Congresswoman Sara Jacobs (D-CA-53) shared her decision to freeze her eggs in a story published today by CNN. Congresswoman Jacobs, 32, is the second youngest woman in Congress, and decided to publicly share her story in order to help destigmatize the process, encourage other people to speak openly about their path to parenthood, and highlight the need for legislation to expand access to fertility treatments and reproductive care.
Congresswoman Jacobs is a cosponsor of legislation to expand health care coverage and is pushing for investments in the care economy to be included in the Build Back Better Act. She began the treatments and process for freezing her eggs in August and will have her initial retrieval this week.
In her interview with CNN’s Daniella Diaz, Congresswoman Jacobs emphasized the need for financial accessibility of fertility treatments, and the importance of choices for all prospective parents.
Congresswoman Jacobs releases the following statement:
“I wanted to share my story because this is an issue that so many of my friends and peers are going through, yet not something that we hear our leaders talk about.
“We need to be able to talk about fertility, reproductive health, and how there’s still very little work life balance in this country. Thinking about when you want to have kids, the barriers or problems you might face at work, the right timing - these are real conversations that people, especially women, are having all the time.
“For so long, our entire workplace culture and our health care system was based around straight men who had someone else doing most of the caregiving. This is why we need more young people, young women and LGBTQ+ people in Congress, because the high cost of fertility care, fertility preservation and the challenges facing young parents aren’t always on the agenda. I’m proud to cosponsor legislation to expand access to fertility care and to support measures like paid family leave and universal child care that will empower more people to build families and careers and make the choices that are best for them.
“This is the right choice for me right now. I love serving in Congress and I know I want to start a family someday. There are many different ways to start a family and we need to make sure that everyone can have the options to make the choice that is best for them.”
Congresswoman Sara Jacobs is a cosponsor of The Access to Infertility Treatment and Care Act (HR 4450), a bicameral bill to expand health insurance coverage of infertility services and treatment. The legislation would require most private plans, as well as Medicaid, TRICARE, and the VA, to cover fertility treatments without raising insurance or copayment costs, and would expand coverage for fertility preservation measures, like egg freezing.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, while some fertility coverage, including fertility preservation, has begun to be more common in some large employer plans, only 15 states require private insurance to cover some fertility care and the scope of coverage is typically limited and only one state Medicaid program, New York’s, covers any fertility services. According to one estimate, 80% of people who seek fertility care have little or no insurance coverage for their services. Congresswoman Jacobs is paying for her procedure out of pocket.
The popularity of fertility preservation treatments have increased dramatically in the last decade and reporting by Time shows that in 2020 egg freezing and other procedures continued to rise in popularity during the pandemic. .