IVF can be an expensive and challenging medical procedure, but for many couples, it is the only way to have a baby without adopting. Adopting itself can also be a very lengthy and costly process. In Illinois, new legal changes starting in 2022 are making IVF more accessible to gay men who want to pursue having children through surrogacy.
What does the new change mean?
Illinois, like most other states, classifies infertility as a disease or an illness. Putting aside the emotional implications of that, the result was that gay men could not be considered “infertile” by law, which meant they could not get coverage for IVF for a surrogate. If their chosen surrogate was having trouble conceiving, they would have to give up on the surrogacy or pay for IVF out of pocket.
Understanding infertile status
The new law changes the definition of infertility to be a “status” that anyone can have if they are unable to conceive alone or with a partner unless there is medical intervention. For gay men, that means they will soon be considered infertile when they are single or with a male partner, opening the door to insurance coverage for IVF of their chosen surrogate. It puts gay men and LBGTQ families on an equal status to straight couples in terms of having IVF coverage, just through the route of having a surrogate.
Illinois is the first state to pass such a law. It is the first step toward making it easier for all gay couples to have their own children through surrogacy when the surrogate needs IVF for them to have a successful pregnancy.