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Lawsuits & Litigation

Gay New York Couple Files Lawsuit Demanding IVF Coverage for Same-Sex City Employees

— May 9, 2024

The lawsuit challenges the New York City’s insurance carrier’s definition of “infertility,” which excludes all male same-sex couples from receiving IVF-related benefits.

A former New York City prosecutor and his husband have filed a class-action lawsuit against New York City, alleging that its policy of excluding gay men from in vitro fertilization coverage is unlawful.

According to The Guardian, plaintiffs Corey Briskin and Nicholas Maggipinto claim that the city’s definition of “infertility” discriminates against same-sex male couples.

Both men work for, or have worked for, the city since 2017. Under the terms of their employment, they were entitled to healthcare coverage through EmblemHealth. However, when Briskin and Maggipinto began researching options to conceive, they found that EmblemHealth’s policy specifically excludes all gay men from receiving IVF coverage.

The policy, writes The Guardian, defines “infertility” as the inability to conceive a child after engaging in unprotected heterosexual intercourse for 12 or more months. It also includes concessions for women who fail to conceive through intrauterine insemination—thereby potentially extending benefits to same-sex female couples.

New York City street; image by Wiggijo, via
New York City street; image by Wiggijo, via

In their lawsuit, filed two years after submitting a complaint to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Briskin and Maggipinto cite the revised definition of infertility provided by the American Society of Reproductive Medicine. This definition, unlike that used by EmblemHealth, states that infertility is a result of any “disease, condition or status” that “requires medical intervention” to achieve conception.

If the claim succeeds, it could set a precedent compelling the extension of IVF coverage to all gay men receiving similar insurance benefits.

“If our legal position in this case is upheld, it will mean that the inclusive definition of infertility that the ASRM has set forth would be the law of the land,” said attorney Peter Romer-Friedman, who is representing both plaintiffs. “It will send a strong and resounding message to employers across the country that they have to provide these benefits, and they could be on the wrong side of enforcing action if they refuse.”

The lawsuit observes that the costs of IVF and surrogacy—which typically range anywhere between $177,950 and $261,550—are simply too high for most couples to pay without assistance.

“There is no reasonable alternative to IVF for gay men seeking to conceive biological children,” the lawsuit alleges. “When benefits are not available from an employer or a healthcare plan to cover the cost of IVF for people who are unable to conceive through male-female sexual intercourse, that substantial financial burden ordinarily forecloses their opportunity to ever have biological children.”

The lawsuit, if certified as a class-action, could include thousands of couples: New York City directly employees about 300,000 people, with its EmblemHealth coverage extending to 1.25 million people.


A gay couple couldn’t access IVF benefits. They’re suing New York City.

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IVF Gender Discrimination Litigation (Briskin v. City of New York)

NYC sued for denying gay employees in vitro fertilization coverage

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