We saw a void in young adult cancer care, and we searched for a way to fill that void. Read more about our advocacy project to protect parenthood for patients in Maryland.
Starting the Conversation
Fertility has always been a unique issue for young adult cancer patients. We spent many years putting fertility protocols in place at hospitals, partnering with fertility organizations to offer free and discounted storage for our patients, and even offered some financial assistance for initial costs. But we knew we could have a bigger impact with fertility preservation costs continuing to rise.
Going to the Capitol
We had an idea. What if insurance plans covered fertility preservation for young adult patients in Maryland? There were other bills popping up in state houses in Connecticut and Rhode Island. Mandating that insurance companies cover this cost could make a huge financial impact on already strained young patients.
If at First You Don't Succeed
We quickly organized testimonials, found bill sponsors, and testified before a committee with the help of our friends at the Alliance for Fertility Preservation. There were many supporters in the state house, but our late start during the legislative season made it hard to get the support we needed. The bill died in committee, but we were not discouraged. We planned to return for the next year.
We spent the next months, when Maryland Legislature was out of session, talking with our community – doctors who treat young adults, fertility specialists, people who didn’t have the chance to preserve their opportunity for parenthood. We gathered more data on the impact this bill could have on 3000 young adults living in Maryland – at the cost of 23 cents per person.
Reaching Our Goal
In early 2018, we were ready. We went back to Annapolis with our supporters and told their stories. They spoke about the decisions they were forced to make about whether they could afford to save their chance for a family – all while also facing a cancer diagnosis. The committee and ultimately the Maryland Legislature overwhelmingly supported our bill. On May 15, 2018, Goverenor Hogan signed the bill into law. Starting January 2019, Maryland mandates that health insurance must offer coverage for young adult cancer patients seeking to preserve their fertility.