April 25, 2023

Duckworth, Connolly Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Expand Access to IVF, Other Assisted Reproductive Technology


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Today, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and U.S. Representative Gerry Connolly (D-VA-11) introduced bipartisan legislation to expand and protect access to in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and other assisted reproductive technology (ART) that millions of Americans need to have children, including Senator Duckworth who relied on IVF to have her two daughters. The bipartisan Family Building FEHB Fairness Act would require Federal Employees Health Benefit (FEHB) Program—the largest employer-sponsored health insurance plan in the world—carriers to cover IVF and ART and would give the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) one year to implement its requirements from the date of enactment.

“With Roe v. Wade thrown out by the Supreme Court and Republicans actively working to roll back basic reproductive freedoms, many Americans—including those who may have trouble getting pregnant—are understandably worried about their access to IVF and other assisted reproductive technology that they need to start or grow their families,” said Duckworth. “Without the miracle of IVF, I wouldn’t have my two beautiful baby girls. And so, today, I’m proud to introduce bipartisan legislation with Congressman Connolly that would help make sure more Americans have access to IVF and other assisted reproductive technology through the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program—the largest employer-sponsored health insurance plan in the world—so they can have the chance to experience all the joys of parenthood if and when they want to.”

“Federal employees, like every American, should have the right to start and build a family,” Connolly said. “Yet right now, the FEHB program – our nation’s largest employer-sponsored group health insurance program – offers only limited and inconsistent coverage for assisted reproductive treatment. This must change. The Family Building FEHB Fairness Act presents an opportunity for the federal government to lead by example by modernizing the FEHB program and embracing high-quality ART coverage to become the employer of choice for millions of talented Americans looking to serve their country and start a family.”

In August 2022, Duckworth and Connolly wrote to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), urging the agency to require FEHB carriers to cover ART services and treatments. OPM has made incremental progress since then, but much more remains to be done. Only 19 FEHB plans currently offer some level ART coverage, and these plans vary greatly in terms of which specific services and treatments are included.

The Family Building FEHB Fairness Act is supported by RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, highlighting the importance of ensuring federal employees and their families have access to IVF and ART.

“We applaud Representatives Gerry Connolly and Nancy Mace and Senator Tammy Duckworth for introducing the Family Building FEHB Fairness Act and giving federal employees a chance at family, said Barbara Collura, President/CEO of RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association. “RESOLVE serves the family building community, and we hear every day of the barriers to family building for far too many people.  As the largest employer in the U.S., the federal government serves as a leader in taking care of its employees; with passage of the Family Building FEHB Fairness Act, those last barriers to accessing medical care for family building will be removed.  Let’s not delay in getting this bill passed for all American families.”  

“The time for accessible fertility treatment is now, and the Family Building FEHB Fairness Act is the final step to ensure that Federal employees have comprehensive reproductive health insurance coverage. The legislation would require Federal employee health benefit plans to include assisted reproductive treatment benefits, including IVF. The OPM has made great strides in mandating increasing coverage for fertility over the past few years, which I personally appreciate, but there is one more step to go. Congress must pass this bill to secure comprehensive fertility benefits for all federal employees so that they are supported in building the families that they chose. We applaud the introduction of this bill and commend Representatives Connolly and Mace, and Senator Duckworth, and their staff for their leadership,” said Michael Thomas, MD, President of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

Duckworth is a fierce advocate in protecting women’s right to access the reproductive healthcare they need, including IVF and other forms of ART. Recently, Duckworth re-introduced the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH) Act, a bicameral bill that would help end the Hyde Amendment and lifts unjust abortion coverage restrictions for those who depend on Medicaid and other government-sponsored plans or programs. Duckworth also helped introduce the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2023, federal legislation to guarantee access to abortion everywhere across the country and restore the right to comprehensive reproductive healthcare for millions of Americans.

Last year, Duckworth also introduced the Right to Build Families Act of 2022, which would protect every American’s right to access IVF and other ART —regardless of their zip code.

The legislation is co-led in the House by U.S. Representatives Nancy Mace (R-SC-01), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC-At large) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL-25). A copy of the bill text is available here.