The Alliance for Fertility Preservation (AFP) commends the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) for including coverage for fertility preservation in its annual call for benefit and rate proposals from Federal Employee Health Benefit (FEHB) Program carriers. This coverage would allow for fertility preservation services related to infertility caused by medical treatment (iatrogenic infertility).
The FEHB Program is the largest employer-sponsored group health insurance program in the world, covering almost 9 million people including federal employees and their family members. OPM’s Call Letter conveys the policy goals and initiatives for the FEHB Program for 2022.
In asking its insurers to include this important benefit, the OPM joins ten states and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Veterans Health Administration in implementing coverage that would protect young adult cancer patients from treatment-induced sterility by allowing them access to services including sperm and egg banking.
The following is a statement from Joyce Reinecke, Executive Director of the AFP:
For too long young cancer patients have been asked to accept the loss of fertility and their chance for future parenthood as a tradeoff to undergoing life-saving cancer treatment. We now have proven, effective, medical interventions that can spare them from this unnecessary loss. Without insurance coverage, however, patients who do not have the means to pay for these services upfront are often denied this opportunity.
The AFP applauds the courage of the OPM leadership in calling for an end to this inequity and for taking steps to protect their employees from this avoidable outcome. Young people diagnosed with cancer now have an 85% chance for survival, and they deserve to have all of the side effects of their cancer treatment addressed, including potential reproductive damage, in order to hasten their return to as complete a life as possible after cancer.
The AFP estimates that in the United States, approximately 160,000 people between ages 0-44 are diagnosed with cancer each year. Most of these patients will face treatments including chemotherapy, radiation, and/or surgery that can damage reproductive cells (eggs and sperm), reproductive organs, or impact the ability to carry a pregnancy. Because this damage treatment-based, it can affect patients with any type of cancer. Patients with other conditions requiring similar therapies are also at risk.
Fertility preservation is now considered part of the standard of care for age-eligible patients. Guidelines supporting fertility preservation have been issued by the relevant medical associations, including the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), and the American Medical Association (AMA).
The Alliance for Fertility Preservation is a 501c3 charitable organization made up of a team of professionals who have chosen to join together to advance the field of fertility preservation. Our members are recognized leaders with expertise in all aspects of fertility preservation including, oncology, reproductive endocrinology, urology, psychology, oncology nursing, and reproductive law. For more information visit: allianceforfertilitypreservation.org