Gay couple challenges NYC IVF policy in discrimination lawsuit

The couple was shocked when they discovered three years ago that inquiries about IVF coverage were met with a flat-out denial.

Edric Robinson

May 14, 2024, 12:55 AM

Updated 15 days ago


Nicholas Maggipinto and his partner Corey Briskin recently filed a lawsuit against New York City, arguing that the city's refusal to provide IVF coverage to gay employees violates their rights.
“We thought it was an oversight,” said Nicholas Maggipinto.
The couple said they are eager to start a family. They were shocked three years ago when they discovered that inquiries about IVF coverage were met with a flat-out denial.
“Despite all of the sacrifices a public servant makes in order to do really righteous work, those sacrifices are amplified when the city tells some of its employees, i.e. gay male couples and single gay men employees, that they are not eligible,” said Briskin, a former public sector employee.
The two married in 2016 and started saving for surrogacy, but because of the city’s coverage denial they had to tap into that savings early, which has caused delays.
“We can’t do anything with our surrogate until we have an embryo to transfer into the surrogate, so that's why we had to pause our process, and it’s taken longer because we have to continuously save funds that we spent during the IVF portion,” said Briskin.
The couple stresses the lawsuit is not just about their own situation but also about advocating for all individuals who have been denied IVF benefits.
“All other groups of people except for gay men can effectively qualify on a routine basis for IVF benefits if they want to grow their families biologically, but because of the way New York City defines fertility in an outdated stereotypical way, Corey and Nicholas and other gay men cannot,” said Peter Roman-Freidman, one of their attorneys.
Roman-Freidman emphasizes that the suit wants to see a change in that policy and compensation for anyone denied in the past.
“We allege that the city’s conduct violates several different laws: the federal Title VII law that prohibits sex and sexual orientation discrimination in employment as well as New York state equivalent laws,” added Roman-Freidman
“I have a friend right now whose husband is a public school teacher. I paid $9,000 on Friday for medications that she paid $270 under the plan,” said Maggipinto.
Despite delays, Briskin and Maggipinto say they have identified a surrogate through self-funding. They’re now moving toward an embryo transfer, partially they say because Briskin no longer works in the public sector.
“My intention was to stay in the public sector, but because of the denial of these benefits, it became impossible for me to stay,” said Briskin.
“The most important parts about this case is that there are career public servants school teachers, NYPD … the people who make this city run every day who without access to IVF. They don’t get to make the decision about starting children, the decision is made for them,” said Maggipinto.
As the lawsuit unfolds, the city is expected to respond, with potential outcomes ranging from dismissal to trial or negotiation for a settlement.

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