‘We are fighting for those rights’: Local mom pushing for fertility coverage in NC, SC

FORT MILL, S.C. — One in eight couples who want to start a family struggle with infertility, and in many states -- including the Carolinas -- insurance companies are not required to cover treatment.

Facing infertility is an emotional -- and expensive -- journey, but there’s a push to break down the stigma and silence that surrounds it.

A Fort Mill mother told Channel 9 anchor Allison Latos that after she struggled to have children, she’s on a mission to make it easier for others.

“I just wanted a healthy baby,” Caryn Rich said.

She created a journal documenting her journey to motherhood that started in 2005.

She and her husband faced infertility and turned to invitro fertilization, commonly referred to as IVF.

“You can make a good living and it can still decimate you,” Rich said.

“How much money did you spend trying to have children?” Allison asked her.

“Hundreds of thousands of dollars that we didn’t have,” Rich answered.

Many couples struggle to afford the treatment, which often isn’t covered by insurance companies.

“Why is it that insurance companies cover all kinds of surgeries and conditions? This is a disease. Infertility is a disease,” Rich said.

Nineteen of 50 states have mandatory fertility coverage, but neither South Carolina nor North Carolina do.

“We are fighting for those rights,” Rich said.

She is currently working with Resolve, the National Infertility Association, sharing her story directly with Rep. Ralph Norman and Sen. Tim Scott’s offices.

After thousands of dollars and five miscarriages, Rich’s family is complete. Now, she hopes her story will make the journey easier for others.

Channel 9 contacted the offices of both Norman and Scott, asking if they support legislation to address infertility treatment.

A spokesperson said Norman has a lot of questions about the reasons insurance doesn’t often cover infertility, if requiring it could infringe on religious beliefs of business owners, if it could impact premiums for all and if federal tax credits might be a better option.

There’s a lot to flesh out but conversations are happening.

(WATCH BELOW: Parents struggling with infertility in limbo due to COVID-19 crisis)