On May 14, 2015, 17 Shady Grove Fertility physicians, staff, and patients convened with over 170 advocates from 27 states and Washington D.C., including advocates from California, Washington, and Alaska, to support legislative initiatives to assist the 1 in 8 couples who experience infertility at Advocacy Day.
Day on the Hill – Advocacy Day 2015
The day began with an in-depth training session provided by RESOLVE to prepare the infertility advocates for the long day ahead, lobbying on Capitol Hill. As advocates, it was our responsibility to properly explain and represent those who face unexpected difficulties as they embark on the path to parenthood and how the bills presented would enable more people to have access to treatment and ultimately have the family of their dreams.
“Infertility is often misunderstood, or at best, poorly understood by those who have not experienced it. On Advocacy Day, patients, volunteers, and professionals have the opportunity to educate legislators from all 50 states that infertility is in fact a disease affecting both women and men. The trained advocates educate legislators and their staffs about infertility legislation before Congress, provide additional and personal insight, and ask for support to pass various bills,” said Gilbert L. Mottla, M.D., of Shady Grove Fertility’s Annapolis, MD, office.
Making a Change with National Partners
A Visionary Partner of RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and a sponsor of Advocacy Day, SGF asked members of Congress to support three important issues this year that affect the infertility community: The Women Veterans and Families Health Services Act of 2015, the National Public Health Action Plan for the Detection, Prevention and Management of Infertility, and the Adoption Tax Credit Refundability Act of 2015.
Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland was particularly interested in the Women Veterans and Families Health Services Act of 2015 which would provide veterans wounded in the line of duty with access to assisted reproductive technologies (ART) and adoption assistance as well as expand fertility treatment options to spouses. Making spouses eligible for treatment would allow the VA to provide comprehensive care for both veterans and their families. While SGF provides a Military Discount Program for service members, TRICARE or the Veterans Administration does not cover in vitro fertilization (IVF). This bill seeks to change that by expanding available treatment and care.
The National Public Health Action Plan for the Detection, Prevention and Management of Infertility— drafted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and released in June 2014—identified a number of scientific and programmatic steps for the CDC, non-governmental organizations, healthcare providers, and others, to implement to help increase infertility awareness. This action plan was first introduced by RESOLVE during Advocacy Day 2011. Shady Grove Fertility and other advocates urged Congress to support the Plan, which will need funding.
Finally, advocates sought support for the Adoption Tax Credit Refundability Act of 2015. While this tax credit has existed since 1997, refundability provisions are not currently in place. Establishing those provisions would provide lower-income families with the ability to adopt and support a child from foster care.
To get involved and stay in touch, join the Shady Grove Fertility or RESOLVE mailing list. You can also get involved by attending and fundraising at the upcoming Walk of Hope.