Dr. Joshua Hurwitz, Partner and board certified Reproductive Endocrinologist at Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT), tells about his experience discussing a fertility preservation bill at the State Capitol in Hartford Connecticut. - Lisa Rosenthal
It is tremendously difficult for me to leave the office even for an afternoon due to my heavy patient schedule. Last Wednesday, February 15th, however, I was actually excited to move my calendar around at the last minute- even though it felt like moving heaven and earth to make it happen- in order to meet with our Connecticut state representatives in a closed door session in Hartford. I joined Melissa Thompson, a fellow passionate activist and cancer survivor, in our shared mission to get fertility preservation procedures covered by insurance carriers for patients newly diagnosed with cancer.
There is a psychological “double blow” for these patients: their doctor first tells them they have cancer, then informs them that the life-saving treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation can also leave them infertile afterwards. This is a lot to take in all at once and often a decision needs to be made in a very short time about treatment. On top of that, most insurance carriers do not cover the medically necessary treatments like oocyte cryopreservation (egg freezing) or embryo cryopreservation that cancer patients need to build their families after their treatments.
Fertility Preservation for Cancer Patients
Fertility preservation for cancer patients is something I am extremely passionate about in my everyday practice and I was very excited to be part of the process to compel insurance carriers to cover it before the initiation of cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation. This was my first experience with the legislative process. There is a whole world of lawyers, lobbyists and elected officials and I was never aware of how they get their jobs done. It was eye-opening to say the least. While much of our discussion centered on fiscal responsibility, when it comes to preserving fertility and reproductive autonomy for men and women with cancer, that all goes out the window for me.
I am happy to say that our group was able to share our passion for family-building with our elected officials. Medical need and the human conscience requires us to act and help right now to secure fertility and reproductive rights for everyone, and today we were able to advance the cause. I am proud to have been part of this mission.
More later this week on this bill and one woman who is using her skills, compassion and passion to ensure that people do not have to choose between life-saving medical treatment and their families.