Medical treatments for infertility are increasingly expensive and difficult to navigate, rendering a growing number of women in Illinois unable to access the care necessary to start or grow their family. In response, members of the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus held a press conference Wednesday to highlight legislation they are championing to make infertility treatments like IVF and preservation services more accessible.

“A failure by insurance companies to recognize and respond to women’s health needs is yet another barrier women have to overcome to access necessary care,” said State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin). “Removing the financial barriers to diabetes, obesity and infertility treatment will help men and women across Illinois live healthier lives.”

In response to the growing number of Illinoisans who struggle to afford the care needed to diagnose and treat infertility, Castro is sponsoring legislation to tackle the cost. Senate Bill 2572 would require employers with more than 25 employees to provide coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of infertility in women, along with coverage for injectable medicines that improve glucose levels for those diagnosed with pre-diabetes, diabetes or obesity.

“Many women, including myself and those close to me, experience profound anxiety about running out of time to start a family and facing barriers to preserving their fertility,” said State Senator Natalie Toro (D-Chicago). “Requiring insurers to cover expenses for standard fertility preservation for all, not just those diagnosed with infertility, will give people the security to explore their options about having a family without facing emotional and financial stress.”

State-regulated health insurance plans are only required to cover standard, evidence-based fertility preservation services — such as cryopreservation — when deemed medically necessary, making these treatments largely inaccessible due to their high cost.

To make fertility preservation services and treatment more accessible, Toro is leading a measure to expand insurance coverage for Illinois patients. Senate Bill 2623 would require insurers to cover expenses for standard fertility preservation and follow-up services for any interested patient, not only those who have been diagnosed with infertility.

“Ensuring access to fertility treatment is not just a matter of health care—it’s a commitment to the fundamental right of individuals to pursue the dream of parenthood,” said State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Frankfort). “It is our duty to ensure policies are in place that empower and support every person on their journey toward creating a family.”

To remove barriers that prevent many couples in Illinois from receiving coverage for IVF treatment, Hastings is championing Senate Bill 2639. The measure would require insurance companies to provide coverage for fertility treatments recommended by a licensed physician approving the covered individual to seek these treatments. Currently, insurance companies can require a patient to complete other procedures and test before receiving coverage for IVF, even with a licensed physician’s recommendation.

The Senators will work over the coming months to pass the measures.