Connecticut First State With Fertility Preservation Coverage

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signed into law this week, legislation (HB 7124) to require insurance coverage of fertility preservation for insured individuals diagnosed with cancer, or whenever this treatment is medically necessary. The bill unanimously passed the House in late May and unanimously passed the Senate earlier this month.

Specifically, the new law amends the existing insurance requirement for infertility coverage in the state by changing the definition of infertility. Previously, it was defined as “the condition of a presumably healthy individual, who is unable to conceive or produce conception or sustain a successful pregnancy during a one-year period.” The new law removes the words “presumably healthy” from the definition, and extends it to include those for whom fertility services are “medically necessary.” The new definition means the condition of an individual who is unable to conceive or produce conception or sustain a successful pregnancy during a one-year period or such treatment is medically necessary.

The changes apply to individual health insurance policies providing coverage delivered, issued for delivery, amended, renewed or continued on or after January 1, 2018.

Championing an original version of the bill, was State Rep. Matthew Lesser, a cancer survivor who elected to preserve his gametes prior to cancer treatment. Also instrumental in the bill’s passage was patient advocate Melissa Thompson who was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer just five weeks after giving birth to her daughter. Melissa was empowered to work to advance the bill after learning that she would have to freeze her eggs if she wanted more children but that insurance would not cover the fertility preservation procedure. ASRM applauds both Rep. Lesser and Melissa Thompson for channeling their personal experiences into an advocacy awareness campaign that brought about access to this vital care for cancer patients, and others.

ASRM sent out the following press release today.

Statement of Richard J. Paulson, MD
President, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

“We applaud the leaders in Connecticut for passing a first-in-the-nation bill to mandate insurance coverage that will allow cancer patients to access treatment to protect their fertility. Thanks to advances in oncology, more and more patients of reproductive age are beating their cancer. Often, these treatments end or impair their ability to have children after successful completion. Working with our oncology colleagues we can, in many cases, preserve the fertility of these patients. Too often, lack of insurance coverage creates a financial barrier that keeps patients from getting access to these fertility preserving treatments. Thanks to passage of this precedent setting legislation, patients in Connecticut will not have to choose between their own health, and their ability to have children.”

Dr. Nulsen Published

Recently published in Fertility & Sterility, Dr. John Nulsen’s study “Freeze-only versus fresh embryo transfer in a multicenter matched cohort study: contribution of progesterone and maternal age to success rates.”The study concluded that freeze-only transfer protocols are associated with statistically significantly higher ongoing implantation and pregnancy rates compared with fresh transfer cycles. This effect is most pronounced for cycles with progesterone >1.0 ng/mL at trigger and may also be stronger for older patients.”

Preserve Fertility: Need Your Help

We wanted to provide a quick update on fertility preservation legislation in Connecticut – the bill that was pending there has passed the CT Assembly unanimously and will be heading to the state Senate this week. The language of the bill has been amended so that it changes the existing definition of “infertility” to also include procedures that are “medically necessary.” The language is broad and may, therefore, lend itself to coverage of fertility preservation procedures for iatrogenic infertility arising from conditions other than cancer.

At this stage, any and all support from CT residents is needed! There is a tremendous patient advocate who we have been working with/in contact with regarding the entire process. Please see the website she created for additional information:

Any calls, letters, emails to state senators would be incredibly helpful.

Thanks for your support!!

Dr. Benadiva Promoted To Full Professor at UConn

The Center for Advanced Reproductive Services is pleased to congratulate Dr. Claudio Benadiva on his promotion to Full Professor in the Clinician Scholar category of the UConn School of Medicine and are proud to have him as part of our team.

The Medical School Committee voted on March 1 and the Provosts office unanimously decided to grant the promotion. This recognition is the result of Dr. Benadiva’s continued high level of performance for an extended period of time, including but to limited to:

•  Grant funding

•  Potential for grant renewals

•  Committed to academic mission of the School of Medicine

•  Membership in multiple study sections

•  Holding elected positions in regional and national societies

•  Record of independent investigations consistent with growth in future years.

