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In vitro fertilisation with preimplantation genetic testing: the need for expanded insurance coverage

Abstract

Technological advances in genetic testing have enabled prospective parents to learn about their risk of passing a genetic condition to their future children. One option for those who want to ensure that their biological children do not inherit a genetic condition is to create embryos through in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and use a technique called preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) to screen embryos for genetic abnormalities before implantation. Unfortunately, due to its high cost, IVF-with-PGT is out of reach for the vast majority of Americans. This article addresses an issue that has been underexplored in the medical ethics literature: the lack of insurance coverage for IVF-with-PGT.Within the US system, a key concept in insurance is that of medically necessary care, which broadly consists of diagnostic services and treatment services. In this article, I argue that IVF-with-PGT could be classified as either a diagnostic service or as a treatment service. To make this case, I show that IVF-with-PGT is similar to other types of services that are often covered by US insurance providers. In light of these similarities, I argue that the current system is inconsistent with respect to what is—and is not—covered by insurance. To promote consistency and fairness in coverage, like cases should be treated alike—starting with greater coverage for IVF-with-PGT.

  • in vitro fertilisation and embryo transfer
  • genetic screening/testing
  • genethics
  • genetic information
  • ethics

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