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DATA

How Did Removing the Age Limit to IVF Treatment Affect Access to Care in Connecticut?

E. Neuber, M.S. Yohe, A. Bartolucci

August 1, 2019
Bridget Houlihan

On October 1, 2005, the Connecticut Senate Bill No. 508 passed through the CT Senate and the House of Representatives, which required insurance carriers to cover IVF treatment costs. Since 2017, 15 states have introduced legislation that would mandate the coverage of fertility treatments. This mandate would cover assisted reproductive technology (ART) such as IVF treatments, and provide insurance covered assistance to women seeking fertility treatment. The CT law came with a stipulation however, that the coverage is limited until the date of the woman’s 40th birthday. Thankfully for couples seeking fertility treatment in CT, this stipulation was repealed in 2016 and now insurance companies are required to remove all age limits, as studies have repeatedly shown that IVF treatment is effective in women over 40 years of age.

Infertility treatments have helped many couples become parents, but the procedures can be quite costly. IVF cycles can range anywhere from $12,000-$17,000, which leads some states to wonder if insurance plans should cover them. The chance of conception and pregnancy via IVF depends on many factors, including the age of the woman and whether or not her eggs are used in the process. It is also important to note that IVF pregnancies can also be at a higher risk of complications as well.

This study examined how lifting this age barrier has impacted women seeking infertility treatment in CT who are over the age of 40. In this article we will:

  • Learn the what benefits came from lifting the age limit
  • See how access to fertility care in CT has affected women

Hypothesis

The researchers set out with a hypothesis that once the age restrictions of the CT mandate were removed, there would be more women over the age of 40 who would take advantage of the insurance-covered IVF treatment. They also conjectured that in the future, more and more women over the age of 40 would take advantage of this treatment. As more women are made aware through their providers that IVF treatment is covered for their age group, they may consider participating in the treatment themselves.

Lifting the age mandate has increased women’s access to IVF treatment.

Results and Discussion

Relying on the information in the eIVF databases, the researchers were able to discern that from 2015-2017 the amount of total IVF procedures increased nationally from 43,447 cycles to 62,610 cycles. They also found out that not only did the total amount of IVF cycles increase, it also increased for women 40 years and over. The percentage of over 40 IVF cycles in 2015 was 26.3%, and increased to 26.4% in 2016. In 2017 the percentage of over 40 women requesting IVF treatment had increased to 28.3%. This could be attributed to not only an increase in overall procedures, but also due to the age mandate being lifted from the procedure as well.

The same trend was seen when observing cycles to retrieval in Connecticut. From 2015-2018, researchers viewed a significant increase in the amount of women age 40 and over with cycles to retrieval, beginning in 2016 when the age mandate was lifted. In 2015, 12.6% of cycles to retrieval were for women age 40 and over, while in 2017, women over 40 accounted for 25.7% of cycles to retrieval. The increase in both the number of IVF cycles and the cycles to retrieval show that not only are more women interested in receiving IVF treatment, but more women age 40 and over are as well.

What does this mean for potential IVF patients?

The median age of the residents of many of Connecticut’s municipalities rose over the past ten years, and now rests at 40.8 years. As the results of this study show, women over the age of 40 are in most need of access to IVF treatment, and they are interested in receiving it. Although the likelihood of pregnancy after 40 is lower than at other ages, there is still a viable chance for IVF to be successful. At the end of 2015, CT enacted on a large scale campaign to notify and inform women of the age mandate change, and it has proven to be very  successful if the results of the data are any indication.

Women over 40 are capable of successfully completing IVF treatment, and women should not be barred from this procedure due to their age. The results of this study should be encouraging to all women who are seeking out IVF treatment, especially those that are older. It is also shows that by eliminating a restrictive age mandate, a state can offer their residents access to insurance covered care that they are in need of.

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