You’re Invited to Join Us for A Virtual Advocacy Day
Every year, RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and ASRM (the American Society for Reproductive Medicine) organize Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill, where fertility patients, doctors, nurses, embryologists, genetic counselors, surrogates, adoptive parents, and those passionate about helping the infertility community come together to talk to members of Congress about increasing access to family building options and financial relief.
Last year, due to the pandemic, we could not attend this event in Washington, D.C., but that did not stop a record number of advocates lobbying virtually. In 2020, 385 advocates from all 50 states participated in over 262 meetings with Senators, Representatives, and committee staff. In addition, advocates collected over 5,730 letters which were delivered to Congress members.
It demonstrated that while we may not have had a physical presence, it didn’t stop us from making an impact! This year will again be virtual and held on June 17th, 2021 (registration to attend ends on June 3rd).
Infertility affects 1 in 8 couples, and Advocacy Day is an opportunity for you to share your journey and make a difference. When you register, RESOLVE makes your appointments for you, and no experience is necessary! If you want to educate your elected officials on the disease of infertility, RESOLVE will make sure you have the training and information you need to make the most impact when speaking to lawmakers.
The Issues Discussed on Advocacy Day
Congress needs to hear from people like you and me. When you share your fertility journey, it puts a face to every problem those trying to build their families face. Here are just a few topics that are discussed on Advocacy Day:
- Increasing Insurance Coverage: Cost is the number one barrier to medical treatment, as 46% of people have not insurance coverage for infertility, according to a 2012 RESOLVE survey. To improve access to care, we must remove financial obstacles to care.
- Covering Fertility Preservation: Each year, tens of thousands of people are diagnosed with cancer in their reproductive years, most of which are at risk for iatrogenic (or medically induced) infertility from their cancer treatment. Iatrogenic infertility may also affect people undergoing treatment for sickle cell anemia, lupus, and other autoimmune diseases.
- Infertility Discrimination: Not many know that infertility discrimination is covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Just like pregnancy is protected, so too is infertility discrimination. In 1998, the U.S. Supreme Court stated that reproduction is a “major life activity” and conditions that interfere with reproduction should be regarded as disabilities per the American Disabilities Act. Based on recent settlements, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reinforces the rights of individuals undergoing fertility treatments to have their employers provide reasonable accommodations, including excused absences. Learn more about infertility discrimination at EEOC’s Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination and Related Issues (Section I (A)(3)(c).
- LGBTQ+ Legislation Initiatives: This supports that anyone struggling to build a family, including the LGBTQ+ community, should also have access to all family building options and reach their resolution.
My Experience as a Returning Advocate
As a proud advocate who has attended Advocacy Day more times than I can remember now, I have to share how inspiring the day is. Yes, it’s a lot of work, and a day full of talking, juggling meetings, but it takes all of those years of negative pregnancy tests, hormone injections, and feelings of helplessness and turns it into positive action.
When we see our work move the needle in terms of educating not just the public but lawmakers on how much infertility is a tremendous financial strain and an emotional strain, that means we help make the road that much easier for those who will be infertility treatment after us.
While my family building journey has reached its conclusion, I still attend because I vividly recall how painful it was to wonder where I would get the finances for another cycle. I also know that while I was deep in the trying to conceive trenches, quite honestly, I don’t think I could have advocated for myself or anyone else the way that I can now. For that reason, I’m proud to represent those who are now where I was then.
One of the reasons I’m always proud to work with CooperSurgical is they, too, are passionate about advocacy. They not only work to educate and empower individuals to have a healthy family, but they go the extra mile and participate in Advocacy Day each year to help fight for access to care.