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Conn. requires coverage of infertility aid

Age 40 cutoff spurs concern

STRATFORD, Conn. -- A new law to take effect Saturday, will make Connecticut the 15th state to mandate insurance coverage for infertility treatments. But it will become the only state to deny the benefit to women 40-and-over, and women's advocates are concerned that more states will follow suit.

''Our feeling was, we'd rather not see an age requirement in statute," said Julie Salz Greenstein, director of government relations for Maryland-based RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association. ''We'd rather that be left up to the patient and their physician."

Most states that mandate infertility coverage don't have age limits, although New York cuts off coverage at 44 and New Jersey ends coverage at 46.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, success rates for women who use assisted reproductive technology decline steadily once they reach their mid-30s.

A CDC report, released in January and based on 2002 data, found that 37 percent of women age 35 years and younger, who used their own eggs with some form of treatment, had a successful pregnancy. That percentage dropped to 11 percent among women aged 41-42 and 4 percent among women older than 42.

Legislators and advocates said they hope to reopen debate on the issue in the next legislative session, but insurers are expected to oppose any adjustments.

''Really, the rationale was a need to figure out a way to manage the significant cost implications of this mandate, and try to cover the treatment where it was most likely to produce the best results," said Keith Stover, a lobbyist for the Connecticut Association of Health Plans.

Greenstein said RESOLVE is also concerned about a provision in the new law that limits the number of embryos implanted in a woman's uterus to two for each in vitro fertilization treatment.

Connecticut is the only state that limited the embryos to reduce the number of possible multiple births, she said.

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