As of now, by state law in Hawaii, married heterosexual couples can get financial help for in vitro fertilization (IVF). Due to the way that the law is worded, the law excludes LGBT couples and single individuals from gaining equal access to this funding. But that could soon change.
LGBT couples in Hawaii are currently pushing for new legislation that would allow LGBT couples to have access to these funds, including male same-sex couples who would like help with fertility treatment for surrogates.
One couple behind the fight, Sean Smith and Kale Taylor, paid $20,000 for the IVF procedure for their surrogate that brought them their son. If they had been a heterosexual couple, the cost would have been lower.
“At the end of the visit, I would be going into the office and pulling out my credit card, and other people are probably just walking out and insurance is picking up the tab,” Smith said. “We had to borrow money, refinance a second mortgage, and I’m sure there are people who don’t even explore the option because the expenses are too great.”
Barbara Collura, president and CEO of Resolve, a national organization that advocates for access to fertility treatments said, “Now that marriage equality is the law of the land and is accepted, now let’s turn to family building, and let’s figure out how we fix all these inequities that exist.”
She added, “It’s an often-overlooked way that people choose to build their family, and it should not be left out. It’s great to see that Hawaii is taking the lead.”
The new law has passed the Senate and is up for a vote in the House this week. The only opposition to the bill is Kaiser Permanente Hawaii who has cited that a law change would raise costs. They’ve been asked to be removed from the bill due to “complex legal issues and medical risks associated with donor eggs and surrogates.”