By Erin Lasker, Executive Director
This past Wednesday, May 8, 2013, I attended RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association’s Advocacy Day in Washington, DC. I was surrounded by 115 people ready to share their personal, professional and emotional stories of how infertility has touched each of us. Speaking for the 7.3 million Americans – 1 in 8 couples of childbearing age – dealing with infertility, we descended on Capitol Hill after an inspiring morning hearing from Senator Murray and a number of other speakers to get us motivated for the day.
But if you are anything like me, we didn’t need the motivation; having gone through infertility is motivation enough to let our U.S. Senators and House Representatives know about the two important bills currently proposed that will help those dealing with infertility: The Family Act (S 881/HR 1851) and the Women Veterans and Other Health Care Improvement Act of 2013 (S 131/HR 958). Read more about both of these bills here.
The day itself was amazing; walking the halls with other constituents, staff members and U.S. Senators and House Representatives is an experience unlike any other. To know that you are making a difference for others that can’t be present, to know that you are helping to shape our government policy, and to have your voice heard is empowering.
Advocacy Day is once a year, yet that doesn’t mean that we should be silent the remaining 364 days of the year. One day is not enough and that is why we ask you to speak up for yourself and let your government officials know how infertility impacts you and your family.
I met an inspiring woman at Advocacy Day who brought letters from over 100 people that couldn’t make it to Washington, D.C. yet they wanted to have their voices heard. I wanted to share one of the letters from her husband and I do believe that we are making a difference!
I suffer from infertility.
Before we adopted our first son, my wife Aprill and I spent four exceedingly long years struggling with ambiguity, frustration, anxiety, the seeming total loss of control over our own life decisions, incessant visits to reproductive specialists, and incessant searching for a “better” solution to an unexplained problem. All punctuated by failed pregnancy test after failed pregnancy test and multiple painful miscarriages (pain felt in an immense psychological and point-of-view-altering way, not to mention the requisite physical pain for Aprill).
None of it worse perhaps than that first positive result. The one that sent us to Babies”R”Us for “Life is Better at Grandma’s” and “Grandpa’s Little Sidekick” infant pajamas and bibs with which we were to use to surprise our parents about their coming grandchild. And surprise we did… a bit too prematurely it would turn out. As that, like many of our other “successful” trials, would result in another crushing miscarriage.
In those four years, we witnessed the near total destruction of the dream we shared with each other during the late night conversations of our relationship’s infancy. We wanted to start a family. We wanted to raise children, to hear true unvarnished belly laughter, to clean spit-up, to be in awe of a simple toothless smile, to witness and envy a child’s rapid growth, to teach, to impart knowledge and values, to give back in some way what our parents had given to us. Who knew it would be so contrived a process, so precisely-timed and scientific?
Fortunately, we have been blessed with good standing in life. The means to purchase a good second insurance plan with ample infertility coverage and to cover some of our own out of pocket costs. This however, as you are probably well aware, is not the situation for many of the 7.3 million women and men with infertility. Many will never have the options that we did when exploring alternative, non-traditional means to start a family…despite wanting it just as much as we. The Family Act is a good step and can help many.
I ask for your support in co-sponsoring the Family Act, S 881. The Family Act creates a tax credit for the out-of-pocket costs associated with infertility medical treatment.
I appreciate your time and thank you for your support of S 881, the Family Act. And thank you for helping millions of Americans build their families.
If you want to have your voice heard, please visit RESOLVE New England’s Advocacy Page to learn how you can make a difference.