 In addition, the committee evaluated Dr. Benadiva’s:

•  Local, regional and international recognition in Reproduction, Endocrinology and Infertility field of medicine

•  Contributions to graduate medical education thru his involvement with medical students, residents and fellows

•  Clinical accomplishments in patient care

•  Other supportive activities such as committees in medical societies and other outside awards and recognitions, etc.

Dr. Benadiva is the Director of the IVF Laboratory at The Center for Advanced Reproductive Services. In addition to being a Fulll Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology at UConn Health, he is a Fellow of the American College of Ob/Gyn, and is Board Certified in Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility.

Dr. Benadiva is among the very few physicians who are certified by the American Board of Bioanalysis as a high complexity laboratory director, making him uniquely suited to integrate both clinical and laboratory protocols in an IVF program. He has been awarded “Best Doctor in America” every year since 2001. In 2004, Dr. Benadiva received the prestigious “Family Building Award” from the American Fertility Association and was selected by The Consumers’ Research Council in America to be included in their 2004–05 and 2008-09 editions of the Guide to America’s Top Obstetricians and Gynecologists. He has been awarded “Top Docs for Women” by Connecticut Magazine, and “Greater Hartford’s Top Docs” by Hartford Magazine every year since 2004. More recently, he has received the ASRM 2012 Star Award, presented at the ASRM 68th Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA.

Dr. Benadiva graduated from the University of Buenos Aires in 1981 and completed his residency in Ob/Gyn at UConn Health. He completed fellowships at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and The New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center. Dr. Benadiva has done extensive research in Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology since 1986. He continues to lecture nationally and internationally, with a special interest in ovulation induction for IVF, PGD, and methods for prevention of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome.

Dr. Benadiva receives honor

Last night, Dr. Benadiva and his wife, Lee Ann, were honored at the Ner Tamid Gala at the Solomon Schecter Day School of Greater Hartford, for their contributions to the school community. Many of the Center’s team was there to acknowledge this great honor and celebrate with his family.


Seeking Medical Assistant

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Support the NestEgg Foundation

The NestEgg Foundation, an organization that provides financial grants for IVF treatment for those who have been unable to start their families due to financial need, is now partnering with the Travelers Championship Birdies for Charity program, a unique fundraising program to get excited about! Birdies for Charity is a pledge-based fundraising program based on the number of birdies made by the PGA TOUR professionals during the Travelers Championship. The Travelers Championship will donate 100% of the proceeds from your donation to Nest Egg Foundation, Inc. For 2017, the organization’s goal is to raise $10,000, enough to cover one grant. Please help their mission by donating through the Birdies for Charity program today.


About Birdies for Charity

Dr. Engmann Speaks On Oncofertility

Dr. Engmann recently spoke at a symposium to educate clinical health professionals on current oncofertility research protocols for fertility preservation in male and female cancer patients.

Cancer and its treatment have the ability to reduce or impair the person’s ability to have children. Despite this, fertility preservation options are not routinely presented to patients prior to the start of cancer treatment. In fact, sometimes a patient is never told about this possibility until they try to start having children and run into issues.

The Center for Advanced Reproductive Services is a select member of the Oncofertility Research Consortium, an exclusive nationwide group of researchers who are dedicated to the advancement of technologies that will provide improved fertility preserving options to cancer patients with threatened fertility. This special membership allows for participation in and access to the latest clinical research, expanded knowledge of all issues related to cancer treatments and fertility, and to be on the forefront of discovering new technologies and methods that successfully preserve fertility.

Erica Anspach Will, MD, Published in Fertility and Sterility

Congratulations to Erica Anspach Will, MD, a 3rd year REI fellow at the Center and UConn School of Medicine, for her journal article published in Fertility and Sterility this month!

The objective of the article entitled “Increasing awareness of age-related fertility and elective fertility preservation among medical students and house staff: a pre- and post-intervention analysis” was to assess medical students’ and house staff’s knowledge and personal and professional perceptions of age-related fertility and fertility preservation before and after an educational intervention.

The study found that despite professional and personal interest, knowledge of age-related fertility decline and elective fertility preservation is limited among medical students and house staff. This study highlights the need for formal education across all levels of training and specialties, with even brief interventions being of potential benefit.

Additional authors included Bat-Sheva Maslow, MD; Leah Kaye, MD; and John Nulsen, MD from the Center for Advanced Reproductive Services, Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT.