“The time is now to get organized, be loud and show up. Family-building issues are bi-partisan and we need to find support where we can.” That’s the rallying cry of RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association which created the annual Advocacy Day event to bring together the infertility community to discuss important issues with members of Congress.
Advocacy Day in Washington, DC provides an opportunity for patients and health professionals to remind policymakers that infertility is a medical disease (as determined by the World Health Organization and all the major reproductive medicine societies in the world) that needs to be treated and requires access to affordable coverage. Major issues that will be discussed on Capitol Hill this year include: increasing insurance coverage, covering fertility preservation, family-building options, financial relief, opposing personhood laws and helping veterans. Learn more about these issues.
In addition to educating members of Congress on critical issues, Advocacy Day offers a chance to meet others in the infertility community who share your concerns, including RESOLVE’s leadership.
RESOLVE has made it easy for you to participate by offering all the advice, training, tools and resources you need to join Advocacy Day. If you’re able to travel to DC, RESOLVE will make your appointments on Capitol Hill and offer guidance on telling your story and explaining why members of Congress should pay attention to infertility issues. Their special Advocacy Day webpage includes a variety of resources to help volunteers prepare for Capitol Hill meetings, what to expect, travel tips, an Advocate’s Guide to Survival, FAQs, material for professionals, how to get your doctor to attend and more.
Once you register for Advocacy Day, RESOLVE will send information on their Training Call. If you miss the conference call, you’ll still be able to download a recording.
For the second year in a row, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), the professional society of infertility specialists, is partnering with RESOLVE and will be critical to getting their members to participate as advocates. In person meetings with members of Congress are especially persuasive when health professionals also join in. Family-building professionals are also welcome to participate.
ARC Fertility also participates with Advocacy Day each year: our member clinics across the country undertake their own letter writing campaign to members of Congress adding their voice and expertise to the discussion.
Effective advocacy calls for communicating directly with your members of Congress to share why specific infertility issues are important to you. Whether you go to DC or not, send letters directly to your two Senators and your representative, by filling out this online form to generate three constituent letters.
Last year, Advocacy Day brought together 241 registered advocates from 30 states and DC. A wide cross section of people including teachers, military members, lawyers, writers, nurses, accountants, retail associates, doctors, business professionals, assistants, CEOs, and scientists were also joined for the first time by health professionals, thanks to the sponsorship and coordination of ASRM.
So, in case you need a little extra persuasion before making your travel plans this year, know that last year’s participants found the shared experience of educating members of Congress alongside members of the infertility community to be very powerful. According to one participant: “I had been told over and over again that I would walk away feeling empowered. They were right. I was heard…Our community was heard.”
You have an opportunity to make sure you’re heard, too. Consider joining your community, RESOLVE leadership and health professionals in Washington DC on May 23. If you can’t make it, there are still many ways to make a difference: find out what your state or city is doing, write letters, send emails, make a call or a donation.
You can also learn how to become an advocate beyond May 23 by checking out what RESOLVE is doing at the federal and state level 365 days a year on behalf of those affected by infertility. It’s much bigger than most people realize and working together you can advance the cause for one and for many.