For Immediate Release
February 8, 2000


Jim Wetmore


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Effort begun by patient advocates leads to passage in Assembly and Senate.

Bill will give many infertile couples the chance to have a baby. Bill passes despite
multimillion dollar insurance lobby campaign against patient-led initiative.

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ALBANY, NY - An effort initiated more than a year ago by advocates for couples with infertility has led the New York State Assembly and Senate to each pass bills (A. 7303 / S. 3131) that will help more New Yorkers to have access to insurance coverage for the treatment of infertility.

As many as one out of five couples are known to have experienced difficulty in having children, and this legislation removes one of the largest obstacles to those couples gaining access to procedures and treatment that are known to be effective, said Senator Kenneth LaValle (R-C, Port Jefferson), the measures sponsor.

This represents a major pro-family milestone for New York.  These bills have passed even though the insurance lobby has spent millions of dollars to fight our effort, because it is  affordable and it is the right thing to do, said Pamela Madsen, executive director of The American Infertility Association.  As a patient advocate, Ms. Madsen helped to introduce this issue to legislators and arranged a rally of empty baby strollers in Albany last spring in one of the first ever public demonstrations by infertile couples in the United States.

We applaud the courage of Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, Senators Kenneth LaValle, Nicholas Spano, Roy Goodman, Seymour Lachman and all the members of the Assembly and the Senate.  We urge them to work quickly to take this effort to the next level and put together a bill that Governor Pataki can then sign, Ms. Madsen added.

In addition to the rally of empty baby strollers, patient advocates for infertility have also met with legislators and presented findings that sharply contradict the claims by the insurance lobby that this legislation will not be affordable.

Interestingly, while insurance industry lobbyists were distributing studies that claimed that coverage for infertility is not affordable, effective January 1, 2000, The Empire Plan decided to add this coverage for New York State employees (including legislators) without increasing the cost of premiums.

The move by The Empire Plan is just another example showing that this insurance is affordable. It also sends a clear message that New York cares about families, Ms. Madsen added.

The American Infertility Association (AIA), headquartered in New York City, is an independent national nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting women and men facing decisions related to family building and reproductive health from prevention and treatment to social and psychological concerns and to forward these causes through advocacy, education, awareness building and research funding.  The mission of the AIA is to serve as a lifetime resource for men and women needing reproductive information and support.  For more information, contact the AIA at or online at

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