May 5 is National Advocacy Day for Infertility

February 16, 2011Carole No Comments »

People have been talking about DIna Roth Port’s article in the February 9, 2011 Huffington Post called Infertility: the disease we need to start talking about. According to her article,  infertility is not mentioned in high school health education classes and is barely mentioned in classes for  medical school students and yet afflicts one in eight couples? Breast cancer afflicts one in eight women and boy, do we ever talk about that!  We have walks and runs and fundraisers and pink ribbons all to raise money and awareness for breast cancer. In 2009 the World Health Organization declared infertility is a disease, yet treatment for this disease is still often considered to be an elective service akin to cosmetic surgery and is still not covered on most insurance plans offered in the US.

Last year, there was a National Advocacy Day for Infertility  in DC but only a few hundred persons showed up to support the cause. A few hundred to represent millions of people struggling with infertility. Why is advocacy so hard?

I am embarrassed to talk about it. As a nation, we used to be embarrassed to talk about breast cancer, yet here we are today with “Save the TaTas!” bumper stickers. You can start small, talking to your nearest and dearest first. You will run into people who talk before they think but you’ll also run into people who will listen and understand. You may be surprised that the many fertile people around you with children may well understand your pain. If they simply imagine a life without their precious children, they can bridge the experience gap with you and understand your pain. Don’t assume you are all alone in this. You aren’t.

I am too busy, I have kids now. Congratulations on your busy life. To celebrate, take 5 minutes to send a letter to your congressman telling him that you added new constituents to his district but needed a little medical help to do it and he should support adding fertility coverage to health insurance plans.  You can find your local congressman using this link.

What can you do? Resolve has some ideas for you on their “Be an Advocate” page.  For those of you who don’t visit the Resolve website, you should check it out. To whet your appetite, here are some advocacy ideas copied from their page with working links.

Be a Infertility Community Advocate

Be Your Own Advocate

Be an Infertility Public Policy Advocate

Be an Advocate at Work

In these trying economic times, it is easy to dismiss infertility and people that suffer from infertility as less important that other priorities. if you disagree and think the disease of infertility is at least as important as breast cancer and should be better understood by the general public, you should speak up. If you think infertility is a disease that health insurance plans should cover, then speak up. Continued silence will ensure the status quo.  You might even consider a field trip with a few of your friends to Washington DC for Resolve’s Advocacy Day on May 5, 2011.

© 2011, Carole. All rights reserved.

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