-of-pocket for our infertility treatment, we would welcome any efforts to help with the costs. In May 2011 Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) introduced the "Family Act of 2011", S 965, in the U.S. Senate. This bill would create a tax credit to be used for the out-of-pocket costs associated with IVF and fertility preservation for cancer patients. The tax credit is modeled after the existing Adoption Tax Credit which has helped thousands of families with the costs of an adoption. Like the adoption tax credit, the Family Act has certain income limits and includes a cost sharing provision, which means the tax credit covers 50% of the costs up to a maximum amount. Many of the provisions in the Family Act are designed to help families yet keep the cost of the bill relatively low for the federal government. The goal is to get the bill passed and to help people today. The Family Act, HR 3522, was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on November 30.
We need your support. By writing a letter to your two U.S. Senators and Representative you will help them understand the importance of this bill and express your belief that people with infertility matter. Letters of support also show your elected officials and their staff that constituents care about this issue. To find out more and to send a letter immediately to your elected officials, visit www.resolve.org/taxcredit. The RESOLVE website includes key provisions of the bill as well as an FAQ. Also read letters of support from organizations such as Livestrong and Cancer Action Network of the American Cancer Society. Thank you for supporting the Family Act!
What's New at GIVF
First Responders SALUTE℠ Discount Program!
GIVF is pleased to announce that our SALUTE℠ discount program for military personnel and their families is being expanded to include active full time:
The First Responders
SALUTE℠ program provides for a 25% discount
on the base fee for single cycle IVF or donor egg IVF contracts or a 5% discount
on the already discounted multicycle and The Delivery Promise℠ contracts for both standard IVF and donor egg IVF treatment.
To contact one of our financial counselors, call 800.552.4363 or 703.698.7355 for more details.
Dangers of the Grey Market: Non-traditional Sperm and Egg Donors
by Michelle Ottey, PhD, HCLD
When a third party or non-intimate party, such as an egg or sperm donor is necessary for family building, women and couples are faced with emotional and psychosocial issues that are not part of a traditional path to building a family. There are options that can simplify the process and not complicate the individual situations with additional concerns about the health and safety of the donor sperm or the egg or sperm donor medical or genetic status. If you want to build your family and have a biological child using donor sperm or donor egg, it is imperative to do your research and understand that there are significant risks if you work with what is being called a "grey market donor."
There are men who feel comfortable donating sperm that work in the system of accredited Cryobanks and clinics; they follow the rules, and allow sperm banks to do the required testing that protects the recipient. They can be directed donors who are known to the recipient or they can participate in a donor program, anonymously or as an ID donor that will allow offspring the opportunity for contact when they reach the age of 18.
There are also men who want to donate sperm but for whatever reason they do not feel that they have to follow the laws and regulations that govern how sperm is safely made available to those who need it to build their families. These men market themselves online through various sites. Often times they do not undergo any infectious disease testing and they almost never have any genetic testing. This lack of testing puts the recipient in danger of contracting an infectious disease and any resulting fetus at risk for infectious and genetic diseases.
There are various options when looking for donor egg. Though grey market egg donors are not as common as grey market sperm donors, they are out there. Similar to the unregulated sperm donors, these egg donors are not tested to the same extent as those donating through an agency or clinic. There are agencies that specialize in matching you using very specific qualities of the egg donors but typically these agencies have much higher costs and lack regulation.
Clinic programs that offer donor egg are the ideal. When working with a clinic's donor egg program the legal concerns are abated, there is no need for an attorney due to the contracts in place between the donors and the clinic, and the clinic and recipients. Clinic donor egg programs are regulated by the FDA and follow the guidelines of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). Clinic program egg donors are screened and approved by a Medical Director and so as a recipient you can be assured that the donor has a medical and genetic history that has been thoroughly reviewed.
The regulations and laws are in place to protect recipients. And ultimately anyone who is looking into the option of donor sperm or donor egg should appreciate how working within this system of rules serves to promote their well being and health.
Dr. Ottey is the Director of Operations for Fairfax Cryobank and Cryogenic Laboratories, Inc.
The Genetics & IVF Institute (GIVF) regularly publishes an informative newsletter featuring the latest infertility news and developments. The newsletter is sent electronically via email. To subscribe, click here.