For Immediate Release
May 9, 2000


Jim Wetmore
Berry & Company


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Marchers will gather on May 9 to urge legislators to move forward on law that will make insurance coverage for infertility treatment available to New Yorkers who have health insurance. Empty strollers symbolize the heartache of another Mother's Day without a baby for many couples.

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ALBANY, NY, May 9, 2000 - Members and friends of The American Infertility Association (AIA), a nonprofit infertility patient group, will hold an "Empty Baby Stroller Rally" today on the steps of the Capitol in Albany to raise awareness of the urgent need for infertility insurance legislation. Both houses of the New York State Legislature recently passed bills (A7303 / S3131) that will help make sure that infertility treatment is covered by health insurance, but legislators must agree on the terms of the bill before it can be signed into law by Governor Pataki.

Insurance industry lobbyists and others who oppose this legislation continue to petition New York State legislators with inflated claims about the cost of offering this coverage - jeopardizing further compromise. Real-world studies from states such as Massachusetts, where this coverage has been available for years, show the cost to be only $1.71 per policy/per month. Insurance coverage is the only way that many couples will have access to the medical treatment they need to have a baby.

Coverage may also help to reduce the number of multiple births associated with infertility treatment. According to a recent study, the risk of an IVF attempt resulting in triplets in 1995 was 167% higher in New York than in Massachusetts, where infertility benefits have been included in most health insurance policies since 1987. Analyses of the most recent data from Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the IVF multiple birth rate in New York continues to be significantly higher than in Massachusetts.

"When patients can only afford one cycle of treatment, they are more likely to take risks that can result in multiple births. With insurance coverage, patients are much less likely to take those risks, and the rate of multiple births will go down," said Pamela Madsen, executive director of the AIA.

"The data clearly show that the incremental cost to New York citizens for infertility insurance coverage will be recovered simply through a reduction in multiple gestation pregnancies," states William Panak, Ph.D., health policy analyst and president of FertileThoughts (, an on-line support community for the infertile.

According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, infertility affects more than six million men and women in the United States - about 10% of the reproductive age population. It affects both men and women in roughly equal numbers, and can be caused by many known and unknown factors.

"It is our hope that in the next six weeks both houses will work together to resolve their differences and reconcile their versions of the bill. Infertile New Yorkers with health insurance who want to build a family should not have to suffer the heartache of another Mother's Day without a baby," added Ms. Madsen.

The American Infertility Association, 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, and to forward these causes through advocacy, education, awareness building and research funding. For more information, contact the AIA at or online at

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