As the head of Midwest Reproductive Center (MRC), Dr. Dan Gehlbach works to diagnose and treat couples struggling to conceive. Recently, Dr. Gehlbach began crusading for the Family Act of 2011, a critical piece of legislation that would offer a tax credit for infertility treatments related to IVF, in vitro fertilization. To show his support, Dr. Gehlbach has contacted Republican Kevin Yoder, the 3rd Congressional district representative.
Through his efforts at MRC, Dr. Gehlbach helps patients overcome physical, hormonal and age-related barriers to getting pregnant. One hurdle that is often challenging for couples to rise above is the financial impact of fertility treatment.
"Most people don’t realize how expensive these treatments can be," explained Dr. Gehlbach. "This bill would ease some of the financial burden."
Of particular concern are military families, who have government-issued insurance. The TriCare plan usually only covers the costs of infertility treatment at a military base. While some private fertility clinics accept this particular plan, many military families must take on the added expenses themselves.
Dr. Gehlbach, who is a West Point graduate, passionately believes in supporting the men and women who give so much for this country. "Those serving in our armed forces regularly put their lives on the line for our freedoms and endure the agony of separation from loved ones. I don’t want anything to prevent these heroes from having the children they desire."
With the Family Act of 2011, couples undergoing infertility treatments would receive a $13,360 fertility treatment tax credit. This bill is similar to the current adoption tax credit, which gives $13,000 per adopted child. National infertility groups like RESOLVE have offered support for the proposed legislation.
Gehlbach explained why this tax credit is so important. "Because fertility treatments aren’t covered by many insurance plans, a fertility tax credit would assist with the costs of in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and other related therapies."
If the bill passes, the Family Act of 2011 would give eligible taxpayers a credit of 50 percent of qualified infertility treatment expenses incurred during the tax year. Eligible costs would include expenses related to IVF as well as treatments to preserve reproductive health in advance of medical procedures that may impact fertility, such as cancer treatment. The credit would cap at $13,360 per year.
For Stephen and Traci Linville, this bill would have helped offset the costs of conceiving their 18-month-old daughter. After surgery to correct male infertility failed, the Linvilles underwent in-vitro fertilization with intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) following a testicular biopsy. With TriCare, they had no coverage, so the couple borrowed money for their infertility treatment.
Stephen served 22 years in the Army, and the couple still has TriCare insurance, which means they will incur similar expenses when they try for a second child later this year.
“It was such a high cost for us,” Traci explained. "I’m not sure how other people do it. We had to decide where we were going to sacrifice in other areas financially to afford treatment. A bill like this would have lessened our stress and financial burden."
Dr. Gehlbach has taken the lead by reaching out to Representative Yoder, and he is also encouraging staff members and patients to contact their Senators and Representatives in support of this bill. To encourage activism, the Midwest Reproductive Center Facebook page provides a link that patients can access for letter writing.
“By contacting our Senators and Congressional Representatives, we are making our voices heard so that our elected officials know that this tax credit is important,” said Dr. Gehlbach. "The Family Act of 2011 could provide the means for many Americans, not just military families, to begin or expand their families."
Estimates suggest that one in eight couples – or over 7.3 million Americans – experience male or female infertility. Through advanced diagnostic techniques and proven therapies, including fertility preservation, IVF and ICSI, Dr. Gehlbach has helped thousands of Kansas City area residents overcome infertility.
"Struggling to conceive is difficult enough. We want to make the process as easy as possible for people to realize their dreams," Dr. Gehlbach said.
About Midwest Reproductive Center
With over 60 years of combined experience, Dr. Dan Gehlbach and the team at Midwest Reproductive Center have created a world-class fertility clinic that serves residents of Olathe, Kansas City, Lawrence, Jefferson City and beyond. Dr. Gehlbach has helped hundreds of patients in the Kansas City area address their infertility issues and achieve successful pregnancies. For more information about the clinic, please visit http://www.midwestreproductive.com.
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