Fertility coverage should be applied equally, according to a discrimination complaint against NYC by a Brooklyn couple.
Corey Briskin was an assistant district attorney in Manhattan when he and his husband Nicholas Maggipinto decided it was time to have a child, in 2017. For two men, the process would involve using donor eggs, their sperm, and in vitro fertilization (IVF). The resulting embryo(s) would then be put into a surrogate to carry the child. According to the couple’s fertility doctor, the entire process usually cost about $200,000.
There was no question of the surrogacy being covered by Briskin’s city health plan, and it wouldn’t be for another other couple. But the plan did explicitly cover IVF.
Except not for them.
Their insurance plan required that an employee seeking IVF coverage first prove they were infertile. For a woman with a male partner, that proof is 12 months of trying and failing to conceive. For a woman using other fertility options, it’s defined as failing to conceive after 12 cycles of intrauterine insemination. But there is no way for two men with a surrogate to meet these criteria.
“Now it’s crystal clear in my view — I know I’m biased — but this is discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation,” said Maggipinto, who is also a lawyer.
Both men are lawyers and Maggipinto, who works for a private firm, makes a good salary, but they cannot afford the process without some help from fertility coverage. They reached out to NYC’s Office of Labor relations and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office to request a change, but were turned down. So the lawsuit is their last option.
“It’s incredibly disappointing that the City of New York, which has for a long time been a leader on issues of LGBTQ equality and social justice more generally, would not even be interested in talking with someone [about how to remedy the situation],” said Peter Romer-Friedman, the couple’s attorney who filed the EEOC complaint.