Health insurance companies do not pay for sperm banks

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Cryopreservation: Health insurance companies do not pay for sperm banks Health insurance companies have long been willing to freeze female egg cells for artificial insemination. However, men are not entitled to such payment for preserving their sperm, even if they are at risk of infertility due to an illness.

Unfit to conceive through chemotherapy and radiation therapy A 42-year-old man from the Koblenz area who had been diagnosed with cancer of the rectum had accepted his doctor's advice and had his sperm cells cryopreserved due to the potential for fertility due to chemotherapy and radiation therapy . Cryopreservation is the storage of cells by freezing them in liquid nitrogen. The process allows the vitality of the cells to be maintained almost indefinitely and puts the biological system in the physical state of a solid. The cells can then be thawed again at any time and resume normal physiological processes. However, storing the cells in so-called cryobanks is correspondingly expensive.

Plaintiff has no claim to assumption of costs The plaintiff's health insurance company, the Barmer GEK, did not want to assume the costs of storing in the sperm bank, and so the man up to the Federal Social Court (BSG) in Kassel. After the lower courts had already rejected the insured person's concerns, the responsible judges at the BSG now judged that the freezing and storage of sperm cells was fundamentally the responsibility of the patient (file number: B 1 KR 26/09 R). The plaintiff now has to pay the costs of 687.25 euros for the first twelve months of storage alone.

Women and men - unequal treatment in the event of impending inability to conceive. The plaintiff's lawyer sees considerable unequal treatment of male and female insured persons and emphasized: "His bad luck is that he has to store his genetic material outside the body". In the case of women from whom ovarian tissue is removed before cancer therapy and frozen in order to be able to restore conception later through reimplantation, the health insurers must pay. So the BSG had only decided at the beginning of the year (Az .: B 1 KR 10/09 R). The reason the judges judge the situation of men differently from that of women is that statutory health insurance only has to pay for concrete artificial insemination and for treatments that enable natural fertilization again. In the present case of precautionary going to the sperm bank, however, neither is given, according to the ruling of the Senate. (fp, 28.09.2010)

Also read:
Health insurance: right to dentures
Photo credit: Michael Grabscheit /

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Video: How to: At home inseminations


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