Infertility impacts 1 in 8 couples*, yet many in the “fertile world” don’t understand the pain of infertility. It strains your marriage, your finances, your relationships, and your sense of self-worth. It’s particularly difficult when you are having trouble getting the medical assistance you need to build the family you so desperately dream of. While there are resources that can help, insurance doesn’t universally cover assisted reproductive treatment in every state across the U.S., leaving many people without access to the options they need to start their family.
Each May, Resolve (the National Infertility Association) and ASRM (the American Society for Reproductive Medicine) host a fertility-focused Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill. Fertility patients, doctors, nurses, embryologists, genetic counselors, surrogates, adoptive parents, IVF children, and more come together in Washington D.C. to talk to members of Congress about increasing access to family building options and financial relief. CooperGenomics was proud to have a few members of our team there this year as well, fighting for better access to fertility care.
Whenever someone registers for Advocacy Day, no matter how they were impacted by infertility, Resolve says their day can be described with, “Three E’s”. Exciting. Empowering. Eventful.” After being there for my fourth year in a row, I can say with confidence that is true (I’d also add a fourth ‘E’, Exhausting, but in a good way!). Appointments are scheduled for you based on what state you reside in and you are given meeting times to sit down with your local representative and/or state senators to speak to them about why this issue is important to you and what particular bills or legislation brings you there that day. This year, we tackled some vital issues including:
- Access to Care for Veterans: Permanently make IVF and adoption support available through the VA for veterans with service-related injuries affecting their ability to build a family (Women Veterans & Families Health Services Act, S 700/HR 1681)
- Adoption Tax Credits: Permanently make the adoption tax credit refundable to help those with fewer financial resources afford to adopt a child in need (most through the foster care system) (Adoption Tax Credit Refundability Act of 2017, S 937/HR 2476)
- PCOS Recognition: Pass the resolution that federally acknowledges PCOS Awareness Month; this resolution passed in the Senate, so we asked the House for its support as well. (PCOS Resolution, H. Res 864)
- Research for Fertility and Women’s Health: Request that a certain amount of money be set aside in a recent appropriations bill for research funding related to reproductive disorders such as infertility, PCOS, and endometriosis
For me, the highlight of Advocacy Day this year was the introduction of the Access to Infertility and Care Act by Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut and Senator Cory A. Booker of New Jersey. This bill would help provide fertility treatment coverage to MILLIONS of Americans. It is history in the making and one of our genetic counselors, Jenna Miller got to meet the representatives who co-sponsored this bill that could potentially redefine fertility coverage for 7.4 million* (as seen in our featured picture).
Even though Advocacy Day is once a year, infertility impacts millions of Americans each and every day. CooperGenomics is passionate about educating and empowering individuals and helping them on their journey towards starting or growing a happy, healthy family. We also want to work to ensure everyone has access to the treatment they need. This is why we advocate on our patients’ behalf. We also encourage YOU to advocate for yourselves since, as we learned on Advocacy Day, few things are more powerful than a patient sharing their own personal stories.
To learn more about the above bills and legislation and other advocacy issues, please visit Resolve’s How to Get Involved link by clicking here.
* 2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth, CDC