Minnesotans who struggled with infertility and being able to afford treatment packed a room at the State Capitol on Wednesday, some carrying their fidgety babies, to support legislation that would require health plans to provide coverage for infertility treatment.

Hoisting their daughter Isla in their arms, Miraya and Andy Gran shared how their heart-wrenching journey with infertility spanned nine years and involved numerous fertility treatments and miscarriages. Miraya said they owed tens of thousands of dollars for infertility treatment since insurance wouldn't cover it, and they had to take out a second mortgage on their home.

Baby Isla was finally born three years ago, the result of an in-vitro fertilization (IVF) round that the Grans paid for after they organized a fundraiser. The Grans hope to have a second child one day, Miraya said, "but that may not be in our future without insurance coverage."

"Please give those suffering from infertility the family-building opportunities they deserve," Miraya said during the Wednesday news conference.

Minnesota would be the 22nd state to require insurance providers to help cover the high cost of infertility treatment if the DFL-controlled Legislature passes the bill. The proposal would require insurance companies to cover up to four egg retrievals and unlimited implantations.

About 1 in 8 couples struggle to conceive or sustain a pregnancy.

Several Democrats in the state House and Senate are backing the proposal, which hasn't yet received a hearing. The bill's sponsors say they expect it to be a priority.

"We know that people are experiencing infertility and there are medical services available to them to treat it. It is a disease for some people, like anything else, and health insurance should cover it, plain and simple, public and private," said state Sen. Erin Maye Quade, DFL-Apple Valley, the bill's sponsor.

Lucas Nesse, president and CEO of the Minnesota Council of Health Plans, said the Legislature should consider the proposal's cost and broad impact on health care affordability before taking it up. And he said the council believes any mandate for private insurers should also apply to state public programs.

"We have been and will continue working closely with the Minnesota Department of Commerce to provide legislators clear information as they consider this proposal," Nesse said in a statement.

Maye Quade said she and her wife spent $12,000 on treatment to get pregnant before she joined the Senate.

Barb Collura, president and CEO of Resolve: The National Infertility Association, said affordability is the greatest barrier for many couples.

"For many families, an infertility diagnosis is not the largest barrier to becoming a parent. Sadly, it's the out-of-pocket cost of that treatment. Lack of insurance coverage is the Number 1 barrier to care," Collura said.

The state of Minnesota and some other large self-insured employers offer infertility benefits, but many health plans do not.

A single round of IVF, the most effective treatment for many infertility causes, can cost as much as $20,000.

"Without requiring insurance coverage for infertility, the ability to build a family depends on your ability to pay. On a daily basis, I witnessed this inequity," said Dr. Chandra Shenoy, a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist at the Mayo Clinic.

"I've waited for years for a bill like this to help my patients," Shenoy added.

Most of the Minnesotans who brought their babies to the capitol credited infertility treatments for their conception.

Bailey DeVetter said she had to travel to New York to find more affordable IVF treatment.

"The clinic that was in Syracuse was actually a third of the cost of any clinic in Minnesota, and that was with travel expenses, time off from work, hotel, et cetera, all included," DeVetter said. "That was the only way that we were going to be able to afford to start our family."

State Rep. Jeff Brand, who's sponsoring the bill in the House, said the legislation fits into the DFL's agenda of trying to make life more affordable for Minnesotans. The experiences of people like DeVetter, who's one of Brand's constituents, show why Minnesota needs to pass a bill, he said.

"Thinking of the toll, the cost, the travel ... all that time and energy involved, when we can just pass a piece of legislation where any Minnesotan can get that done affordably," Brand said. "That is definitely something that I'm interested in doing."