AUSTIN, TEXAS—JUNE 14, 2023—The Livestrong Foundation, dedicated to increasing awareness, sharing inspiration and helping cancer survivors address the everyday challenges of cancer care; applauds the signing of Texas House Bill 1649, The Medically Necessary Fertility Preservation Act, into law today by Governor Abbott. The new law will require state regulated health benefit plans to cover fertility preservation services for patients receiving medically necessary treatment which may impair fertility in adolescents and young adults.
“After working on this issue for over six years in the State of Texas and nationally, we are thrilled that this bill has become law,” said Dr. Meg Moore, vice president of Mission & Programs, Livestrong. “Each year about seven thousand young Texans are diagnosed with cancer. The cancer treatments that save their lives may end their dreams of parenthood. This can be devastating for a cancer survivor. This bill will help our young neighbors focus on their health while preserving their parenting options.”
Chemotherapy, radiation and surgery can damage reproductive capacity and endocrine systems. If a young cancer patient hopes to have biological children in the future they must act quickly and before their cancer treatments begin in order to avoid permanent infertility. Without the coverage provided by this bill, these expenses may range up to $15,000 for egg banking; making this an expense that is out of reach for many cancer patients.
“When I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at age 25, my oncologist said I needed to start chemo right away. I was given one month to freeze my eggs before chemo. That’s it. I had one shot,” Nicole DeBusk, Cancer Survivor. “My health insurance deemed egg harvesting and storage ‘experimental,’ and told me I would be financially liable for any such procedures. The costs were enormous. I was lucky to have found Livestrong’s Fertility Program which covered my costs, but fertility preservation should be an available benefit to young cancer patients regardless of where they live.”
DeBusk and thousands of other cancer survivors have utilized Livestrong’s Fertility Program which assists with information, resources and financial support to survivors whose cancer and its treatment compromises their fertility. More states are considering similar laws that would require medical insurance providers to include fertility preservation benefits for cancer patients.
“I couldn’t find the time or energy to confront the more long-term results of cancer, such as the ability to have children. Now I am engaged, and I still find comfort that my eggs from when I was 25 remain preserved and ready to go when we decide to start a family,” said DeBusk.
The Livestrong Foundation in coordination with the Texas Medical Association, American Society for Reproductive Medicine, and the Texas Hospital Association along with many more organizations helped to educate and advocate for this law on behalf of the thousands of young people and their future families.
To learn more about Livestrong’s Fertility Program, visit our Fertility Program Page.
To read Nicole’s Survivor Story, visit our blog, Livestrong Voices.
Founded in 1997 with the purpose of finding solutions to the most overlooked problems in cancer care, Livestrong has invested more than $610 million in more than 590 cancer programs and initiatives; served and supported more than 10.9 million people; helping save them more than $96.7 million in healthcare related costs; and have pledged $50 million to the Livestrong Cancer Institute at the Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin. Livestrong.org.