California Creates Baby-Selling Market Through “In Vitro Fertilization for All”

COMMENTARY Life

California Creates Baby-Selling Market Through “In Vitro Fertilization for All”

Jun 20, 2023 5 min read
COMMENTARY BY
Emma Waters

Research Associate, Richard and Helen DeVos Center

Emma is a Research Associate in the Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Life, Religion, and Family at The Heritage Foundation.
The bill encourages same-sex couples and single persons to “build” a child through private insurance plans. Jill Lehmann Photography / Getty Images

Key Takeaways

A bill redefines infertility to allow it to apply even to a single person or same-sex couple and requires most health insurance plans to provide IVF coverage.

The push to redefine infertility—to make it a matter of personal feeling or preference—traces back to a radical LGBTQ+ group.

Once a man purchases the egg, the womb, and the necessary paperwork, the line between a legitimate fertility service and outright baby-selling dissolves.

The latest trend to come from leftist lawmakers and the reproductive industry alike should shock everyone with a conscience: selling babies. For the sexual Left, children are no longer a gift received in marriage. Instead, they are a right that one may purchase based on the needs and desires of adults.

A bill in California redefines infertility to allow it to apply even to a single person or same-sex couple and requires most health insurance plans to provide in vitro fertilization, or IVF, coverage. IVF is a process that includes fertilizing an egg in a lab to create an embryo and implanting it in the mother or a surrogate.

Until now, most insurers have defined a couple as infertile if they don’t conceive after 12 months of regular, unprotected sex. By definition, then, a “couple” means a man and a woman.

In an upcoming hearing, however, the Assembly Health Committee will discuss what it means to be infertile. In this bill, it’s described as “a person’s inability to reproduce either as an individual or with their partner without medical intervention.” This redefinition allows a single person or same-sex couple (or throuple?) to be entitled to infertility treatment. Not because their bodies are infertile, but because their relationship is.

In short, the California bill would require insurance companies to fund the illusion that men can, indeed, have babies. Why? Because even single men, men who identify as transgender women, or men in same-sex relationships would be eligible for insurance to pay them to use their sperm, purchase an egg, and rent a womb to make a baby.

If passed, Senate Bill 729 will require plans “to provide coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of infertility and fertility services.” The bill prohibits insurance companies from discrimination based on race or gender identity. Neither dictates a person’s fertility.  

The bill would also, in effect, mandate baby markets, since it explicitly requires insurance companies to cover IVF for virtually everyone—and those who aren’t biological women will require surrogates for their IVF.

IVF is cost-prohibitive for many people. With inflation, it’s estimated that a single round can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000. The process can take several rounds to produce a successful pregnancy. Add in legal, medical, and surrogate fees, and costs can quickly reach up to $225,000 to have a child using this process.

It’s unclear whether egg, sperm, or embryo donation, or a gestational surrogate qualifies for coverage. The bill doesn’t require insurance companies to cover egg or sperm donation or surrogacy. It does ensure, however, that persons who use these “third party” donor services cannot lose their right to IVF insurance coverage.

The push to redefine infertility—to make it a matter of personal feeling or preference—traces back to a radical LGBTQ+ group. Men Having Babies devotes itself to helping gay men become fathers through education. So, it’s no surprise that it promotes the commercial surrogacy “rent a womb” industry.

In 2021, Men Having Babies persuaded the state of Illinois to redefine infertility. Now, the state provides insurance coverage for gay couples and single persons. At present, California, New York, and Minnesota are considering similar legislation. In 2022, the organization worked with Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff and Judy Chu to propose a federal bill to redefine infertility. Instead of mandating health insurance coverage, this failed bill intended to have the IRS provide tax deductions for IVF.

Men Having Babies argues that providing gay men with IVF coverage is a matter of “fertility equality.” It considers it a necessary step in removing what it calls “reproductive discrimination” from the U.S. legal system. But this is wrong-headed. To count as discrimination, lawmakers must prove that a person’s biological sex isn’t important as to whether they can have babies.

Only a man and a woman can conceive a child without a smorgasbord of interventions. Same-sex couples and single persons can’t do this naturally. No amount of technology or health insurance coverage can alter God’s created order.

It’s one thing for the law to allow gay men to use IVF or surrogacy. It’s another thing for California’s bill to provide them with financial incentives through mandated insurance coverage. The bill encourages same-sex couples and single persons to “build” a child through private insurance plans.

The harms from such a policy are severe:

  • It exploits women by renting their wombs with commercial surrogacy contracts.
  • It creates children in relationship arrangements it knows will be much more likely to be anxious, depressed, and at risk for physical and sexual abuse compared to children raised by their natural, married mothers and fathers.
  • It increases the cost of insurance for everyone.
  • It reinforces the myth that a synthetic same-sex coupling is equivalent to the natural family.
  • And it ignores side effects for kids conceived through IVF, including cancer, heart issues, and physical deformities like cleft pallet.

The greatest harm, however, is this: The bill plainly states that any person has the right to create a child, even if they are not biologically able, and forces others to pay for it. If one merely identifies as infertile, the Golden State is keen to require insurance companies to write the check for treatment. Once a man purchases the egg, the womb, and the necessary paperwork, the line between a legitimate fertility service and outright baby-selling dissolves.

What is “only” insurance coverage for IVF today becomes the human trafficking market of tomorrow. California lawmakers who still have access to their consciences must reject this “build a child” monstrosity for the sake of the children.

This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal