Advocacy Day 2019 Recap: Uniting Our Voices for Infertility
Every spring, RESOLVE: The Infertility Association, in partnership with the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, provides a platform, Advocacy Day, for infertility advocates from all over the country to gather in Washington, DC.
To speak to legislators about the 1 in 8 couples faced with reproductive disease, also known as infertility.
Members of the Connecticut State Delegates (including RMA of Connecticut team members, Lisa Rosenthal, Shaunda Brown and Kyle Tzanetis) went to speak to the Connecticut legislators -- US Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy/Representatives John Larson, Joe Courtney, Jahana Hayes, Rosa DeLauro and Jim Himes.
Our aim was to discuss the bills and explain that we were representing their constituents wishes for them to sign on and help pass these bills this year.
Four Bills We Want Our Connecticut Legislators to Sign
This year there were four bills:
- Access to Infertility Treatment and Care Act (HR 2803/S 1461)
- Every Child Deserves a Family Act
- PCOS Awareness Month Resolution (HR146)
- Women Veterans and Families Health Services Act of 2019 (HR 955/S319).
We also spoke to our legislators about increasing NIH and NICHD funding for research.
What Can You Do?
Share your story, anonymously is fine! Email Lisa Rosenthal at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi. I'm Lisa Rosenthal and I'm the Patient Advocate for Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut. Last week, my colleagues, Kyle Tzanetis and Shaunda Brown, and I were honored and privileged to go to Washington DC to join our voices and that of Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut to RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and ASRM, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, to talk to our legislators about matters that affect one in eight couples: infertility, reproductive disease.
One of the things that we are asking our legislators to cosponsor is an access to Infertility Treatment and Care Act. Currently, there are only 15 states in the United States that have a state mandate, Connecticut being one of them, some of them are good, some of them are not as good, but mainly, it doesn't actually cover all of the people in the United States who are entitled to coverage for something that is a disease. Remember that infertility is not a lifestyle choice; we didn't choose it. Infertility is reproductive disease just like any other kind of disease.
I want to give a thank you to Rosa DeLauro, a congresswoman in the state of Connecticut, and Senator Cory Booker from New Jersey for cosponsoring this act and taking this very vital issue of infertility so seriously.
So we're standing with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, ASRM. We are standing with them and we are asking you to stand with us in asking our legislators to provide the kind of care that is necessary for reproductive disease. We hope that you are not one of the one in eight couples that are affected by infertility, but if you aren't, then the chances are that you know somebody who is.
Though Connecticut is very progressive and we have an A-plus rating when it comes to our Connecticut state mandate, we have a lot of work to do when it comes to federal regulations. Our veterans benefits are federally regulated, meaning, they do not have access to the Connecticut state mandate. When they do come to a fertility practice for care, they will have to proceed so out of pocket.
A prime example of this is Senator Tammy Duckworth. While on active duty she was injured, and unfortunately when she wanted to proceed with her family building journey, she had to do so out of pocket. If we work together to make
this bill permanent, it will give access and coverage to all of our veterans. It's very disheartening to have a sit-down and explain to someone who put their life, their safety, and their relationships on the line to let them know that they
do not have the access to the same care that I do. So I ask that you stand with us and with RESOLVE and getting the Senate Bill 319 and House number 955 permanently enacted and making sure that all of our veterans have fertility
As I mentioned earlier, the Connecticut state mandate is very helpful, but our veterans do not have access to it through the VA. The VA does however offer coverage for IUI cycles, but for a patient who needs more aggressive treatment such as IVF, they will have to pursue this care out of pocket and on their own. It's very disheartening at this time when a physician tells a patient what treatment is necessary and then they have to compare it to what their insurance
coverage is and make a decision based on their coverage, not based on their medical needs. At that time, it's more so that the insurance is advising the way a patient should proceed with their family-building journey instead of the
What do we want you to do? We want you to call your legislators, we want you to look up RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association. We want you to make your voice heard in either small ways or big ways. Speaking to your legislator and letting them know that their constituents, you, all of us care about infertility and care about our veterans and care about our foster children will send them a powerful message. So we want you to call, and we want you to make your voice heard.
About Lisa Rosenthal
Lisa has over thirty years of experience in the fertility field. After her personal infertility journey, she felt dissatisfied with the lack of comprehensive services available to support her. She was determined to help others undergoing fertility treatment. Lisa has been with RMACT for eleven years and serves as Patient Advocate and the Strategic Content Lead.
Lisa is the teacher and founder of Fertile Yoga, a program designed to support men and women on their quest for their families through gentle movement and meditation.
Lisa’s true passion is supporting patients getting into treatment, being able to stay in treatment and staying whole and complete throughout the process. Lisa is also a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, which is helpful in her work with fertility patients.
Her experience also includes working with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and The American Fertility Association (now Path2Parenthood), where she was Educational Coordinator, Conference Director and Assistant Executive Director.