A gay couple in New York is suing the Big Apple government because, under the city’s current insurance policy, they did not qualify for fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization and surrogacy.
Corey Briskin, a former assistant district attorney for the City of New York, and Nicholas Maggipinto claim they have a right to parenthood even though their biology together doesn’t allow for it, which is why they, along with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), have filed a class-action complaint against the City of New York. They think that because both of them are male and are biologically incapable of naturally procreating, they meet the medical definition of infertile and are thus entitled to insurance that will cover the costs of using a woman to have a baby.
Both men went to law school, have well-paying jobs, and live together in a wealthy part of Brooklyn, but neither of them wanted to foot the $200,000 it will cost to buy a woman’s egg, fertilize that egg into an embryo, and rent a woman’s womb to carry the baby to term. That’s when they inquired about using Briskin’s insurance to cover the expensive procedures.
Under NYC’s insurance policy, infertility is defined as “an inability to have a child through heterosexual sex or intrauterine insemination.” Considering the fact that procreation in gay relationships is physiologically impossible 100 percent of the time, male couples such as Briskin and Maggipinto who desire parenthood are disqualified from receiving taxpayer-funded fertility assistance.
The couple claims this is discrimination and says they feel especially left out because lesbians and single women still qualify for some of the assisted reproductive technology procedures.
“The policy is the product of a time when there was a misconception, a stereotype, a prejudice against couples that were made up of two men — that they were not capable of raising children because there was no female figure in that relationship,” Briskin said.
Except that’s not “a misconception,” “a stereotype,” or “a prejudice” to say that children need mothers and fathers.
Bragging about having a “motherless family,” as Maggipinto does in the article, directly contradicts what plenty of studies suggest about parenthood: Children who are born and raised by their married biological mother and father are more likely to lead healthier, safer, and better-educated lives well above the poverty line.
On the contrary, adults who engage the commercial fertility industry to create children using donated gametes and a gestational carrier automatically manufacture a biological distance between themselves and the baby they commission.
Additionally, these adults enable an industry that loans vulnerable and sometimes cash-strapped women out to people who have enough money to manufacture a child according to their preferences. The women are compensated for their time and efforts, but their bodies and minds often undergo significant, permanent, and anxiety-inducing changes that cannot be remedied with cash. Similarly, the babies that are ripped away from the women who nurtured them for nine months can suffer from increased stress and even brain structure alterations due to the abrupt separation.
The Guardian notes that if Briskin and Maggipinto win the lawsuit, “employers and health insurers across the US will be under pressure to change their policies to give gay men the same access to fertility benefits as anyone else.”
It’s complaints like this one from Briskin and Maggipinto that fuel an industry that is comfortable erasing a woman’s role in the marvelous act of procreation and putting children at an automatic disadvantage in life.
Already, gay couples claiming discrimination are winning legal battles to commission the creation of children using other peoples’ biological matter. Earlier this year, the United Kingdom’s National Health Service began offering no-questions-asked, taxpayer-funded assisted reproductive technology to lesbians and single wannabe mothers after a lesbian couple sued the NHS for discrimination.
Prior to the overhaul, women who wanted to create a baby using a sperm donor were required to try intrauterine insemination on their own dime six times before the government would consider them in need of taxpayer-funded assistance. Now, lesbian couples will no longer have to prove their fertility status before they can commission the creation of a fatherless child.
Why is this problematic? Well, in addition to contributing to all of the moral and ethical concerns linked to sperm and egg supply, serial embryo creation via IVF, and surrogacy, the popularization and enabling of “social infertility” is only contributing to the expansion of Big Fertility. This industry, which profits from the negative effects it has on babies and women, is predicted to be worth $56.18 billion by 2028.