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Approximately 15% of couples in the United States (U.S.) suffer from infertility. Existing infertility treatments and alternate paths to parenthood, such as adoption, are available but financially inaccessible and require self-payment. Although organizations such as the American Medical Association (AMA) and World Health Organization (WHO) classify infertility as a disease, the U.S. has not federally mandated insurance coverage for infertility. Currently, only 15 states require insurance companies to offer some type of fertility benefit and these requirements vary across states.
This paper discusses the need to federally mandate insurance coverage for infertility in the U.S. Infertility not only causes devastating outcomes for individual families, but affects nearly all demographics across the world. However, national legislation on infertility coverage continues to fail the many couples who suffer from this condition. The paper concludes with implications for social work practice and recommends ways social workers can support this policy movement. Social workers have an ethical duty not only to address clients’ mental and emotional needs, but also to be at the frontlines of policy and to advocate for federal insurance coverage for clients who desperately want to realize their dream of conceiving a child.
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