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Insurance Coverage for Fertility Treatments Varies Widely

By Tara Siegel Bernard, July 25, 2014

Sarah Patterson, a 27-year-old nurse, suffered four miscarriages over the last four years because of several medical problems, including a condition that causes cysts to form on the ovaries. After her second loss, she said, her husband asked for a divorce because he could not handle the stress.

“I was heartbroken and devastated,” said Ms. Patterson, her voice quavering as she began to cry. “It took me about six months or so before I decided I am going to be a mom, whether I am on my own or whether I had a partner by my side.”

Though young, Ms. Patterson said she felt a sense of urgency because one of her conditions had the potential to deplete her egg reserves. Her doctor recommended in vitro fertilization, in which an egg is fertilized with sperm in a lab and transferred into the uterus. Her health insurance, through the California exchange, does not cover infertility, so she is working extra shifts to save the estimated $15,000 to $25,000 it will cost her for just one cycle of I.V.F.

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