Attorney General James Calls on Congress to Expand Access to IVF and Other Reproductive Health Services 

During National Infertility Awareness Week and Following Dangerous Alabama IVF Decision, 21 AGs Call for More Affordable and Accessible Assisted Reproductive Technology Services Nationwide

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today led a coalition of 21 attorneys general urging Congress to pass the Access to Family Building Act, legislation that would guarantee the right to access assisted reproductive technology (ART) like in-vitro fertilization (IVF) nationwide. ART has provided thousands of people in diverse situations the opportunity to grow their families, including cancer survivors, same-sex couples, people experiencing infertility, or those choosing to parent alone. However, the high cost of procedures and lack of insurance coverage for ART prevent many from accessing these essential services. In the wake of a recent Alabama Supreme Court decision that jeopardized essential reproductive health services by classifying frozen embryos used during IVF as people, the coalition of attorneys general argues for strong federal protections, such as the Access to Family Building Act, to encourage expanding access to ART and to protect patients’ rights to make their own reproductive health care decisions. 

“Choosing to start or grow a family is a deeply personal and important decision,” said Attorney General James. “Everyone should have the freedom to access the reproductive health care they need to make their dreams of building a family a reality. I am proud to stand with my fellow attorneys general in urging Congress to not only protect essential services like IVF, but to try and make them more accessible for all. I will always fiercely defend the right of all New Yorkers to make their own reproductive decisions.” 

The recent Alabama Supreme Court decision, which determined that embryos should be considered “extrauterine children” and that the destruction of embryos created through IVF is subject to the state’s Wrongful Death of a Minor Act, put the practice of IVF in jeopardy. The closure of clinics across the state as a result of this decision devastated patients who were in the midst of IVF treatment. This decision further threatens ART services nationwide and the right of families to make their own reproductive healthcare decisions.  

In the letter sent to the leadership of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions and the Subcommittee on Health of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Attorney General James and the coalition of attorneys general urge Congress to take proactive steps to protect ART services. Nearly two percent of all babies born in the U.S. each year are conceived using ART and New York was among the top 10 states in 2021 with the most births using ART – 4.1 percent of all infants born were conceived using ART. However, the cost of ART services can be prohibitive, and insurance policy definitions of “infertility” can be limiting, especially for LGBTQ+ couples. 

The average cost of ART services such as IVF in the U.S. is approximately $20,000 a cycle, but that number can increase depending on a patient’s medical protocols, or if a patient undergoes multiple cycles. Currently, only 21 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws related to fertility insurance coverage, but the terms vary state by state, and insurance policies can preclude patient access. The Access to Family Building Act would make ART services more accessible to families of all types by guaranteeing patients the right to ART without prohibition or unreasonable limitation or interference, encouraging health insurance providers to cover these services, and ensuring that patients have the right to make their own determinations and decisions regarding their reproductive genetic materials. 

Today’s action is the latest in Attorney General James’ efforts to protect reproductive rights. In March, Attorney General James co-led a multistate coalition of attorneys general and filed an amicus brief with the United States Supreme Court in Idaho v. U.S. and Moyle v. U.S., urging the court to maintain a preliminary injunction that required Idaho hospitals to provide emergency abortion care consistent with the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA). In January, Attorney General James led a coalition of 24 attorneys general urging the U.S. Supreme Court to protect access to Mifepristone, an abortion medication. In December 2022, Attorney General James secured a court order to stop the militant anti-abortion group Red Rose Rescue from blocking access to abortion care in New York

Joining Attorney General James in sending this letter to Congress are the attorneys general of Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai'i, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.  

The letter was prepared by Senior Advisor for Special Initiatives Melanie Weniger and Special Counsel for Reproductive Justice Galen Sherwin of the Executive Division, which is overseen by First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy.