By Tiffany Stratz
There are so many emotions we feel through working with patients to achieve building their families. Providers and patients become very connected along this infertility path, as most of you reading this know. I wish there was a switch we could just flip to cure infertility, but until then we must support one another and spread awareness. Over the course of months and years we build a relationship with our patients. After a patient’s failed cycle, I am left feeling helpless. I always come back to the question “what else can I do?”. When I learned of the annual Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill, led by RESOLVE: the National Infertility Association, in partnership with the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, it was like a bulb went off. THIS is what I can do!
I was excited about the possibilities that Advocacy Day could provide for our patients. As the days started approaching, my excitement turned into self-doubt and fear. How could I, a medical assistant from Vermont, go to Washington DC and speak with members of Congress? I was feeling pretty inexperienced politically, compared to seasoned advocates and lobbyists. I had to remind myself over and over again that I can do this because of how much I truly care about our patients and wanting to help make anything better for them.
Then came the BIG DAY! 246 advocates–the most ever–attended Advocacy Day to support policies that would help those struggling to build their families. Nearly half of these people were first time attendees like me. It is hard to put into words what being a part of Advocacy Day felt like. You can honestly feel the immense energy radiating from the whole group. Some of us were professionals, some were infertility warriors, friends and loved ones, but all of us were advocates. We laughed, cried, and made special bonds in the name of infertility. I was beyond excited, empowered, and determined to create change. Doing something new can be scary, but it is also very rewarding and life changing. Advocacy Day has given me the opportunity to speak on the behalf of our patients and do more for them. My passion for patient care has given me a platform for advocacy. I am eager and curious to learn more about not just our federal laws but also what is going on here right in our own back yard. With the help of Resolve and RESOLVE New England, I know I will be able to stay involved.
At your first Advocacy Day you hear about how it’s going to feel, how you’ll get hooked and come back time and time again. These could not be truer words!
Tiffany Stratz lives in Essex Junction, VT. She works at Northeastern Reproductive Medicine and spends her free time hiking, reading, and cooking.